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Stanley Hershel Stahl did his PhD thesis at the University of Michigan, under the direction of Peter Hinman, and wrote a dissertation in 1974 with title "Classes of Primitive Recursive Ordinal Functions" (MR2624549). This is referenced, e.g., in this paper by the same author. The research content of the thesis, or at least part of it, has been published in the paper I just linked to as well as this one, but I would be very interested in reading the expository parts (especially as Stahl's exposition seems excellent).

Getting hold of this thesis might prove challenging, however. Obviously no copies are available online. The author does not seem to have pursued mathematics after his PhD, and Peter Hinman is, I imagine, retired. There is a copy at UMich library, but before I try requesting an interlibrary load or scan (I don't really know how these work), I thought maybe someone on MO happens to have a copy, or could offer advice as to whom I might contact.

Also, the MathSciNet entry (link above) mentions something called ProQuest, I don't even understand what they do, which is a bad sign, but maybe they centralize requests for copies of dissertations. Does someone have experience in this matter?

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  • $\begingroup$ I think interlibrary loan may be fastest (unfortunately, there is no digitized copy through ProQuest; maybe you can also order a copy form them, but that didn't seem, to be an option in this case, maybe I didn't check carefully). Peter Hinman is Emeritus, you can find his contact information on his webpage. I imagine sending him an email may bring out other options. If all of this fails, please email me (to my AMS account), and I'll try to get a copy for you. $\endgroup$ – Andrés E. Caicedo Aug 8 '17 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ ProQuest Digital Dissertations contains copies of many theses; however, as best as I recall, it requires some sort of [e.g., academic] credentials to access. [I routinely searched it as a graduate student e.g. to compile a lit review, but no longer have access...] $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Aug 8 '17 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @AndrésE.Caicedo's comment recommending interlibrary loan. Peter Hinman now has a smaller office than before he retired, so he may have discarded his copies of dissertations from long ago. Even if he still has his copy of Stan Stahl's thesis, I think it would be more appropriate to ask a librarian to scan a copy than to ask Peter to do it. (I might also have a hard copy of this thesis, but I'm far away from Ann Arbor until the end of the month.) $\endgroup$ – Andreas Blass Aug 8 '17 at 20:36

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