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Thorp (Edward O.) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Separation Note
  • Appraisal Note

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Title: Edward O. Thorp papers
    creator: Thorp, Edward O.
    source: Thorp, Edward O.
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.F.047
    Physical Description: 26.25 Linear Feet (23 records cartons, 3 flat boxes, 1 document box, 1 half-sized document box, 1 vinyl box, 1 audiovisual box)
    Date (inclusive): 1946-2017
    Abstract: This collection comprises the papers of Edward O. Thorp, American mathematics professor, hedge fund manager, blackjack player, and founding faculty member at the University of California, Irvine. The papers consist of scholarly and personal papers, including published and unpublished manuscripts, research and reference files, correspondence, records of professional activities, teaching materials, audiovisual materials, biographical materials, and publicity.


    The collection is open for research. Access to original audio-visual material and digital media is restricted; researchers may request viewing or listening copies.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact the University Archivist. Digital material is provided for private study, scholarship, or research. Transmission or reproduction of any material protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. The authors or their heirs retain their copyrights to the material. Contact the University of California, Irvine Libraries, Special Collections and Archives for more information (spcoll@uci.edu).

    Preferred Citation

    Edward O. Thorp papers. MS-F047. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. [Date accessed].
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Edward O. Thorp, 2018.

    Processing History

    Processed by Sarah Glover, 2018.


    Edward Oakley Thorp is an American mathematics professor, hedge fund manager, and blackjack player.
    Thorp was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 14, 1932. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1953, followed by a master's degree in 1955. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics, also from the UCLA, in 1958. He married his wife, Vivian (d. 2011), in January 1956 and together had three children, Raun, Karen, and Jeff.
    Thorp began his academic career as a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1959-1961. He transferred to New Mexico State University and taught mathematics until 1965. He then became a founding faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he taught mathematics from 1965 to 1977, and then became a professor of both mathematics and finance from 1977 to 1982.
    During the time he was studying for his doctorate, Thorp became interested in the mathematics associated with gambling, specifically roulette. He continued using mathematics to unlock the secrets of gambling while teaching at MIT and became increasingly interested in blackjack. His theories caught the attention of "the father of information theory" and fellow mathematician and professor at MIT, Claude Shannon. In 1961, the two men created the first pocket-sized wearable computer for the purpose of advantage play for roulette, and later blackjack.
    Thorp also developed multiple strategies for card-counting, which were detailed in his New York Times bestselling book, Beat the Dealer (1962). The book was the first to mathematically prove that the house advantage in blackjack could be overcome by card-counting. After the success of the book, it became increasingly difficult for Thorp to enter a casino without being spotted and ejected by security. Using money from book royalties and gambling winnings, he instead turned his attention to stock investing.
    Working alongside Professor Sheen Kassouf, another founding faculty member at UCI, he developed hedged investment theory and techniques. This culminated in the book Beat the Market: A Scientific Stock Market System (1967), which had a major long-term impact on the world of investing. Two years later, Thorp and partner Jay Regan would launch the first market-neutral derivatives based hedge fund, known as Princeton Newport Partners (PNP). After Princeton Newport Partners liquidated, Thorp later regrouped as Edward O. Thorp & Associates.
    Thorp is the author of six books and has written a wide range of academic papers on game theory, functional analysis, and probability, as well as an autobiography, A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market (2017), an extensive look at his life, from card counter to his career as an investor.
    In 2002, Thorp was one of the original seven members inducted into the Blackjack Hall of Fame. The following year, Thorp and his wife donated $1 million to the University of California, Irvine, to attract promising mathematicians to the college.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This collection comprises the professional and personal papers of Edward O. Thorp, which document his life and career as a mathematics professor, hedge fund manager, blackjack player, and founding faculty member at the University of California, Irvine. Materials range from his early life and biographical material, used as reference material for his autobiography A Man for All Markets: From Las Vegas to Wall Street, How I Beat the Dealer and the Market (2017), to his later endeavors as a hedge fund manager. All six of his books are documented in the collection as drafts or with publicity and reviews.
    His career as a blackjack player and gambler is well documented in the collection through scholarly articles and columns written for gambling magazines such as Gambling Times and Blackjack Forum; research, publicity and articles about Thorp; and correspondence with major blackjack theorist Peter Griffin; game theorist Richard Epstein (also known as E. P. Stein); magician and gambling scholar Russell T. Barnhart, who went on a blackjack trip to Vegas with Thorp and Mickey MacDougall, an expert in protecting gamblers against cheating casinos. His career as a hedge fund manager and investor is equally well documented in the collection through scholarly articles and columns written for the mathematical finance magazine Wilmott, research, speaking engagements, publicity and articles about Thorp, and correspondence.
    There is some material related to his academic career, mostly classes he taught as a professor at the University of California, Irvine. There is also a small amount of personal material in the collection. Throughout the collection there are notes written by Thorp from 2018 to explain the significance and further elaborate on the material. Although the collection comprises mostly paper records, there is some digital media and audio visual material.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged in 5 series:
    1. Writings and research, 1946-2017. 14.5 linear feet
    2. Correspondence, 1961-2009. 3.5 linear feet
    3. Speaking engagements, 1981-2012. 2 linear feet
    4. About Thorp, 1961-2017. 3.5 linear feet
    5. Teaching materials, 1968-1991. 2 linear feet

    Separation Note

    The following publications were removed from this collection and cataloged separately: Wilmott, Gambling Times, Blackjack Review, RGE Catalog, The Computer Gambling Forum, Casino Verite Blackjack Tools , The Blackjack Formula, Blackjack Forum, Money Angles by Andrew Tobias, and books written by Thorp. These materials are searchable by title via our catalog on Library Search.

    Appraisal Note

    During processing the collection was reduced from 51.5 linear feet to 26.25 linear feet by removing duplicate materials and records containing sensitive information.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Thorp, Edward O.