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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Martha Wahl papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1938-1995
Creator: Wahl, Martha Stoessel (1916- )
Extent: 7.00 linear inches.
Collection Number: IWA0090
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Mathematician and teacher who patented educational toys for teaching mathematics to children.

Alternate Extent Statement: Artifacts in boxes 2 and 4.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 148) were donated by Martha Stoessel Wahl in 1993 and succeeding years.

Preferred Citation: Martha Wahl papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Martha "Stacey" Stoessel Wahl was an educator and a self-proclaimed" gadgeter." She was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on March 9, 1916. Wahl received her B.A. from the State University of Iowa, now the University of Iowa, in 1938 and her M.A. from Columbia University. She taught high school mathematics for seven years and, until1986 when she retired, she taught math at the college and university levels. She married John Wahl, a nuclear physicist, in 1943. They had three children.

After retiring as a full professor of math and computer science at Western Connecticut State University, Wahl gave regional and national workshops at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics meetings. She holds two patents for educational toys, has written several professional articles, collaborated on a book with her husband John Wahl, and created a multi-media kit for the teaching of mathematics to children.

The Martha Stoessel Wahl papers date from 1938 to 1995 and measure 7 linear inches. The papers are arranged in two series: Personal and Professional. The scrapbook contained n the Personal series consists of newspaper clippings concerning both her private life and her professional life.

Dr. Ruth Lane was Wahl's mentor and the woman who turned her professional aspirations from history to the teaching of mathematics. Lane supervised Wahl's student teaching at University High in Iowa City, Iowa. It is to her memory that this collection is dedicated.

The Professional series includes Wahl's published articles, presentations she gave to illustrate various methods of teaching mathematics, artifacts and kits she devised to teach mathematics to children, photographs, and two films.

Wahl's two books, I Can Count the Petals of a Flower (1976), co-authored with John Wahl, and The Flavor of Our Lives: Grandma Stacey's Memoirs (1995), are shelved in the printed works collection of the Iowa Women's Archives. The Flavor of Our Lives includes sections on her experiences in Iowa City in the 1940s, when her husband was helping to develop the atom smasher at the State University of Iowa, and on her experiences teaching and raising her family.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: PERSONAL

  • Series 1: PERSONAL
  • Box 1:
  • Biographical information - 1984, 1988, 1992
  • Awards - 1977
  • Documents: Permission for entry into China - 1986
  • Documents: Teaching contract - 1943
  • Interests: History - 1981
  • Interests: Travel displays - 1972-1991
  • Lane, Dr. Ruth - 1919-1943
  • Newspaper clippings - 1947-1999
  • Significant events in the life of a native Iowan, undated
  • Box 3:
  • Scrapbook - 1961-1995
  • Series 2: PROFESSIONAL
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Correspondence
  • Correspondence - 1961-1984
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Films
  • Film F2: Dot numbers, undated
  • Film F3: A mop handle tetrahedron, undated
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Mathematical aids
  • Counting Experiences, Information - 1978-1979
  • Percentage visualizer, undated; Discovery cubes, Patents - 1982
  • I Can Count the Petals of a Flower, Information, undated
  • I Can Count the Petals of a Flower, Photographs - 1980, 1987
  • Wahlgram, undated
  • Box 2:
  • Counting Experiences, Multi-media kit - 1978
  • Discovery cubes
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Presentations
  • Fun with Ven Diagrams - 1966
  • Original project for Dr. Ruth Lane - 1938
  • Pattern learning, Information, undated
  • Pattern learning, Photographs, undated
  • Probability and statistics - 1959
  • Products using negative factors illustrated with cuisenaire rods, Information - 1978
  • Products using negative factors illustrated with cuisenaire rods, Photographs, undated
  • Pursuit curves as an activity, Information, undated
  • Pursuit curves as an activity, Photographs, undated
  • Slide rule instruction - 1964
  • The wrapping function using zippers, Information - 1980
  • The wrapping function using zippers: Photographs, undated
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Published articles
  • List of articles, undated
  • "The Altitude to the Hypotenuse of a Right Triangle," Connecticut Mathematics Journal: 4(2) May: 7-12 - 1972
  • "Computer-enriched instruction for the elementary teacher," The Arithmetic Teacher: March: 189-192 - 1969
  • "An easy-to-paste model of the rhombic dodecahedron," Mathematics Teacher: November 689-693 - 1978
  • "Easy-to-paste solids," The Arithmetic Teacher: October: 145-148 - 1965
  • "How to tell time by the big dipper," The Communicator: Summer: 38-39 - 1978
  • "Marshmallow math," Early Years: 1 April, 32-34, Article - 1977
  • "Marshmallow math," Early Years: 1 April, 32-34, Photographs - 1978, 1981
  • "Marshmallows, Toothpicks, and Geodesic Domes," The Arithmetic Teacher: December: 39-42 - 1977
  • "The orthotetrakaidekahedron--a cell model for biology classes," The Mathematics Teacher: March: 244-247 - 1977
  • "A percentage visualizer," In Manipulative Activities and Games in the Mathematics Classroom, edited by Lee E. Vochko, National Education Association: 48-49 - 1979
  • "A permanent-soap-bubble geometry," The Arithmetic Teacher: 19(4) April: 307-308, Article - 1972
  • "A permanent-soap-bubble geometry," The Arithmetic Teacher: 19(4) April: 307-308, Photographs - 1971
  • "Polygons with congruent edges," New England Mathematics Journal: X(1) January: 3-9 - 1978
  • "Simpson's rule for volume and the hand held calculator," undated
  • "'We made it and it works!' the classroom construction of sundials," The Arithmetic Teacher: April: 301-304 - 1970
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 1: Photographs
  • Teaching - 1986
  • Sub-Series:
  • Box 4: Artifacts
  • A Percentage Visualizer - 1990