Eric Temple Bell Papers

Processed by UCSC OAC Unit
The University Library
Special Collections and Archives
University Library
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California, 95064
© 1999
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Creator: Bell, Eric Temple
Title: Eric Temple Bell papers,
Date (inclusive): 1918-1991
Extent: 8 document boxes, 1 flat
Abstract: This archive contains manuscripts, and typescripts for many of Bell's works both mathematical and science fiction.
Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to these papers.
Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Collection number: MS 58
Language: English


Born: Feb.7,1883 in Aberdeen, Scotland
Died: Dec.21,1960 in Watsonville, California, USA
The cowboys have a way of trussing up a steer or a pugnacious bronco which fixes the brute so that it can neither move nor think. This is the hog-tie, and it is what Euclid did to geometry. E.T. Bell, The Search For Truth
Eric Temple Bell although born and brought up in Scotland, lived from 1903 in the United States. He was educated at Stanford University and at the University of Washington. He received his doctorate from Columbia University in 1912 for the dissertation The Cyclotomic Quinary Quintic. His doctoral work was supervised by Frank Nelson Cole. Bell taught mathematics at the University of Washington from 1912 until 1926, when he was appointed professor of mathematics at the California Institute of Technology. Bell wrote several popular books on the history of mathematics. He also made contributions to analytic number theory, Diophantine analysis and numerical functions. The American Mathematical Society awarded him the Bocher Prize in 1924 for his memoir, Arithmetical Paraphrases, which appeared in the Transactions of the American Mathematical Society in 1921. Although he wrote 250 research papers, including the one which received the Bocher Prize, Bell is best remembered for his books, and therefore as an historian of mathematics. His books Algebraic Arithmetic (1927) and The Development of Mathematics, (1940) became classics. At a lower level he wrote books which included Men of Mathematics (1937) and Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science (1951). Bell did not confine his writing to mathematics and he also wrote science fiction. Under his best-known pseudonym, John Taine, he authored the following science fiction titles:
  • The Cosmic Geoids [Fantasy Publishing Co. Inc., 1949] novel + story
  • The Crystal Horde [Fantasy, 1952]
  • a.k.a. White Lilly [Dover, 1966]
  • The Forbidden Garden [Fantasy, 1947]
  • G.O.G. 666 [Fantasy, 1954]
  • The Gold Tooth [Dutton, 1927; Burr, 1929]
  • The Greatest Adventure [Dutton, 1929; Ace; Dover]
  • Green Fire [Dutton, 1928; Fantasy Publishing Co. Inc., 19521
  • The Iron Star [Dutton, 1930; Fantasy Publishing Co. Inc., 1952; Hyperion]
  • Seeds of Life [Fantasy, 1951; Galaxy Novel #13; Dover]
  • The Time Stream [Buffalo, 1946; Dover; Garland, 1976]
  • Quayle's Invention [Dutton, 1927]
  • The Purple Sapphire [Dutton, 1924; Dover]
A. Broadbent described Bell and his writing in the following way:

"His style is clear and exuberant, his opinions, whether we agree with them or not, are expressed forcefully, often with humor and a little gentle malice. He was no uncritical hero-worshipper being as quick to mark the opportunity lost as the ground gained, so that from his books we get a vision of mathematics as a high activity of the questing human mind, often fallible, but always pressing on the never-ending search for mathematical truth".

Gillispie, Charles Coulston. Dictionary of Scientific Biography.New York:Scribner,1970-1980.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. "Bell, Eric Temple".[Accessed 22 October 1999].

Broadbent, A. "Eric Temple Bell". Nature 4763,1961.

Reid, Constance. The Search for E.T. Bell : also known as John Taine Washington D.C.:Mathematical Association of America,1993.

Scope and Content

This archive contains manuscripts, and typescripts for many of Bell's works both mathematical and science fiction. Also included is an original unpublished manuscript Class Number Forumlas, by J. Ouspenski.


The archive is arranged by title.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Bell, Eric Temple, 1883-1960--Archives.
Taine, John
Science fiction


Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Drs. Janet and Taine Bell in May 1969.

Preferred Citation

Eric Temple Bell Papers, MS 58, Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Separated Material

The books have been cataloged separately. Please see Cruzcat, the online catalog.

Container List

box-folder 1:1

A California Valley by John Taine, corrected typescript, [1920]

box-folder 1:2

Called back: a novel by John Taine, corrected typescript, Mar 1928

box-folder 1:3

The Devil's funeral : an elegy John Taine, holograph (pgs.i-29), [1920]

box-folder 1:4

Diophantus, notes from Diophantus of Alexandria by Sir Thomas L. Heath, 2nd ed.

Box 1:5-10

The Enlightened Doctor, [also Gold], Spring 1948

Scope and Content Note

Author's note: "The story was written in February 1916 at Seattle. It was suggested by a medieval account, which I chanced to read, of the action in the Cathedral in which 14 phoesus participated. That begot my interest in Ramon. In spite of its historical basis, the story is not intended in any sense to be a history. It is merely a story." E.T. Bell, Pasadena, California, January 15, 1948.
box-folder 1:5

Typescript draft

box-folder 1:6

Revisions, holographs and typescripts

box-folder 1:7

pgs. i-134, corrected typescript, Jan 1948

box-folder 1:8

pgs. 135-237, Jan 1948

box-folder 1:9

Additional short pieces, not included

box-folder 1:10

Final typescript, Spring 1948

box-folder 2:1-28, 3:1-16

The Last Problem

box-folder 2:1-5

Chapter 1

box-folder 2:1

Holograph, Jun 1950

box-folder 2:2

Draft 1 corrected typescript, Mar 1956

box-folder 2:3

Draft 2, uncorrected typescript

box-folder 2:4

Draft 3 corrected typescript

box-folder 2:5

Final typescript

box-folder 2:6-10

Chapter 2

box-folder 2:6

Holograph, Jun 1949

box-folder 2:7

"The Bablylon & Egypt", corrected typescript

box-folder 2:8

"I Babylon", final typescript, Oct 1955

box-folder 2:9-10

"II Egypt", holograph and typescript

box-folder 2:11-15

Chapter 3

box-folder 2:11


box-folder 2:12-14

Draft 1-3 corrected typescripts

box-folder 2:15


box-folder 2:16-19

Chapter 4

box-folder 2:16


box-folder 2:17-18

Draft 1-2 corrected typescript

box-folder 2:19


box-folder 2:20-23

Chapter 5

box-folder 2:20


box-folder 2:21-22

Corrected typescripts

box-folder 2:23

Final typescripts

box-folder 2:24-28

Chapter 6

box-folder 2:24

Holograph, Aug 1950

box-folder 2:25

Corrected typescript - Chapter 6 "From Euclid to Hypatia" [also called Chapter 5]

box-folder 2:26-27

Drafts, annotated typescripts

box-folder 2:28


box-folder 3:1-3

Chapter 8

box-folder 3:1

"Bachet" holograph manuscript, Apr 1950

box-folder 3:2

"The Last Euclidia", holograph manuscript, Sep 1950

box-folder 3:3

Corrected typescripts

box-folder 3:4-5

Chapter 10

box-folder 3:4

"The Catalyst", corrected typescript

box-folder 3:5


box-folder 3:6, box-folder 3:6

Chapter 11 "Friends and Others", typescript

box-folder 3:7

Chapter 12 "From the Correspondence of Fermat", typescript

box-folder 3:8-9

Chapter 13 "An Age to Remember"

box-folder 3:8

Corrected typescript - missing pgs. 1-21

box-folder 3:9


box-folder 3:10-13

Chapter 14 "The Jurist"

box-folder 3:10

Holograph, Jul 1952

box-folder 3:11

Drafts 1-3, corrected typescript, Jun 1954

box-folder 3:12

Corrected typescript

box-folder 3:13


box-folder 3:14-16

Chapter 15: Aftermath [not included in final manuscript]

box-folder 3:14


box-folder 3:15


box-folder 3:16

Final typescript, 1961

box-folder 3:17

Postcripts, 1947


Note: Addenda to the 1947 ed. of The Search for Truth
box-folder 3:17

"Not for you nor I", typescript

box-folder 3:17

"Bouquets, brickbats and boomerangs", typescript

box-folder 3:17

"What can be proved?", typescript

box-folder 3:18-19

The Prince

Scope and Content Note

Author's note: "The time of this story is the 15th century. It was written at Seattle in May 1915. This superseded The Singer and lacks certain passages in that poem. The other manuscript was mislaid in Hollywood." E.T. Bell
box-folder 3:18

Original typescript, Aug 1957

box-folder 3:19

Corrected typescript, Aug 1957

box-folder 4:1-4

Nothing but the truth : an account of what philosophers and others have believed about mathematics, typescript, 1941

box-folder 4:1

[Title page, pgs.i-153], 1941

box-folder 4:2

[pgs. 154-325]

box-folder 4:3

[pgs. 326-441]

box-folder 4:4

[pgs. 442-617]

Box 4:5

Red and yellow, original typescript, [1920]

Box 4:6

Remembered worlds, typescript, [1920]

Box 5:1

Satan's Daughter, typescript, [1920]

Box 5:2-7:9,

Scarlet Night


1st movement

box-folder 5:2

pgs. 1-93, corrected typescript, Jan 1948

box-folder 5:3

Inserts for pg. 24, holograph, May 1945


2nd movement

box-folder 5:4

pgs. 89-132, corrected typescript, Jun 1946

box-folder 5:5

pgs. 1-46, typescript


3rd movement

box-folder 5:6

pgs. 1-97, holograph, Jun 1946

box-folder 5:7

pgs. 133-212, corrected typescript, Jan 1948

box-folder 5:8

pgs. 1-74, 78-96, typescript


4th movement

box-folder 5:9

pgs. 307-338, holograph

box-folder 5:10

pgs. 213-288, corrected typescript, Jun 1946

box-folder 5:11

"Dawn", pgs. 290-306, corrected typescript, Jul 1946

box-folder 5:12

pgs. 307-341, corrected typescript, Aug 1946

box-folder 5:13

pgs. 1-61, typescript


5th movement

box-folder 5:14

pgs. 339-428, holograph, Jun 1946

box-folder 5:15

"These Dark Things", holograph


7th movement

box-folder 5:16

pgs. 166-225, and inserts I-II, holograph, & pgs. 156.1-7, Jun 1946

box-folder 5:17

Inserts I-II & pgs. 156.1-211, typescript

box-folder 6:1

8th movement, pgs. 1-165, holograph

box-folder 6:2

9th movement, pgs. 768-781, corrected typescript

box-folder 6:3-4

"To the Reader", holograph and typescript

box-folder 6:5-14

Full typescript

box-folder 6:15-16

Discards, revisions and notes, Sep 1948

box-folder 6:17

Lady B's revision suggestions

box-folder 7:1-9

Scarlet Night

box-folder 7:1

pgs. i-iv, pgs. 1-108, typescript - includes title page, preface, table of contents, 1st movement, photocopy, Spring 1919

box-folder 7:2

pgs.109-151, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:3

pgs. 152-220, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:4

pgs. 221-288, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:5

pgs. 289-393, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:6

pgs. 394-478, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:7

pgs. 479-518, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:8

pgs. 519-733, typescript photocopy

box-folder 7:9

pgs. 734-756, typescript photocopy

box-folder 8:1-8

A weekend in Hell : in the year of hope

box-folder 8:1

Title page and contents, holograph manuscript, Spring 1919

box-folder 8:2

pgs.1-580 holograph manuscript, Aug 1918

box-folder 8:3

pgs.581-1042 holograph manuscript, Aug 1918

box-folder 8:4

pgs. 1-20, holograph, Mar 1920

box-folder 8:5

pgs. 1-220, annotated typescript

box-folder 8:6

pgs. 221-409, annotated typescript

box-folder 8:7

pgs. 410-599 annotated typescript

box-folder 8:8

pgs. 600-700 annotated typescript

box 9:1-3

Misc. poetry, holograph and typescripts, , Mar-Nov 1920

box 9:1

Metal illustration cuts for Mathematics, Queen and Servant of Science, 1951

box 9:2

Class Number Forumlas, by J. Ouspenski, an original unpublished manuscript, 1925


Note: Inscribed by author, to E.T. Bell, "Chicago, July 1925", on the free endpaper.
box 9:3

Annotated envelopes, a cardboard box, and a manuscript cover