This chapter covers the history of Tutte–Whitney polynomials, mainly through commentary on the early papers on the topic. It focuses particularly on the following:

Notation and definitions used in the seminal papers.

Whitney, early 1930s: his papers and thesis on his rank generating function.

Tutte, 1947–1967: his papers and thesis on the Tutte polynomial.

Potts, 1952: his papers and thesis on the Potts model partition function.

Zykov's early work on related polynomials, 1949 and 1964.

Further generalizations, abstractions, interpretations of evaluations, and links to other fields, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Unexpectedly early appearances of many graph polynomial properties.