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I would like to know who coined the term planar graph?

I was able to trace the term back to a paper "Non-Separable and Planar Graphs" by Hassler Whitney, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA. 1931 February; 17(2): 125–127. Is this the first occurrence?

Obviously, planar graphs have been studied as 1-skeletons of polyhedral genus-0 surfaces before (Euler-Poincare formula), but not under this name.

Addition: Thanks to the pointer of Hagen v. Eitzen I found that in the Bulletin of the AMS 1930, pg 214 the following abstract was listed.

Professors Orrin Frink and P.A.Smith:

Irreducible non-planar graphs. One of the results of this paper is a simple necessary and sufficient condition that an arbitrary linear graph be mappable on a plane. (Received February 10,1930.)

The paper was sent out for publication in Trans. of the ACM, but since Kuratowski's result came out just a few months earlier (and it had a similar proof) it got rejected. So this is the first appearance of the term "non-planar graph" I could found.

By the way, Kuratowski's article was in French, and from my understanding there is no direct analogue for "planar graphs" in the text.

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The term plane graph is also used. –  lhf Aug 16 '13 at 11:18
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@lhf Though that is a slightly different concept, I think (a graph embedded in a plane vs. a graph embeddable in a plane) –  Hagen von Eitzen Aug 16 '13 at 12:30

1 Answer 1

I suppose some hints can be found in N. L. Biggs, E. K. Lloyd and R. J. Wilson, Graph Theory 1736-1936 (1976) though I don't have access to that.

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Thanks for the pointer. This is a cool book. It helped me a bit further (see additional remarks in the question), but I do not a have a definite answer yet. –  A.Schulz Aug 16 '13 at 13:53

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