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Artemas Martin M.A., Ph.D., LL.D (1835–1918) [1] was a self-educated American mathematician specializing in the fields of algebra, integral calculus, and diophantine analysis. He was a member of the London Mathematical Society, the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Society of France, the New York Mathematical Society and the Philosophical Society of Washington, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D. C.

Early life and education

Artemas Martin [2] was born on August 3, 1835 in Steuben County, New York. Shortly afterwards, his parents moved to Venango County, Pennsylvania, where they lived for many years. Martin had no schooling in his early boyhood, except a little primary instruction. He did not attend school, except when quite small, until he was fourteen. He had learned to read and write at home, but knew nothing of Arithmetic. At fourteen he commenced the study of Arithmetic, and after spending two winters in the district school, he commenced the study of Algebra. At seventeen, he studied Algebra, Geometry, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry in the Franklin Select School, walking two and one-half miles night and morning. Three years after, he spent two and one-half months in the Franklin Academy, studying Algebra and Trigonometry. This finished his schooling. He taught district schools four winters, but not in succession. He was raised on a farm, and worked at farming and gardening in the summer; chopped wood in the winter; and after the discovery of oil in Venango county, worked at drilling oil wells a part of his time, always devoting his "spare moments" to the study of mathematics. He continued these occupations until his 50th year.

In the spring of 1859, the family moved to Erie county, Pennsylvania, where he resided until he entered the U. S. Coast Survey Office in 1885. While in Erie county, after 1871, he was engaged in market-gardening, which he carried on with great care and skill. He began his mathematical career when in his eighteenth year, by contributing solutions to the Pittsburg Almanac, soon after contributing problems to the "Riddler Column" of the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, and was one of the leading contributors for twenty years. While engaged in ploughing Martin applied himself mentally to the solution of mathematical puzzles. These were arithmetical at first but soon grew more complicated and related to the theory of numbers. His problems were always practical and involved specific examples involving the solution of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th powers and probability.

Mathematical career

In the summer of 1864 he commenced contributing problems and solutions to "Clark's School Visitor", afterward the "Schoolday Magazine", published in Philadelphia. In June, 1870. he took charge of the "Stairway Department" as editor, the mathematical department of which he had conducted for some years before. He continued in charge as mathematical editor 'till the magazine was sold to Scribner & Co., in the spring of 1875, at which time it was merged into "St. Nicholas"

In September, 1875, he was chosen editor of a department of higher mathematics in the "Normal Monthly", published by Prof. Edward Brooks, Millersville, Pa., and held that position till the Monthly was discontinued in August, 1876. He published in the "Normal Monthly" a series of sixteen articles on the Diophantine Analysis.

Early in life he began contributing problems and solutions to various magazines. In 1877, while engaged in market gardening for a livelihood, he began the editing and publishing of the Mathematical Visitor and in 1882 he followed this up with the Mathematical Magazine. Not only did he do the editing and publishing of those magazines, but for financial reasons was compelled to do the type setting also. That he did this well is evidenced by the character of the mathematical typography of his journals.

In June, 1877, Yale College conferred on him the honorary degree of Master of Arts (M. A.) In April, 1878, he was elected member of the London Mathematical Society. In June, 1882, Rutgers College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) On March 7, 1884, he was elected a member of the Mathematical Society of France. In April, 1885, he was elected a member of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society. On June 10, 1885, Hillsdale College conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LL. D.) On February 27, 1886, he was elected a member of the Philosophical Society of Washington. In June, 1881, he was elected Professor of Mathematics of the Normal School at Warrensburg, Mo., but did not accept the position. November 14, 1885, Dr. Martin was appointed Librarian in the office of the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. On August 26, 1890, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. On April 3, 1891 he was elected a member of the New York Mathematical Society. Although his title was "Librarian" there is little doubt that his employment was really on account of his knowledge of analysis in which the Coast Survey was deeply involved. In 1898 he was made "computer" in the Division of Tides, which place he held until his death.

Dr. Martin has also contributed to the following English mathematical periodicals: "Lady's", and "Gentleman's Diary", "Messenger of Mathematics", and "The Educational Times and Reprint". In 1899 Dr. Martin continued as the editor and self publisher of the "Mathematical Magazine", and The "Mathematical Visitor", two of the best mathematical periodicals published in America. These are handsomely arranged and profusely illustrated with very beautiful diagrams to the solutions, with Martin doing the typesetting with his own hand. The typographical work of these journals is said to be the finest in America. The best mathematicians from all over the world have contributed to these two journals. The Mathematical Visitor is devoted to Higher Mathematics, while The Mathematical Magazine is devoted to the solutions of problems of a more elementary nature. Dr. Martin collected a large and valuable mathematical library containing many rare and interesting works; his collection of American arithmetics and algebras was one of the largest private collections of the kind which he later donated to the American University.


1. ^ Science, Obituary, Vol. 48, No. 1847. 1918, p. 508
2. ^ A Mathematical Solution Book, B. F. Finkel, Kibler and Company, Springfield, MO, 1902|[1]


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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