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The majority of the Archives Department's public reference requests can be answered using material in these files, which may be accessed through the Reading Room at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. More specific information can be requested by contacting the Archives Research Request.
Papers and photographs of Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) computer and Naval pioneer.
Scope and Contents:
The material includes technical notes, operating instructions and descriptions relating to projects which Hopper participated in at Harvard during and after World War II and later in the private sector. These projects involved the creation of the Navy's Mark I, II and III "mechanical calculators" (the fore runners of today's computers) and the UNIVAC and ENIAC civilian models. The photographs document both equipment and Hopper with her colleagues at work and on social occasions. There are numerous published articles and memoranda by Hopper and others on various technical aspects of computers. Clippings of newspaper and magazine articles relating to computers and their development are also included, as well as periodicals and brochures. A "humor file" contains jokes and anecdotes collected by Hopper.
Much of the material is annotated by Hopper, primarily through notations on 3 x 5 white slips of paper. Some of the annotations by Elizabeth Luebbert, who served as a summer research assistant in the Museum's Computer History Project.
The collection is divided into eleven series.
Series 1: Technical Documents, 1944-1949
Series 2: Photographs of Mark II, 1948
Series 3: Photographs at Harvard, 1944-1945
Series 4: Reports and Articles, 1946-1948
Series 5: Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, 1949-1965
Series 6: Compiling Routines, 1952-1954
Series 7: Press Clippings, 1944-1953
Series 8: Periodicals and Brochures, 1950-1953
Series 9: Humor file, 1944-1953
Series 10: Machine Tape, undated
Series 11: Audiovisual Materials, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) obtained her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in 1934. She was an associate professor of mathematics at Vassar College
when she joined the Women's Reserve of the United States Navy, Women Accepted
for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in 1944 and was assigned to the computing project at Harvard University. She served under Commander Howard H. Aiken as a Wave until 1946, and remained at Harvard's Computation Laboratory as a research fellow until 1949. In that year she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a senior mathematician. When Eckert-Mauchly became a division of Remington Rand, Hopper remained as senior programmer, a title she retained until 1959. Subsequently, she served as systems engineer and director of automatic programming development (1959-1964) and staff scientist in systems programming (1964-1971) for the UNIVAC division of Sperry Rand Corporation. Hopper retired from UNIVAC in 1972, having returned to active service in the U.S. Navy from which she eventually retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.
Materials at the Archives Center
Computer Oral History Collection (AC0196)
This collection contains five oral history interviews with Grace Murray Hopper conducted on: July 1, 1968;
November 1, 1968; January 7, 1969; February 4, 1969; and July 5, 1972.
Grace Murray Hopper donated her materials to the National Museum of American History, Section of Mathematics in 1967 and 1968. The majority of the collection was donated through the Museum's Computer Oral History Project in 1972.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.