Book, Mathematical Puzzles and Pastimes

The book Mathematical Puzzles and Pastimes was obtained by Olive C. Hazlett (1890–1974) on May 27, 1965. Hazlett was one of America's leading mathematicians during the 1920s. She taught at Bryn Mawr College, Mount Holyoke College, and the University of Illinois, after which she moved to Peterborough, New Hampshire. This volume, as well as other puzzle books and puzzles she owned, was collected from a community of Discalced Carmelite brothers who had lived in New Hampshire and who had befriended Hazlett there.
The puzzles and pastimes of the book were gathered and edited by Philip Haber and illustrated by Stanley Wyatt. The book was published by The Peter Pauper Press of Mount Vernon, New York, in 1957. Haber collected problems that he wrote could “be solved primarily by clear thinking, arithmetic or algebra.” The book contains 113 problems with solutions given to some of them. Haber refers to the last four problems as “famous” and gives their names as: The Impossible Division Problem, The Unit Problem, The Apple Problem, and The Problem of Problems (Archimedes’ Cattle Problem).
Hazlett wrote “$1. for 3” on the title page of this book. There is one other book in the museum collections, The Little Riddle Book (2015.3004.02), that was also published by The Peter Pauper Press and also obtained by Hazlett on May 27, 1965. In that book she wrote “3 for $1.” Hazlett signed her name “O. C. Hazlett” on the dustcover of both books. She made other handwritten marks in Mathematical Puzzles and Pastimes, including several whose meanings are not clear.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
cloth (binding material)
overall: 1.1 cm x 11.5 cm x 19.2 cm; 7/16 in x 4 17/32 in x 7 9/16 in
place made
United States: New York, Mount Vernon
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Mathematical Recreations
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Mathematical Association of America Objects
Women Mathematicians
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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