Truman S. Klein
Truman S. Klein, 1902-1994, by John Riedesel.
Truman S. Klein, for whom this old math book collection is named, was dedicated to teaching mathematics to the young people of Maryland, in particular Prince George’s County, in a career spanning four decades and involving classroom teaching, administration, and supervision.
Mr. Klein was born in Frederick County, Maryland, on December 30, 1902, but spent most of his early years in Union Bridge, Carroll County. He graduated in 1925 from the University of Maryland with a B.A. degree in mathematics, doing subsequent work at Columbia University, and attaining the M.A. level.
His first teaching assignment was at Pokomoke City in Worcester County, Maryland, but in the late 1920s he came to Prince George’s County, where he taught mathematics at several schools including Suitland High School, and held principalships at Surrattsville School (all grades) and Bladensburg High School. In the late 1950s he was named Prince George’s County’s first Supervisor of Mathematics under a program of the National Defense Education Act, a position in which he served with distinction until his retirement in 1968.
Mr. Klein brought professionalism and cohesion to the teaching of mathematics in Prince George’s County. He had a profound appreciation for mathematical developments of the past, but was also open to the best of experiments and endeavors of contemporary math. His tenure as supervisor came at a time when much thought and effort was being put into reorganizing the teaching of mathematics, both in pedagogy and content. Under his supervision, Prince George’s County participated in the UMMaP Project of the University of Maryland, and he insisted that his teachers be knowledgeable and conversant in the programs and experiments of other schools as well. He incorporated into the curriculum the best of “modern math,” while avoiding its excesses.
He was a superb and humble mathematician, an excellent teacher who taught with great knowledge and fascinating pedagogy, and was looked up to by his students and colleagues. As a supervisor he always sought the best both in and for his teachers. He respected them and involved them frequently in the decision-making process. He was far more interested in the welfare and mathematical accomplishments of his students and teachers than in seeking his own glory.
Mr. Klein died on October 16, 1994, in Washington County, Maryland, at the age of 91.