Laurent Saloff-Coste
Department of mathematics

About Abram Rogers Bullis

The text below is based on:

and on various Cornell archives.

Abram Rogers Bullis was  born on September 4 1854 in Farmington, New York, the son of A.R. BullisAbram Rogers Bullis and Lydia Porter Lapham. He was one of seven siblings. His father was a medical doctor who had studied at Geneva Medical College and practiced in Macedon and Farmington (east of Rochester).  His mother, Lydia, died when he was eight years old and the young Abram went to live with his Grandfather Charles Bullis in Macedon.  After attending Macedon Academy 1868-1869, Abram taught in neighboring schools including at Macedon Union School. 

He enrolled at Cornell in 1877 and graduated in 1881 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor Thesis titled "Solution of a Problem in Probability".  In 1882, he earned a Bachelor in Civil Engineering. After leaving Cornell, Abram returned to Macedon where he spent most of his life working as a surveyor in Wayne County, New York.  He married Josephine Breese in 1884 and they had two children, Charles Rogers Bullis (born 1891) and Jeannette Aurelia Bullis (1893).  Abram R. Bullis died on January 20 1928.

The New York Mathematical Society was established in 1888. It changed its name and became the American Mathematical Society in 1894. It had 23 members at the end on 1890. Abram R. Bullis joined the society in June 1891 and remained a member for 26 years. During his time at Cornell and after returning in Macedon, Abram R. Bullis was a regular contributor of solutions to mathematical problems published in the Mathematical Visitor (1879-1894) and the Mathematical magazine (1882-1884), two periodicals published by Artemas Martin. His extraordinary book collection is preserved as part of  the "Bullis Collection" in Macedon Public Library. 

Interest in life long education and the pursuit of scholarship was passed from generation to generation in the Bullis familly.  His daughter,  Jeannette (Nettie) Bullis, graduated from Macedon High School in 1911 and delivered a valecditory address titled "Life Like Every Other Blessing Derives Its Value From Its Use." She attended Cornell in 1918, taught in Marion, New York, and became a book keeper for Gleason Works before advancing to the position of Corporate Secretary and Private Assistant to the company President, James Gleason. She died in 1979.  Her significant bequest still supports a number of  post-secondary scholarships for students of school districts around Macedon.

The Abram R. Bullis  Chair in the Department of Mathematics was created in 1989 through Nettie Bullis's will and with the support of the trustees of her estate.  It has been held by Eugene Dynkin (1989--2010) and by John Guckenheimer (2010-2016).