Mary P. Dolciani

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Mary P. Dolciani (1923–1985) was an American mathematician, known for her work with secondary-school mathematics teachers.

Dolciani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) at Hunter College in New York City, and she completed her doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) at Cornell University in 1947 with B. W. Jones as thesis advisor. She taught briefly at Vassar College before returning to Hunter, where she spent the next forty years. Dolciani taught mathematics there, and at times, she also served as a Dean or the Provost.

Beginning in the 1960s Mary Dolciani wrote a series of high school mathematics textbook, Structure and Method, which in 2000 - 2010 has experienced a resurgence of popularity.

Shortly before her death in 1985, Dolciani also co-wrote (along with two other mathematics educators) Pre-Algebra: An Accelerated Course. This textbook was widely used in the later 1980s through the 1990s. In addition to teaching the pure mathematics, it emphasized the usefulness of algebra in various practical applications.

The Mathematical Association of America publishes a series of mathematical books named for her: The Dolciani Mathematical Expositions. Also, the Association's headquarters building in Washington D.C. is named The Dolciani Mathematical Center in her honor.

Although Dolciani is not well known by the general public, she was influential in developing the basic modern method used for teaching basic algebra in the United States (called "Dolciani algebra", which teaches it on the basis of drill like arithmetic, rather than on the basis of proofs as in Euclidean geometry). Dolciani also popularized the short-form names of the Properties that are familiar to many high school algebra students, e.g. the "Zero Property".

Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation[edit]

In 1982, Dr. Mary P. Dolciani Halloran, with her husband James J. Halloran and Eugene J. Callahan as Trustees, established the Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation to further the study of mathematics and mathematics education.[1]


  1. ^ Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation. "The Foundation". Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation. Retrieved 1 February 2013. 

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