In 1895 Dr. Archibald began studies in Mathematics and Astronomy at Harvard University, and graduated with a BA in 1896 and an MA in 1897. He then attended the University of Berlin (1898-1899), and the University of Strasbourg (1899-1900) where he was the first English speaking student to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics.
Upon his return to Canada Dr. Archibald served as Professor of Mathematics, Librarian, and Head of the Violin Department at the Mount Allison Ladies’ College from 1900-1907. During these years he encouraged and aided students with the publishing of Allisonia (1903-1912), and assembled materials pertaining to Mount Allison including complete sets of institutional publications such as the academic catalogues and The Argosy.
Dr. Archibald next served as Professor of Mathematics and Head of the Department at Acadia University (1907-1908), and in 1908 joined the faculty at Brown University where he taught the history of mathematics until his retirement in 1943. While at Brown he also helped develop one of the finest mathematical libraries in the United States at that time. He received honorary degrees from the University of Padua (1922) and Mount Allison University (1923).
Between 1905 and his death in1955 Dr. Archibald founded and developed the Mary Mellish Archibald Memorial Library (MMAML) at Mount Allison. At the time of his death the collection included 23,000 volumes, 2,700 records, and 70,000 songs. The MMAML also contained a unique selection of magnetic tapes and disks from which the voices of poets and dramatists could be heard. He acquired, catalogued, and interpreted these materials, often during his summer break from teaching responsibilities.
The history of his alma mater was another interest of Dr. Archibald’s, and through personal initiative he sought to collect and compile a collection of original records that would document the history of the Mount Allison institutions. These records of the documentary heritage of the institutions were preserved and guarded in the storage area of the MMAML. This collection of materials subsequently became the core of the Mount Allison University Archives which was established during the 1969-1970 academic year.
Photograph from Mount Allison Archives, Picture Collection 2007.07/1033