[SIGCIS-Members] Death of Evelyn Berezin

Matthew Kirschenbaum mkirschenbaum at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 18:42:34 PST 2018


Evelyn Berezin---software programmer, entrepreneur, and creator of the
Redactron word processor line---has died. NYT obituary:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/obituaries/evelyn-berezin-dead.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Obituaries

While SIGCIS understands that headlines declaring the "first true word
processor" are always going to be debatable, the Redactron (née "Data
Secretary") was an important early competitor to IBM's better-known
products, aided by what was, at the time, a daring advertising campaign in
the pages of Ms. Magazine. It was one of the very first commercial products
to use integrated circuits, and was arguably more a general purpose
computer than a word processor.

In *Track Changes*, where I tell her story at more length, I wrote that
Evelyn Berezin "remains a relatively unknown and underappreciated figure,
with nowhere near the stature of other women who played significant roles
in computer science science and the computer industry and have since been
recognized by historians."

(The only novelist I identified as using a Redactron product was Robyn
Carr. But perhaps there were others.)

Ms. Berezin was, I believe, in residence at the CHM several years ago, and
perhaps someone from there might comment further.

Best, Matt


-- 
Matthew Kirschenbaum
Professor of English and Digital Studies
Director, Graduate Certificate in Digital Studies
Printer's Devil, BookLab
University of Maryland
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