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News from the Archives

Archival Momentum
Winter 2016-Spring 2017 has been an exciting time for the archives at CBI. We’ve had a slew of international researchers, a number of distinctive new donations, and pushed forward with several outreach efforts within the University of Minnesota and the local community. I’m delighted with the progress that has been made in making more collections available to our research community and look forward to this summer when our Norberg and Tomash fellows will be visiting!

Research in Focus
Since October 2016, we’ve welcomed international academics from Austria, Scotland, and Japan, as well as a variety of local and regional historians to our Reading Room in Andersen Library. In addition, we’ve assisted 20 researchers remotely. Topics of interest include computer animation and human movement, magnetic drum storage units, early tech user groups, software consulting services, PLATO and computers in educational settings, and the history of the General Electric Computer Division. Collections that our visitors have been accessing include the Lockheed Martin Records (CBI 238), Carl Machover Papers (CBI 206), Alias | Wavefront Records (CBI 255), Michael Mahoney Papers (CBI 213), James W. Cortada Papers (CBI 185), SHARE, Inc. Records (CBI 21), National Bureau of Standards Computing Literature Collection (CBI 32), Control Data Corporation Records (CBI 80), the Burroughs Corporation Records (CBI 90), Engineering Research Associates (ERA)-Remington Rand-Sperry Rand Records (CBI 176), and Gartner Group Records (CBI 228). A number of our published works have also been accessed after being located through the University of Minnesota catalog.

New Materials Available to Researchers
It has been a busy winter and early spring for CBI staff processing collections. In the past few months, staff members have processed seven new collections, creating finding aids to connect researchers to important records relating to computer programming languages, user and industry groups, security, software development, and computer graphics. These collections include:

Along with the new finding aids, we’ve also updated a series of existing ones following new accruals to long-standing collections. These collections include the Charles W. Bachman Papers (CBI 125), the Data Processing Management Association Records (CBI 88), the Russian, Soviet, and Eastern Bloc Computing Collection (CBI 148) – Peter Wolcott Papers, and the Engineering Research Associates (ERA)-Remington Rand-Sperry Rand Records (CBI 176) – Abraham Franck Papers.

In addition to the archival collection donations, CBI has also taken in an almost complete run of early Cryptologia periodicals, as well as two World War II-era field cryptography units. Books and periodicals also continue to be run through the University of Minnesota’s central cataloging division and we look forward to sharing with you two new Charles Babbage first editions, as well as a host of unique books and manuscripts that relate to our collection focus areas of social issues in computing and Cold War-era computing.

This summer, staff members will work to complete processing of two major collections that came in last year – the Computer Image Corporation Records and the Stephen J. Lukasik Papers. We hope to have finding aids for these collections by the publication of next Fall’s newsletter.

Outreach and Staff News
While collection management and research support have been top priority this year, I have also assisted two professors in class outreach activities – teaching three undergraduate course sessions on the use of primary source materials in research efforts, how to handle archival materials, and untangling the contested nature of the historical narrative through careful analysis of primary sources.

Publications are upcoming for CBI staff on the University of Minnesota Archives and Special Collections blog “Primary Sourcery” about trends in employee benefits and clubs at tech companies through the years and an “Archival Elements” newsletter article about CBI’s rich computer graphics collections. “Archival Elements” is the newsletter for the Society of American Archivists’ Science, Technology, and Health Care section.

Finally, on both a happy and sad note, we say good-bye to our long-time student worker AJ Gerick as he graduates this June. Congratulations and best of luck to AJ in all of his future endeavors!

Amanda Wick
Interim CBI Archivist and Curator

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