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Harriet F. Montague

Born: 1905
Death: 1997

University Archives collection: (unprocessed collection)

A Director of the National Science Foundation Institutes in Mathematics for secondary teachers at UB and long time professor in the Department of Mathematics, Harriet F. Montague dedicated her time to advancing mathematics for high school level academic curriculums.

In 1965 she introduced the course, "Modern Concepts in Mathematics," at UB's continuing education school, Millard Fillmore College which encouraged elementary and secondary teachers as well as parents to learn new methods in mathematics. In 1963, she co-authored "The Significance of Mathematics," a popular college text book.

Professionally, Montague served on the Board of Governors of the Mathematical Associations of America (MAA) from 1961-1964, and as both the Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Seaway Section of the (MAA) in the early 1950s. From 1957 to 1969, Montague served as the Director of the National Science Foundation Summer Institute in Mathematics for high school teachers and gifted high school students. She also served as President of the UB chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

She was also the recipient of numerous awards including:

  • Achievement Award of the Buffalo Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 1966
  • UB's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1972
  • She also received citations at the 50th Anniversary of the College of Arts and Sciences and the 125th Anniversary of the UB

Outside of her work at the University and the mathematics profession, Montague was involved in her local community. She was a member of the YWCA, the Buffalo Historical Society, the Buffalo Museum of Science, and the Allentown Association. She was also a member of the Board of the Buffalo Zoological Society from 1978-1982 and volunteered at the zoo for many years as a docent.

Montague was also very active in the Presbyterian Church. She was the first woman to serve as Moderator of the Presbytery of Western New York in 1963 and one of the first women elected as an Elder. A board member of the Auburn Theological Seminary, Montague was also a member of the National Board of Christian Education of the Presbyterian Church USA from 1968-1978.

Timeline of Academic Career Highlights

  • 1927 -- B.S. University of Buffalo
  • 1929 -- M.A. University of Buffalo
  • 1929 -- Instructor, University of Buffalo
  • 1935 -- Ph.D. Cornell University (dissertation: Certain Non-Involutorial Cremona Transformations of Hyperspace)
  • 1947 -- Promoted to full Professor
  • 1957 -- Director of the National Science Foundation Institutes in Mathematics for secondary teachers
  • 1962-1965 -- Served as chair of the Department of Mathematics
  • 1973 -- Retired

Harriet Montague was interviewed for the University Archives' oral history project on February 2, 1978. At the time of the interview Jenny Peterzell, Montague's interviewer, described her as "a short woman with dark-gray hair that sits neatly-styled atop her head" who was very "concerned with establishing a rapport with the interviewer and saw to it that we were comfortably satiated with coffee and cake."

Affiliation(s): Mathematics
Record Group(s): 20
Biographical File Contains:
  • Obituary
  • Photographs