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.

Administrative Information

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

Biographical Note

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.

Content Description

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.

Detailed Description of the Collection

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This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Wahl, Martha Stoessel, 1916-
Lane, Ruth

20th century

Women in mathematics
Women in education
Educational toys

Mathematics teachers

Geographic Names:
United States -- Connecticut
United States -- Iowa -- Ottumwa
United States -- Iowa -- Iowa City

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers
Cultural artifacts
Motion pictures

Teachers and Teaching