Skip to main content

Jeanne Agnew papers

Identifier: urn:taro:utexas.cah.00894

Scope and Contents

The Jeanne Agnew Papers, 1913-2005, consist of correspondence, mathematical notes, teaching materials, drafts, printed materials, photographs, and other material documenting the life and career of Jeanne Agnew (1917-2000). The papers are divided into two series: Professional and Personal.

The majority of the collection relates to Agnew’s professional career, including her work with the National Research Council of Canada during World War II, her teaching career at OSU (1948-1995), and her textbooks and other writings (1943-1989). Agnew’s professional correspondence, teaching materials, and publications provide a look at her contributions to the field of mathematics while the papers related to OSU document her high level of involvement with her students, as well as committees and functions of the university outside the mathematics department. Also included are several master’s reports and doctoral theses of students Agnew advised, most notably Robert Knapp, who co-authored her textbook, Linear Algebra with Applications.

Correspondence, printed materials, mathematics problems, audio-visual media, and research materials related to the ten NSF grants Agnew participated in between 1955 and 1992 make up almost half of the materials in the professional series. Most of this material centers on her work with industry professionals to create applicable mathematics problems for both university undergraduate and high school students. As part of this effort, Agnew communicated with leaders in several fields in Oklahoma and around the country, including American Fidelity Assurance, Amoco, Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Halliburton, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics, NASA, and Rockwell International. As part of another NSF grant, Agnew also corresponded with the Working Mathematics Group in the United Kingdom (UK) to compare mathematics education in the United States, specifically her work with industry-related problems, to that in the UK.

The personal series documents Agnew’s education at Queen’s University (1935-1938) and Radcliffe College (1938-1941), including class notes, textbooks, correspondence, photographs, and her master’s thesis. A draft of her memoir is also included along with correspondence, photographs, and printed material related to her family, religious activities, and other interests.

Forms part of the Archives of American Mathematics.


  • Creation: 1913 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

A portion of these papers is stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.

Access to student records is restricted until 75 years after the date of creation. Contact repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no use restrictions on this collection. Publisher is responsible for complying with copyright law.

Biographical Note

Dr. Jeanne Agnew was born in Ontario, Canada, on May 3, 1917. She earned a bachelor of arts and a master of arts degree in mathematics at Queen’s University in Canada in 1937 and 1938, respectively, and a Ph.D. from Radcliffe College, the women's affiliate of Harvard University, in 1941. After graduation, she worked on the Canadian Nuclear research effort during World War II while her husband, Dr. Theodore Agnew, served in the United States Navy.

Her teaching career at Oklahoma State University (OSU) began in 1948 when she was hired as a part time instructor. She was appointed Assistant Professor in 1956, Associate Professor in 1962, and Professor in 1969. While working at OSU, Dr. Agnew published two textbooks and later wrote several independent and correspondence study courses. She was an influential teacher of mathematics and directed several masters reports and doctoral theses. Many of her former students became faculty members at regional colleges and universities, and one of her students, William Pogue, worked as an astronaut for NASA in the Skylab program. As a professor, she received many awards, including the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1964 and 1978, the Outstanding Educator Award in 1970 and 1975, and honorary doctorate degrees from Queen’s University in 1988 and Lakehead University in 1990. In 2005, Dr. Agnew was posthumously inducted into the OSU College of Education Hall of Fame.

While at OSU, Dr. Agnew was involved with several National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. Her most notable work in connection with the NSF grants involved gathering and presenting industry-related mathematical problems for undergraduate students in an effort to make mathematics education more applicable. The problems required students to study the literature, develop and refine a solution, and write a technical report.

After her retirement in 1984, Dr. Agnew remained with the university, working on several committees and supervising independent study courses. She died on May 8, 2000.


33 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Correspondence, publications, photographs, and printed materials document the teaching career of Jeanne Agnew (1917-2000) at Oklahoma State University, including her publications and work on several National Science Foundation grants.

Accession Number(s)

2007-229; 2008-080

Related Materials

The papers of Jeanne Agnew's husband, Dr. Theodore Agnew, are located in the archives of Oklahoma State University.

Jeanne Agnew Papers, 1913-2005
Ready To Publish
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History Repository

2300 Red River Street
Austin TX 78712