Honoring James Edward Oliver

Elaine Engst and Laurent Saloff-Coste standing at a podium. The slide projected behind them displays an image of a New York State Woman Suffrage Association poster.

On October 14, 2021, the Math Department hosted a special Oliver Club talk and ceremony honoring James Edward Oliver and his support of women’s suffrage. Professor Laurent Saloff-Coste and retired University Archivist Elaine Engst gave a joint presentation on Oliver’s life, work, and progressive views, as well as the wider context of Cornell, the mathematical community, and the suffrage movement at the time.

You can watch a recording of the Zoom broadcast here. A transcript of the talk is available to read here.

The idea for this event originated in Spring 2020, when the Suffrage Plaque Committee, a project of the Tompkins County Historical Commission, created a set of plaques commemorating local suffragists, including Oliver. Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen contacted the department, and a presentation ceremony was planned for 2020 but got delayed due to COVID.