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Alfred Tarski Papers, circa 1923-1985
BANC MSS 84/69 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Alfred Tarski papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1923-1985
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 84/69 c
    Extent: 12 cartons, 2 boxes and 1 oversize folder 15.8 linear feet 13 digital objects (18 images)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Papers of Alfred Tarski (1902-1983), renowned professor of mathematics and logic at the University of California, Berkeley.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English, Polish
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html. 
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alfred Tarski Papers, BANC MSS 84/69 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Alternate Forms Available

    Digital reproductions of selected items are available.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Tarski, Alfred--Archives
    Adolph C. and Mary Sprague Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science
    Associaton for Symbolic Logic
    International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science
    National Science Foundation (U.S.)--Research grants
    University of California, Berkeley--Dept. of Mathematics
    Algebraic logic
    Jewish refugees--United States
    Jewish scientists
    Logic, Symbolic and mathematical
    Mathematicians--United States
    Mathematics--United States
    Model theory
    Semantics (Philosophy)
    Set theory
    Faculty papers
    Manuscripts for publication

    Administrative Information


    No additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Lara Michels in 2012.

    Biographical Information

    Alfred Tarski (1901-1983) was professor of mathematics and logic at the University of California, Berkeley. He was born Alfred Teitelbaum in Warsaw, Poland in 1901 to Polish-Jewish parents and educated at Warsaw University. In 1923, he changed his surname from Teitelbaum to Tarski and, around the same time, converted to Catholicism. After completing his doctorate, Tarski taught logic and mathematics and served as the assistant to his former doctoral advisor Stanislaw Lesniewski. During the 1920s and 1930s, Tarski published textbooks and many important papers in mathematics, but he never obtained a professorhip in Poland. In August of 1939 (just a month before the German and Soviet invasions of Poland), Tarski came to the United States to give a series of lectures under the sponsorship of the Unity of Science movement. He remained in the United States as a refugee and would not be joined by his wife and children until after the war in 1946. Many of the members of Tarski's extended family were killed in the Holocaust.
    Between 1939 and 1942, Tarski took a range of temporary teaching positions in the United States. In 1942, he found a permanent position, joining the mathematics faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Tarski supervised twenty-four Ph.D. dissertations and established a reputation as an charismatic and demanding teacher. He retired from the University of California in 1968.
    Tarski is particularly remembered for his work on model theory, metamathematics, and algebraic logic, but he also worked on topics related to abstract algebra, topology, geometry, measure theory, mathematical logic, set theory, and analytic philosophy. Tarski's influence is widespread not only in the field of mathematics but also in philosophy and linguistics. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Foriegn Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Letters, and Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists mostly of materials relating to Tarski's tenure as a mathematician at UC Berkeley. It is divided into eight series: Biographical/Bibliographical; Correspondence; Writings; Writings by Others (annotated by Tarski); Teaching; Grants and Projects; Professional Organizations and Events; and Notes and Miscellany. Among the biographical/bibliographical materials are personal documents from Tarski's life in Poland dating from 1923, materials in support of Tarski's application for a permanent United States visa, passports (Polish and American), materials relating to Tarski's American job search, materials relating to his sponsorship of the immigration of his wife and children, biographical articles and reminiscences about Tarski, clippings, bibliographies, a group photograph of participants in a mathematics conference in Warsaw in 1929, and a 1935 photograph of Tarski with Kurt Godel. Among the correspondence is general correspondence dating mostly from the 1950s through the 1970s as well as correspondence with particular individuals and on specific topics. Correspondence is in both English and Polish. Writings consist of manuscripts and drafts of Tarski's mathematical monographs and articles as well as drafts of speeches and lectures. In addition to manuscripts and drafts, the files of Tarski's writings may include reprints as well as correspondence and other supporting research materials relating to his writing and scholarship. The collection also includes writings by other mathematicians, some of which are annotated or critiqued by Tarski. Teaching files consist of materials for Tarski's courses at UC Berkeley and might include lecture materials, seminar reports, notes and problem sets. Among the grant and project materials are files on Tarski's work on National Science Foundation grant-funded projects and U.S. Navy contracts. Files on organizations and events include materials from Tarski's work with the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, the Institute for Basic Research, the Association for Symbolic Logic, the Summer Institute in Logic (Berkeley, 1957), and a symposium on the axiomatic method in Berkeley in 1957-1958.