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Børge Jessen papers

General description of the collection

A short description:
This collection of Børge Jessen papers consists of almost all scientific material left by Jessen and a significant part of his personal papers. The latter includes correspondence with family members and other personal matters. The scientific part includes Jessen's huge correspondence, manuscripts of his talks, lectures and scientific works and books. There is also plenty of material from his administrative tasks in the International Mathematical Union, in the National Commission for Education in the 1950s and in the erection of the H. C. Ørsted Institute. Other administrative tasks are covered by his correspondence. Almost all material is from the period 1922-1987. Most of the material is in Danish, English and German, but there is also a few thing in other languages mainly French and Russian.

The collection is contained in 66 standard archival boxes, some large folders and 3 additional boxes in special formats.

Handed over:
The collection was handed over to the Mathematics Institute by Jessen, when he moved to rest home around 1990. It was stored at the archive at Jagtvej soon after.


The copyright of the manuscripts and other material produced by Jessen belongs to the descendants of Jessen (Ole Crumlin-Pedersen). The copyright of letters belongto descendants of the letter writer.

This inventory was made by Sigurd Elkjær and Kurt Ramskov, and part of it was translated into English by Ramskov 28 December 1998.

Further information on archival material etc.:
Theseus homepage of Børge Jessen.

A short biography of Jessen

Børge Jessen (1907-1993) was born in Copenhagen and he also studied here. His university study, with mathematics as the major subject, lasted 1925-29. After his magisterkonferens in mathematics he wrote a doctoral dissertation, which was defended in 1930. Already during his year of study Jessen had started a collaboration with Harald Bohr. This was continued during the 1930s and 1940s. They collaborated on the zeta function and almost periodic functions. In his early career Jessen went on study trips abroad. He became docent at the Royal Veterinary School in 1930 and when Bonnesen died in 1935 he succeeded him as professor in descriptive geometry at the Polytechnic (Polyteknisk Læreanstalt). In 1942 he succeeded Hjelmslev as professor at the University of Copenhagen and this position he kept until his retirement in 1977. In 1950s his mathematical interest shifted to the partition problem of polyhedras. Jessen had a significant position in Danish science after World War II. He was president of the direction of the Carlsberg Foundation, member of the committee of the Rask-Ørsted Foundation, a leading figure in the erection of the H. C. Ørsted Institute (the new institute for mathematics, physics and chemistry in Copenhagen erected in the 1960s), involved in the reform of the university studies and member of the committee of the Danish Mathematical Society. He was also member of the committee of the International Mathematical Union for a few years when it was reestablished in the 1950s.

A survey of the content of the collection

Jessen's material was very well-ordered by himself in folders and except for a few changes this ordering of the material has been kept in the Archive's collection. In general the material is first sorted according to subject and then either chronological or alphabetical (or both). Because of the significant size of the inventory it has been divided into three parts on separate home pages. Remark that not everything is available in an English version..

First part:

Subject Boxes
Personal matters 1
Family correspondence 2-8
Scientific correspondence 9-25

Second part:

Subject Boxes
Correspondence with institutions etc. 26-28
Scientific manuscripts and notes (chronological) 29-37
Undated scientific manuscripts 38-39
Manuscript for a book on almost periodic functions 40-41
Manuscript on a book on the theory of measure and integration 42

Third part:

Subject Boxes
Reprints of publications 43-46
Teaching 47-49
Reforms of the studies 1943-60 49-50
The commission of education 1956-59 51-53
The erection of the H. C. Ørsted Institute 54-58
International Council of Scientific Unions 59-60
International Mathematical Union 60-62
Partipation in congresses and anniversaries 63-65
Miscellaneous (sorted according to subject) 66
Not standard boxes 67-69