Wilder, Raymond Louis, 1896-1982

Alternative names
Birth 1896-11-03
Death 1982-07-07

Biographical notes:

Raymond Louis Wilder (1896-1982), a topologist and student of the history and foundations of mathematics, was R.L. Moore's first doctoral student at the University of Texas. Wilder was on the University of Michigan faculty from 1926 to his retirement in 1966, after which he moved to the University of California-Santa Barbara.

From the description of Wilder, Raymond Louis, papers, 1914-1982. (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 19525496

Raymond Louis Wilder (1896-1982) was a leading figure in the development of topology in the United States and a pioneering student of the history of mathematics from an anthropological point of view. He was born in Palmer, Massachusetts, and received his undergraduate education and Master's degree in actuarial mathematics from Brown University. After moving to the University of Texas, his interests shifted to pure mathematics under the influence of Robert Lee Moore. Wilder became Moore's first Texas doctorate in 1923. After two years at Ohio State University, Wilder joined the faculty of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where he remained until his retirement in 1967. He was associated with the University of California-Santa Barbara for the remaining years of his life. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and served as President of both the American Mathematical Society (1955-1956) and the Mathematical Association of America (1965-1966).

Although trained in set-theoretic topology, Wilder mastered algebraic topology, demonstrated the usefulness of a synthesis of the two schools, and, in 1932, called for their unification. Wilder extended his early work on the topology of the plane and continuous curves to higher dimensions and, with his students, developed the theory of generalized manifolds. This work was summarized in his Topology of Manifolds (1949).

Wilder's course on the foundations of mathematics, published in his Introduction to the Foundations of Mathematics (1952), led to an interest in the history of mathematics. The results of his historical studies using anthropological ideas appeared in Evolution of Mathematical Concepts (1968) and Mathematics as a Cultural System (1981).

From the guide to the Raymond Louis Wilder Papers, 1914-1982., (Archives of American Mathematics, The Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Topology
  • American Mathematical Society
  • Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences
  • Mathematics historians
  • History of mathematics
  • Foundations of mathematics
  • Mathematics and culture
  • Mathematicians
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Mathematics--History
  • Mathematics--Philosophy
  • Archives of American Mathematics
  • Mathematical Association of America


not available for this record


not available for this record