Agnes Scott College

Nola Anderson Haynes


January 9, 1897 - December 21, 1996

By Nancy Moen, Arts & Science Information Specialist, University of Missouri-Columbia

Reprinted from Critical Points, Spring 1996, with permission of the Department of Mathematics, University of Missouri-Columbia.

Nola Anderson was born on a farm in Linn County [Missouri] in 1897. One of four children, she completed her early schooling in a one-room schoolhouse.

"I liked math all the way through school," she said. "I think I was just better at it than the boys were." And I put up a howl to go to college."

Traveling to [University of Missouri] from the family farm was an adventure for her--horse and buggy to the train station, train to Columbia, then horse and buggy again to the prive residence where she lived.

After the Anderson family's math enthusiast earned her bachelor's degree in 1922, she taught high school for two years, then took a position as math instructor at Central College for Women in Lexington. She returned to [University of Missouri] for her master's degree and, encouraged by her professors, earned a PhD [An Extension of Maschke's Symbolism] with a math major and astronomy minor in 1929. She then joined the department as a teacher.

"It was unusual to have a woman in the math department then," Professor John Beem says. "There were not large numbers of women in the field. At that time there were few PhDs, male or female."

Haynes taught for 40 years, with nearly 25 of those at [University of Missouri], and was the author of three papers on her research in geometry: An Extension of Maschke's Symbolism [American Journal of Mathematics, January 1929, Abstract], The Trigonometry of Hyperspace [The American Mathematical Monthly, December 1929, Abstract], and Normals to a Space Vn in Hyperspace [Bulletin of the American Mathematics Society, June 1936, Abstract, Article].

"I loved to teach. I loved being in front of a class, showing off I guess," she said. She also loved students, and to benefit them she established the Eli Stuart Haynes and Nola Anderson Haynes Scholarship Fund in memory of her late husband, who was chair of the astronomy department for many years.

In 1995, the Department of Mathematics and the College of Arts & Science honored Haynes with the first Silver Chalk Award for contributions in teaching. She displays the award on her highly polished dining room table.


  1. Author Profile at zbMath
  2. Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. "Remembering Nola Haynes", Critical Points, Issue 2, University of Missouri

Photo Credit: Photograph used with permission of the Department of Mathematics, University of Missouri-Columbia