The Archive of Professor Lester S. Hill (1891-1961), US mathematician, and Cryptologist.
Lot 1257
The Archive of Professor Lester S. Hill (1891-1961), US mathematician, and Cryptologist.
Sold for US$ 1,125 inc. premium

Voices of the 20th Century

6 Dec 2017, 13:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
The Archive of Professor Lester S. Hill (1891-1961), US mathematician, and Cryptologist.
Collection from the papers of Lester S. Hill, 19 pieces, comprising;
1. Studio photograph of the young 13 year old Hill, signed on verso "Lester S. Hill. June 6, 1904."
2. Five family photographs, including 2 of his daughter Judy in the 1930s, and one of him on a bowsprit of a sailing vessel in the Pacific.
3. A Western Union telegram dated June 25, 45, from Osborn, Director of Information and Education in DC to Hill, asking him to accept a post as a teacher of mathematics (Spy cryptology) at a university in Europe, for 7 to 12 months at $8,933 per annum.
4. War Department (Pentagon), military travel orders for Hill and 104 others to ship out from Boston and New York for Europe on temporary duty, dated July 18, 1945, 6 leaves, lettered "restricted."
5. An original US Navy Alegebraic Cipher coded message, dated September 1945, using Hill's polygraphic cypher.
6. Copy letter releasing him from his teaching post at Hunter College, New York, dated September 27, 1945; and two other a.l.s. personal correspondence from late 1945.
7. Proforma receipt for his uniform, dated October 15, 1945 and 4 proforma military information sheets and memoranda from Biarritz (military) American University, November 1945 to January 1946, and a photograph of the lecturers gathered on a French Railway platform.
8. His official release from the American University of Biarritz dated January 10, 1946; and other ephemeral pieces.

Lester Hill was an American mathematician, Princeton, Yale, and Hunter, who in 1929, developed a polygraphic substitution cipher based on linear alegbra, the first to use more than 3 symbols. During WW II the US military made extensive use of his codes. After the war he was drafted in to teach spies at the "American University of Biarritz."

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  1. Ian Ehling
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
    Bonhams
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