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Contributions to the Nation

by Colonel David Arney

Since the Academy was the first scientific and technical school in America, the early mathematics professors at USMA had the opportunity to make significant contributions not only to the Academy, but to other American colleges. Perhaps the most prominent contributors were the early 19th century department heads Charles Davies and Albert E. Church. The work of these two professors had a significant impact on elementary schools, high schools, and colleges across the country. Davies became the Professor of Mathematics in 1823. He was one of the most prolific textbook authors of his day, writing over 30 books from elementary arithmetic to advanced college mathematics. His books were used in schools throughout the country from grade school to college. He had tremendous influence on the educational system of America throughout the 19th century. Albert Church succeeded Davies in 1837, and served as Department Head for the next 41 years. Another influential author, he published seven college mathematics textbooks.