Albert Barnett was ten years old when he and his family left London for Chicago in 1904. After earning a degree in mathematics at the University of Chicago in 1918, he was appointed a Benjamin Pierce Fellow at Harvard. He served on the faculty of the University of Saskatchewan for four years before making a forty-year commitment to the University of Cincinnati in 1924.
His special mathematical interests were in analytic geometry and number theory, as well as the training of high-school teachers of mathematics. He encouraged Norbert Wiener in the development of the Wiener Measure. In 1936, he was instrumental in bringing Otto Szasz to the University of Cincinnati.
Immediately after the end of the European part of World War II, he taught at the American University in Biarritz and then spent two years in Munich with the United States Military as a specialist in higher education. Following his retirement from the University of Cincinnati in 1964, he was invited to inaugurate a Ph.D. program in mathematics at Ohio University.
Barnett's many creative interests included music and extended to his playing, by ear, the piano, the harmonica, and the accordion. He played a "killer" game of bridge, using his probability knowledge to figure out his opponents' hands. The Reds baseball team captured his interest and sometimes ire. He was an inveterate creator and purveyor of bad puns. Barnett never tired of amusing himself "playing" with mathematical problems on his clipboard.
Fannie Reisler Barnett was eight years old when she left Rumania and moved with her family to Chicago . After earning a BS in mathematics at the University of Chicago, she taught at rural schools in Iowa and Indiana until her marriage to Albert Barnett.
Their first daughter, Ethel, was born in Saskatoon . Several years after the Barnetts moved to Cincinnati , their second daughter, Naomi, was born. Mrs. Barnett taught in a number of Cincinnati high schools, including Hartwell and Walnut Hills, until her retirement in 1957.
Her husband was deeply grateful for her invaluable help with the publication of three mathematics textbooks and numerous articles.
A woman always ahead of her time, she was politically active, beginning with the suffragette movement and extending to humanitarian causes all her life. She and her husband opened their home to dozens of refuges during the 1930's and 1940's, providing meals, shelter, and help with employment.
Mrs. Barnett was an exceptionally intellectually curious woman who read omnivorously in many diverse areas.
Two of the many who knew and loved her characterized her in this way: "Fannie Barnett was a highly intelligent, kind, generous woman, with a beautiful soul. She was an inspiration to us all." "Whatever she said made more sense than most of us make in a lifetime."