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Gertrude Blanch Papers, 1932-1996. Finding Aid.

Summary Information
Title: Gertrude Blanch papers
Dates: 1932-1996
Creator: Blanch, G., (Gertrude), 1897-
Extent: 9 boxes (4 cubic feet)
Language: English
Collection Number: CBI 162
The collection consists of lectures and published articles by mathematician Gertrude Blanch, other professional writings collected by Blanch, and some biographical material and personal and professional correspondence.

Repository: University of Minnesota Libraries. Charles Babbage Institute.

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by the family of Gertrude Blanch in 2000.

Access Restrictions:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.


The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Preferred Citation:

Gertrude Blanch Papers (CBI 162), Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


The materials in this collection are arranged into the following groups:

  • Talks and writings by Gertrude Blanch, 1936-1994
  • Writings by others, 1895-1969
  • Photographs, 1935-1964
  • Correspondence, 1957-1994
  • Biographical material, 1932-1989

Within each series, items are arranged by record type and chronology.

Biographical Note

Gertrude Blanch, 1897-1996, mathematician, received the B.S. in mathematics with a physics minor from New York University (1932) and the Ph.D. (1935) in algebraic geometry from Cornell University.

Born Gittel Kaimowitz in Kolno, Poland, Blanch emigrated to New York with her family in 1907. After receiving her Ph.D., she taught at Hunter College from 1935-1936. Her doctoral dissertation, Properties of the Veneroni Transformation in S4 , was published in the American Journal of Mathematics in 1936.

From 1938-1942, Blanch served as technical director of the Mathematical Tables Project in New York. The Mathematical Tables Project was funded by the Work Projects Administration. By 1941 it employed 450 human computers. In 1942 the project became part of the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD), and Blanch became a mathematician for the New York office of the Applied Math panel of the OSRD.

During the war, the Mathematical Tables Project created ballistics calculations for the Army, navigation tables for the Navy, and provided the fundamental calculations for the Manhattan Project. After the war the project was absorbed into the computation laboratory of the National Bureau of Standards. While still in New York, Blanch took an active interest in the newly-announced electronic computing machines, and was involved with the group that would later found the Association for Computing Machinery.

In 1948, Blanch became assistant to the director at the Institute for Numerical Analysis in Los Angeles, another branch of the Applied Mathematics Laboratory. In 1954 she was appointed senior mathematician at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in which capacity she served until her retirement in 1967. While she was at Dayton, Blanch published half of her 30 papers, and received several citations and awards, including her election as Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Air Force Exceptional Service Award (both in 1963), and the Federal Woman’s Award in 1964.

Upon her retirement from the Air Force, Blanch was awarded a consulting contract by the Air Force through Ohio State University. When this contract was canceled in 1970 she moved back to California and worked on her second book, which was never published.

  • Grier, David Alan. “Gertrude Blanch of the Mathematical Tables Project,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , v. 19, no. 4 (1997): 18-27.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes Gertrude Blanch’s lectures given during the 1940s and 1960; published articles and notes for her two unpublished manuscripts, 1935-1994; colleagues’ and others’ writings collected by Blanch, 1895-1969; and photographs of Blanch, alone, with colleagues and friends, and at awards ceremonies, 1930s-1966. The collection also contains a small amount of biographical material, 1932-1967, including awards and citations, records relating to her employment, 1954-1967, and documentation regarding immigration and naturalization, affidavit of birth, and record of name change. Also included is a small amount of personal and professional correspondence, 1957-1994. There are also two interviews on cassette tapes. One, dated 1989, contains an interview with Blanch by her colleague Henry Thacher and centers on her career and professional life. On the other, labeled “late in her life,” Blanch is interviewed by her nephew Michael Stern, and discusses her early years and personal life.

Subject Terms
Index Terms
  • This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Blanch, G. (Gertrude), 1897-
  • Rhodes, Ida, 1900-1986.
  • Mathematics -- Tables.
  • Numerical analysis.
  • Mathematicians--United States.
  • United States. Works Projects Administration.
  • United States. National Bureau of Standards.
Box and Folder List
 Location  Title
Talks and Writings by Gertrude Blanch, 1936-1994 
Box 1
Lectures on the Theory of Numerical Computations, 1943-1945. Box 1, Folder 1
"Numerical Analysis, Past and Present." 2 November 1961 Box 1, Folder 1
Box 1
"Properties of the Veneroni Transformation in S4." American Journal of Mathematics, v.57, no.3, July 1936. Box 1, Folder 2
"Errors in Hayashi's Table of Bessel Functions for Complex Arguments," with A.N. Lowan. Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, v.47, no.4: 291-293, April 1941. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 2
Table of Arc tan x. New York: Federal Works Agency, 1942. Box 2
Table of Circular and Hyperbolic Tangents and Cotangents for Radian Arguments. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943. Box 2
Seven Point Lagrangian Integration Formulas, with I. Rhodes. Journal of Mathematics and Physics, v.22:no.4, December 1943. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 2
Table of Arc sin x. New York: Columbia University Press, 1945. Box 2
On the Computation of Mathieu Functions.Journal of Mathematics and Physics, v.25:no.1, February 1946. Box 1, Folder 2
The Internal Temperature-Density Distribution of Main Sequence Stars Built on the Point-Convective Model II. Sirius A., with R.E. Marshak. The Astrophysical Journal, v.104:no.1, July 1946. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 2
Tables of Spherical Bessel Functions, vol. II. New York: Columbia University Press, 1947. Box 2
Table of the Bessel Functions JO(Z) and JI(Z) for Complex Arguments. New York: Columbia University Press, 1947. Box 2
Table of the Bessel Functions YO(Z) and YI(Z) for Complex Arguments. New York: Columbia University Press, 1950. Box 2
Table of Modified Bernoulli Polynomials, with Roselyn Siegel. Research paper RP2060, in Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards, v.44, January 1950. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 3
Tables Relating to Mathieu Functions: Characteristic Values, Coefficients, and Joining Factors. New York: Columbia University Press, 1951. Box 3
Box 2
Tables of Chebyshev Polynomials Sn(x) and Cn(x).Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952. Box 2
On the Numerical Solution of Equations Involving Differential Operators with Constant Coefficients.Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation 6:no.4, October 1952. Box 1, Folder 2
Addendum to a Guide to Tables on Punched Cards, with Everett C. Yowell. Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation. 7:no.41, January 1953. Box 1, Folder 2
On the Numerical Solution of Parabolic Partial Differential Equations.Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards, v.50:no.6, June 1953. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 2
Tables of the Error Function and its Derivative. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954. Box 2
On Modified Divided Differences I.Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation 7:no.45, January 1954. Box 1, Folder 2
On Modified Divided Differences II.Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation8:no.46, April 1954. Box 1, Folder 2
Computation of Harmonic Measure by L. Ahlfors' Method, with L.K. Jackson, 1955. Box 1, Folder 2
Mathematics, with Ida Rhodes. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences , v.45:no.6, June 1955. Box 1, Folder 2
Criteria for the Choice of an Integration Formula. April 1957. Box 1, Folder 2
Asymptotic Expansions for the Odd Periodic Mathieu Functions.Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, v.97:no.2:357-366, November 1960. Box 1, Folder 2
Numerical Evaluation of Continued Fractions,SIAM Review, v.6:no.4:383-421, October 1964. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 2
Tables Relating to the Radial Mathieu Functions, vol. 1: Functions of the First Kind. With D.S. Clemm. Washington, D.C.: Aerospace Research Laboratories, undated. Box 2
Tables Relating to the Radial Mathieu Functions, vol. 2: Functions of the Second Kind. With D.S. Clemm. Washington, D.C.: Aerospace Research Laboratories, 1965. Box 2
Women in Mathematics.The Mathematics Student Journal, v.12:no.4, May 1965. Box 1, Folder 2
Rendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo, ser.2, v.15, March 1966. Box 1, Folder 2
Tables Relating to Mathieu Functions: Characteristic Values, Coefficients, and Joining Factors. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1967. Box 3, Folder 1
Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 1968. Box 1, Folder 3
Box 2
Mathieu's Equation for Complex Parameters: Tables of Characteristic Values. With D.S. Clemm. Washington, D.C.: Aerospace Research Laboratories, 1969. Box 2
The Double Points of Mathieu's Differential Equation, with D.S. Clemm. Mathematics of Computation, v.23:no.105, January 1969. Box 1, Folder 2
Statistical Estimates for the Random Errors in Tabular Differences, with Donald S. Clemm, undated. Box 1, Folder 2
Box 3
Errata slips, order forms for published works.  Box 3, Folder 2
Research Notes  
Box 3
Mathieu Functions, 1965-1968. Box 3, Folder 3
Mathieu Functions, 1965 
Subsidiary Routines Mathieu Characteristic Values, March 1966 
Solution of Mathieu's Equation, 1966, 1968 
Characteristic Exponent Mathieu Equation, undated. 
Box 3
Miscellaneous Research Notes, undated. Box 3, Folder 4
Distribution Functions for n th Differences  
Bessel Functions J 0 (x), Y 0 (x), J 1 (x), Y 1 (x) x > 8 (includes punch cards)  
Box 3
Notes, 1983 Box 3, Folder 5
Notes, 1984 Box 3, Folder 6
Notes, 1985 Box 3, Folder 7
Box 4
Notes, 1986 Box 4, Folder 1
Notes, 1988 Box 4, Folder 2
Notes, 1990 Box 4, Folder 3
Notes, 1991 Box 4, Folder 4
Notes, 1992 Box 4, Folder 5
Notes, 1993 Box 4, Folder 6
Notes, 1993 Box 4, Folder 7
Notes, 1994 Box 4, Folder 8
Notes "Gaussian", undated. Box 4, Folder 9
Box 5
Notes, undated. Box 5, Folder 1
Notes, undated. Box 5, Folder 2
Notes, 1950-1953 Box 5, Folder 3
Unpublished Manuscripts, undated. 
Box 5
Outline of (unpublished book)  Box 5, Folder 4
Chapters 1, 2  Box 5, Folder 5
Chapter 3  Box 5, Folder 6
Box 6
Chapters 4, 5  Box 6, Folder 1
Chapters 6, 7  Box 6, Folder 2
Chapters 6, 7  Box 6, Folder 3
Background notes, July 1993 Box 6, Folder 4
Undated typed manuscript  Box 6, Folder 5
Supplementary programs  Box 6, Folder 6
Miscellaneous papers  Box 6, Folder 7
Writings by others, 1895-1969 
Box 7
Leffler, Anna Carlotta. Sonya Kovalevsky: Her Recollections of Childhood. New York: Century Company, 1895. Box 7, Folder 1
Mathieu, M. Emile. Mémoire sur le Mouvement Vibratoire d'une Membrane de Forme Elliptique, undated. Box 7, Folder 2
Goldstein, S. Mathieu Functions, undated. Box 7, Folder 2
Lanczos, Cornelius. Solution of Systems of Linear Equations by Minimized Iterations. National Bureau of Standards Report, Prepublication copy, 30 July 1951 Box 7, Folder 2
Juncosa, M.L., and David Young. Report no. 817: On the Convergence of a Solution of a Difference Equation to a Solution of the Equation of Diffusion Project no. TB30007K of the Research and Development Division, Ordnance Corps, May 1952 Box 7, Folder 2
The Royal Society Mathematical Tables Committee. Progress Report no. 6, March 1953 Box 7, Folder 2
University of Alberta. Mathematics 460 Exam, April 1961 Box 7, Folder 2
Box 3
Bramble, J.H. and L.E. Payne. Effect of Error in Measurement of Elastic Constants on the Solutions of Problems in Classical Elasticity.Journal of Research, v.67B:no.3, July-September 1963 Box 3, Folder 2
Box 7
Bramble, J.H. and L.E. Payne. Some Mean Value Theorems in Elastostatics.J. Soc. Indust. Appl. Math., v.12:no.1, March 1964 Box 7, Folder 2
Rhodes, Donald R. On Some Double Orthogonality Properties of the Spheroidal and Mathieu Functions, 1 May 1964 Box 7, Folder 2
Some Error Estimates for the Characteristic Roots of a Symmetric Matrix, undated. Box 7, Folder 3
The Royal Society Mathematical Tables Committee. Progress Report no. 18, April 1965 Box 7, Folder 3
Michaud, Françoise. Etude sur les Representations Approchees des Solutions de l'Equation de Mathieu, June 1965 Box 7, Folder 3
Sips, Robert. Nouvelle Méthode pour le Calcul de l'Esposant Caractéristique de l'Éqation de Mathieu-Hill, Acad. Roy. Belg. Bull. Cl. Sci., v.5:no.51, 1965 Box 7, Folder 3
Fichera, Gaetano. Approximation and Estimates for Eigenvalues.Numerical Solution Partial Differential Equations, 1966 Box 7, Folder 3
Fichera, G. Scientific Report no. 1: Structure of Green's Operators and Estimates for the Corresponding Eigenvalues, October 1966 Box 7, Folder 3
Abate, J. and H. Dubner. A New Method for Generating Power Series Expansions of Functions, April 1967 Box 7, Folder 3
Olver, F.W.J. Numerical Solution of Second-Order Linear Difference Equations.Journal of Research, v.71B:nos.2-3, April-September 1967 Box 7, Folder 3
Olver, F.W.J. Bounds for the Solutions of Second-Order Linear Difference Equations.Journal of Research, v.71B:no.4, October-December 1967 Box 7, Folder 3
Salzer, Herbert E. Interpolation by Division, undated. Box 7, Folder 3
Gammel, J.L., C.C. Rousseau, and Dwight P. Saylor. Kinetic Energy as a Perturbation. I. , undated. Box 7, Folder 3
A Theorem on Determinants of a Special Form, undated. Box 7, Folder 3
Unidentified reprint, undated. Box 7, Folder 3
Canosa, Jose  Box 7, Folder 4
A New Method for the Solution of the Schrödinger Equation , May 1969 
Asymptotic Behavior of Sturm-Liouville Systems , undated. 
Numerical Solution of Mathieu's Equation , undated. 
Miscellaneous papers, undated. 
Photographs, 1935-1964 
Box 8
Gertrude Blanch, circa 1935-1941 Box 8, Folder 1
Federal Woman's Award (with Pres. Lyndon Johnson, Dr. Knox Millaps, Maj. Gen. Daniel E. Hooks), 3 March 1964 Box 8, Folder 2
Exceptional Civilian Service Award (with Maj. Gen. Don R. Ostrander), 1964 Box 8, Folder 3
Federal Woman of the Year Award (with Mr. Eugene M. Zuckert), 1964 Box 8, Folder 4
Department of the Air Force Certificate of Service, undated. Box 8, Folder 5
Unidentified personal snapshots, undated. Box 8, Folder 6
Unidentified photographs--Gertrude Blanch alone, undated. Box 8, Folder 7
Unidentified photographs--Gertrude Blanch with others, undated. Box 8, Folder 8
Correspondence, 1957-1994 
Box 8
Personal, 1962-1994 Box 8, Folder 9
Professional, 1957-1967 Box 8, Folder 10
Professional, 1968-1987 Box 8, Folder 11
Biographical Materials, 1932-1989 
Box 8
Documents  Box 8, Folder 12
Papers for name change, 1932. 
Affidavits of birth, 1935. 
Certificate of Citizenship, 1936. 
Letter regarding federal service, 1956. 
Department of the Air Force Certificate of Service, 1962. 
American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow Certificate, 1963. 
Department of the Air Force Special Service Certificate, 1963. 
United States Air Force Office of Aerospace Research Senior Citizens Award, 1964. 
Federal Woman's Award Certificate, undated. 
Correspondence regarding immigration, 1966. 
Affidavit of high school graduation, 1966. 
American Society of Mechanical Engineers Certificate, 1972. 
Related Materials and Items  
Box 8
Employment documents, 1954-1965 Box 8, Folder 13
Federal Woman's Award Papers, 1964 Box 8, Folder 14
Box 9
Festschrift: Blanch Anniversary Volume , 21 February 1967 Box 9, Folder 1
Miscellaneous papers, 1953 Box 9, Folder 2
Box 9
Newspaper clippings about Gertrude Blanch, 1963, 1964. Box 9, Folder 3
Box 9
Interview with Henry Thatcher, 17 March 1989. Box 9, Folder 4
Interview with Michael Stern, undated. Box 9, Folder 4