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I am writing a text on the Theory of Computation. I am looking for a photo of the mathematician Wilhelm Ackermann. He is well-known in the field, was a student of one of the most famous mathematicians of his time, and developed the important Ackermann function. So he is reasonably prominent in the history of mathematics in the early to mid 1900's, and I'd expect there to be a number of high quality pictures.

But there seems to be only one picture available (it is in the Wikipedia article linked-to earlier). It is terrible quality-- it looks like a photocopied high school yearbook, although I don't actually know where it comes from-- and I don't think even his mom or wife could like it.

Does anyone know of another? My text is Freely available, so I need it to be free of license restrictions, but after all this time I can hope that licenses are not a problem anyway.

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  • $\begingroup$ Currently there are ways to enhance bad quality photos by AI. (I know it is not an answer, hence the comment.) I wish you good luck on the site. $\endgroup$ – peterh Nov 6 '20 at 23:06
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    $\begingroup$ I'd recommend you post a notice about your question here in the chat rooms of the following Stack Exchange sites: Theoretical Computer Science and Computer Science and Computational Science and Retrocomputing $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 7 '20 at 1:42
  • $\begingroup$ For example look at the photo-related detective work that Retrocomputing did for Where was this Grace Hopper/Univac photo taken? and Is this a custom NASA Langley-built computer or is this a commercial system (ca 1970's)? and even What were the main uses of the large CRT and light pen on early PDP computers? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Nov 7 '20 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ Best I can tell, the picture in Wikipedia has been extracted from a group picture of the teaching staff of the Arnoldinum Gymnasium in Burgsteinfurt, where Ackermann taught mathematics between 1929 and 1948. The picture is reproduced in Willi Feld, "Burgsteinfurt während der NS-Zeit: Band 1", Lit Verlag 2019, p. 135. Curiously, the caption in the book identifies Ackermann as the person standing fourth from the left, while the picture in Wikipedia is of the person third from the left! $\endgroup$ – njuffa Nov 7 '20 at 5:39
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    $\begingroup$ I am not entirely sure but the picture reproduced in the book by the historian Willi Feld is very likely from the school archive. You could try contacting the school: Gymnasium Arnoldinum, Pagenstecherweg 1, 48565 Steinfurt, Germany. They may be able and willing to furnish you with a high-quality scan and the permission to include it in your publication. $\endgroup$ – njuffa Nov 7 '20 at 7:13

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