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Olkin (Ingram) Papers
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Ingram Olkin papers
    creator: Olkin, Ingram
    Identifier/Call Number: SC1221
    Physical Description: 47.5 Linear Feet (33 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1875-2014
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website: http://library.stanford.edu/spc.

    Biographical / Historical

    Ingram Olkin is best known for developing statistical analyses for evaluating policies, particularly in education. Throughout his career, Olkin conducted highly significant research concerning new and innovative statistical models and methods for the behavioral medical, and social sciences, often simultaneously. Particularly outstanding is his research into combining, statistically, the scientific results from independent studies.
    Born in Waterbury, Conn., on July 23, 1924, he was the only child of Julius and Karola (nee Bander) Olkin, both immigrants from Eastern Europe. At the age of 10, Ingram and his parents moved to New York City, and he later attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx from which he graduated in 1941. He enrolled at City College of New York (CCNY), but his studies were interrupted in 1943 when he volunteered and served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a meteorologist until 1946.
    Returning to CCNY, he completed his degree in mathematics and went on to obtain a master’s degree in mathematical statistics at Columbia University followed by a PhD in mathematical statistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conferred in 1951.
    For his first academic position, Ingram joined the Mathematics Department faculty at Michigan State University as an assistant professor and rose through the ranks to become a full professor. During the nine years he spent at Michigan State, he enjoyed productive sabbatical leaves at the University of Chicago (1955) and Stanford (1958). In 1960 he joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota to chair the formation of a new Statistics Department. One year later, he moved permanently to Stanford University, where he held a joint appointment with the Department of Statistics and the Graduate School of Education.
    Olkin’s research, teaching and other professional activities have had far-reaching influence in mathematical and educational statistics and their applications.
    His scientific legacies lie in several fields, most notably multivariate statistical analysis, inequalities (especially majorization), linear algebra, and a subject called meta-analysis in which he was particularly active in his later years.
    The latter subject enables researchers to combine separate studies in a manner that makes them more meaningful. Among the many books Ingram Olkin has co-authored and co-edited are Inequalities: Theory of Majorization and its Applications (with Albert Marshall) and Statistical Methods for Meta-Analysis (with Larry V. Hedges).
    Ingram’s dedication to his profession was outstanding. He belonged to the editorial boards of numerous journals on statistics and other fields. While serving as its editor, Ingram successfully advocated splitting the prestigious journal Annals of Mathematical Statistics into two journals: Annals of Statistics and Annals of Probability. He was instrumental in the formation of the Journal of Educational Statistics (now called the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics). He served as chair of the Statistics Department at Stanford (1973 –1976). He was president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and chair, co-chair, or member of countless committees and panels at the national level.
    Olkin’s outstanding record of accomplishment and service brought him international recognition and a long list of honors and awards. Among them are the Wilks Medal and Founders Award from the American Statistical Association, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an honorary doctor of science from De Montfort University, election to the National Academy of Education, and the Melvin Zelen Leadership Award from the Department of Biostatistics at Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
    Olkin also devoted considerable time and energy to increasing the number and status of women in graduate studies and in tenure-line academic positions at the university level. He was instrumental in convincing the National Science Foundation to support a successful program that brought untenured female professors of statistics to Stanford for the summer, where they could interact with some of the leading figures in the field. To the end, Ingram continued to be an advocate for giving women and minorities opportunities and fair treatment in all respects. In recognition of his support for women in statistics, he became the first (and only) male recipient of the Elizabeth L. Scott Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies.
    Ingram was a member of the Stanford Emeriti Council, a group that plans quarterly talks by distinguished retirees for emeritus faculty and staff and their spouses. He was also a member of a group that planned a series of presentations on successful aging for such an audience.
    Ingram was an active participant in monthly faculty lunches at Stanford’s Hillel.
    He loved theater, art, classical music and especially opera, much of which he attended in San Francisco or elsewhere in his worldwide travels.
    Ingram was survived by his wife Anita; his daughter Vivian, her husband Sim Sitkin, their children Leah and Jared; his daughter Rhoda and children Noah and Sophia; and his daughter Julia and children Rachel and Jeremy.

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6064. Consent is given on behalf of Special Collections 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, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-collections/permission-publish. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Mathematical statistics.
    Statistics -- Study and teaching.
    Olkin, Ingram