The Distinguished Mathematician

William Duane (Dano) Tallman

February 12, 1875 – August 19, 1961

William D Tallman photo A

William Duane Dano was born February 12, 1875 in Sterling, Arkansas. His father Duane Dano, who was merchant in Lake Village died three months before William was born. His mother Jennie (Whittemore) died in April of 1875 he was then taken in by my Great Uncle Joseph B. and Julia A. Tallman. Joseph was the County Surveyor and Julia was involved with local education. They officially adopted him January 8, 1876, however, they began having marital problems and Julia took William and moved to Sparta, Wisconsin in 1880. Their divorce was official July 24, 1880. In Wisconsin, Julia was hired in November 1886 as the first matron in in the new public “Cottage” school for neglected and dependent children in Sparta. Julia would go on to raise Duane as her own until her death on Monday, January 21, 1901.

After graduating from Sparta High School in 1892 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. He graduated with honors with his B.S. in mathematics and physics in 1896. While there he was a member of the honor fraternity, Pi Kappa Beta. He taught during 1896-1897 at the High School in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1897-1898 he was a fellow at the University. He then taught math in 1898-1899 at the High School in Eau Claire. Next, he returned to the University as an Assistant Instructor of Mathematics while pursuing his doctorate. During this time he completed his thesis entitled “Singularities of the Quintic Curve.” A fellow classmate was Charles Max Mason, distinguished mathematician and physicist, who became President of the University of Chicago in 1925.

As he neared the completion of his degree, he married Anna DeMuth on June 22, 1900. With a new wife to support he was offered and felt he could safely take the headship at Montana State College while still completing his degree. He was hired at Montana State on January 1, 1901 becoming the first full professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics. Tallman and his wife had three children; Mildred, Hazel, and Duane. Mildred attended MSC for three years but did not graduate, Hazel and Duane both graduated. Mildred married C. J. Altmaier and had six children. Hazel earned a doctorate in Romance Languages from the Sorbonne in Paris and married Rodger Guillaumant, a Frenchman and an art metal worker. They returned to the United States and she later became a professor of Romance Languages at Valparaiso Indiana. Duane worked with Rodger in the art metal business.

Anna died of cancer shortly after the birth of Duane. He then married her sister Maude S. DeMuth and they had one son, William, Jr. also an MSC alumnus. William Jr. later taught mathematics and music in Florida. Maude (DeMuth) Tallman received a B.S. in Mathematics – Physics from Montana State in 1907. While at Montana State she was a member of the Hamiltonian Literary Society.

After leaving Montana State in 1945 he moved to Corvallis, Oregon where he was Acting Professor of Mathematics from 1946 to 1948. Retiring, he and Maude moved to Carrabelle, Florida and later had a radical operation for lip cancer from his ever-present cigar. He died on August 19, 1961, she died December 8, 1963 in Palmetto, Florida. They are buried in Mansion Memorial Park and Funeral Home, Manatee County, Florida.

(From the document Mathematics since February 1893 a historical file at Montana State University)

When he arrived on January 1, 1901 he rode up to the college on a street car in a howling blizzard to look the place over. For the next 45 years he literally wove his life into that of the college. Due to the heavy workload here he never returned to finish his doctorate.

Professor Tallman’s first courses at Montana State were Preparatory Geometry with 15 students; Freshman Mathematics with 25 students; and Calculus with 12 students. His first class in Differential Equations had 12 students. At the time of Tallman’s appointment no degree was offered in mathematics. Tallman at once organized many more courses in mathematics. Listed in the 1902-1903 catalog was the Collegiate Department with degrees in Agriculture, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science degree in several General Science groups, including Botany, Chemistry, Domestic Science, English, History, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Physics, and Zoology. Tallman taught five courses in Algebra, Trigonometry and Logarithms, Analytic Geometry, Calculus, and The Method of Least Squares, and in alternate years, seven other courses in Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations of Math. Physics, Newtonian Potential, Modern Algebra, and Advanced Analytical Geometry, Projective Geometry, and Theory of Functions. He was fond of recalling having taught as high as 26 hours per week.

He was also interested in athletics. His undergraduate specialty was track. At MAC he was frequently called in to judge track meets. An indication that athletics already played a role at MAC occurred in October 1902, when representatives from nine northwestern colleges met in Spokane, Washington to form the Northwest Intercollegiate Association, an athletics organization. Not surprisingly, Tallman was the representative from the Montana Agricultural College. He also organized the first all-state Basketball Meet. For many years he sponsored the Beta Epsilon fraternity and he was a charter member of Pi Kappa Pi. Tallman was a superb classroom teacher and a sympathetic advisor. A small group of scholarly men such as William D. Tallman, W. F. Brewer, William M. Cobleigh, Deane B. Swingle, and Robert A. Cooley must be credited with standing for (1) a more liberal program, (2) causing the school to base its offerings in Agriculture and Engineering more directly on science and mathematics, and (3) gradual elimination of the school’s trade school features. Tallman’s fond dream was a department with students and faculty capable of developing a graduate program. He was known as a two-fisted fighter and able debater in the faculty meetings. He more than once blasted unsound programs. His staff remembered him as generously sparing them whenever possible. He never assigned a task he would not perform himself. Late in his career at MSC he started a combined testing program complete with the necessary statistical study showing its validity. This was used for the next thirty years. He also authored a two volume book for the first two years of Engineering Mathematics. It was used for several years but was never formally published. His students remembered him as an artist in the classroom. His out of-class help was cheerfully given. His fondness for tobacco frequently caused his students to give him a box of cigars. He headed the Department of Mathematics until July 1945 when he retired. He was then named Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, the first from this department. Amazingly, he had been at Montana State for 45 years and had seen the presidency pass from Reverend James R. Reid, who was president when he was hired, to James M. Hamilton, named the third president in 1904, to Alfred A. Atkinson named the fourth president in 1919, to A.L. Strand named the fifth president in 1937, to Roland R. Renne, named the sixth president in 1943.

From the day he arrived in Bozeman, William Tallman strove to strengthen and broaden the Department of Mathematics’ curriculum. He recognized the importance of mathematics to the entire scientific enterprise at MAC. With the Bachelor of Science degree in several General Science groups, including Mathematics, being listed in the 1902-1903 catalog, Edna Lewis was granted the first Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics in June 1903. Lowell R. King was granted the same degree in June 1904 as well as Clyde C. Penwell in 1906. Tallman’s efforts meshed well with the vision of James M. Hamilton, the third president appointed in 1904. Hamilton’s immediate plans were to transform MAC into a high grade technical college. This movement away from a training school to a college with its offerings in Agriculture and Engineering based directly on science and mathematics was a cornerstone of Hamilton’s vision and happened to fit precisely with Tallman’s ideas that he had begun instituting the day he arrived. Unfortunately, Hamilton’s “Education for Efficiency” also led to significant change that negatively affected the Department of Mathematics. Hamilton’s primary purpose was to avoid duplication between “the University and the College of Agriculture,” the University being the state university in Missoula and the College of Agriculture being in Bozeman. Thus in 1906 the separate degree courses in History and English were combined into one. Likewise, the separate degree courses in Mathematics and Physics were combined into one. In addition, the Agriculture program was eliminated and replaced with majors in Agronomy, Animal Industry, Horticulture, and Dairy. Also, the Division of Science was created. In the 1906-1907 catalog, the Bachelor of Science degree included different General Science groups, including Biology, Chemistry, Domestic Science, History-Literature, and Mathematics-Physics. These five General Science groups were first identified as belonging to the Division of Science in that same catalog. By now, Tallman taught six courses in Algebra, Plane Trigonometry, Analytic Geometry, Calculus, Method of Least Squares, and Theoretical Astronomy, and in alternate years, six other courses in Differential Equations, Partial Differential Equations of Math. Physics, Newtonian Potential, Algebra (advanced), Analytical Geometry (advanced), and Mathematico-Physical Seminary. A thesis was also required for the Mathematics-Physics degree, either in mathematics or physics. William M. Cobleigh appears to have taught all the other physics courses including seven courses in General Descriptive Physics, General Physics, Physical Measurements, Electricity and Magnetism, Electrical Measurements, Light and Sound, and Advanced Physics. In 1907 Annie T. Breneman, Frieda Mildred Bull, Maude S. DeMuth, Agnes Mountjoy, and Mabel Thorpe each earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics-Physics. In 1909 Frieda Bull earned a Master of Science degree in Mathematics-Physics. Of these early students, Annie T. Breneman, Frieda Mildred Bull, Maude S. DeMuth, Agnes Mountjoy, Mabel Thorpe, Amy Cooke, and June Hartman were all members of the Hamiltonian Literary Society.






Ship Designer, Author & Model Builder

Charles Gerard Davis

July 22, 1870 – January 22, 1959

Charles G Davis

Charles was one of America’s leading model ship builders; his models are readily found in museums. In the first half of the twentieth century he was an acclaimed naval architect and boating author.

Charles was the son of Mary Estelle (Tallman) and Theodore Whitehead Davis and the grandson of John Peck Higgins Tallman. Five foot eight, blue eyed Charles Gerard married Minnie Webber in 1896 she was born in 1877. Their children were Camilla born in 1897, Theodore W. in 1899, Carrie Belle in 1900 (died young) and William Tallman born in 1902. He began his love of boats and sailing at an early age. As a child growing up in Poughkeepsie he would sit on the town dock jutting into the Hudson River watching ships and listening to the boatman tales. While still a youngster his father a Civil Engineer and ex-naval officer moved the family to Brooklyn. There he took to yachting with his father and brother, while in his spare time he would rove Brooklyn’s docks watching the larger ships loading and unloading their cargo. He and his older brother, William, built their own boat in 1884, cruising the Hudson and Western Long Island Sound before purchasing, refitting and racing an old sandbagger.

In 1889 he went to work in New York as a draftsman for William Gardner, the Clydeside Scots steam yacht designer. He also filled in on a job at T.R. Webber’s boat shop where he began to do some independent designing. His eyesight became affected in 1892, his doctor recommended he find a job with less eye strain. In August ‘92’ he signed on in NYC as an AB (able seaman) at $18 a month on the Bark “JAMES A. WRIGHT” out of Boston for a trip around Cape Horn to Chile. In 2004 a book “Around Cape Horn” was written by Neal Parker from the manuscript that Charles had written upon his return. After the “Horn Adventure” he then spent another year in Gardner’s office, before again going to sea in the “J. PERCY BERTRAM” in the West Indies trade. Upon his return from this trip, he began to design racing boats for Webber and later for Larry Huntington in New Rochelle, N.Y.

In 1898 he went to work for Thomas Day founder of “The Rudder” the leading yachting magazine of its day and was its design editor for several years. At the outbreak of World War I he joined the Elco Boat builder company, managing their plans at Halifax, Nova Scotia and in Montreal where wooden submarine chasers were being assembled for England. In 1917 he became general manager of the Trailer Ship Building Corporation at Cornwells, Pa. supervising the building of wooden steam, and after the War he became associated with the United States Maritime Service. From 1925 to 1927 he was in retirement in St. Petersburg, Florida, but returned to Port Washington to work as a draftsman under A. Couch for Toms & King, Inc.

In 1935 Davis again retired. He moved to Cazenovia, N.Y. and began building ship models, many of which are on display in the Stillman Building at Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. In 1940 he was called out of retirement by the Navy to become head hull inspector for wooden PT boats and minesweepers at the Nevins, Jacobs & United Shipyards at City Island, N.Y. He retired for a third time at the end of World War II.

In 1899 he skippered the “Genesee” built for the Rochester Club but, actually represented the Chicago Club winning race 2, 3 & 4 to win the “Canada’s Cup.” The race was sailed at Toronto; the Canada’s Cup Races have been held since 1896 on the Great Lakes between The Royal Canadian Yacht Club of Toronto and an American Club. The yachts were 35-foot class with crews of six, and not to exceed 1050 pounds. The Championship was determined by the best of five races. The Canada’s Cup, which stands for supremacy of match racing on the Great Lakes, still continues in the 21st Century.

He was a charter member of the Cruising Club. He was also an enthusiastic and skillful racer of small boats, and often enlisted his sons, Theodore and William Tallman, to crew for him. As an author, he wrote many technical articles for Yachting, The Rudder, Motor Boat and other magazines. Besides the novel “Around Cape Horn” developed from his manuscript, he wrote several books on sailing ships and ship models. He died in Manor Haven on January 22, 1959 in Port Washington, Nassau Co., NY at age 80. He’s buried in Beechwoods Cemetery, New Rochelle, NY along with his wife Mimmi.