[SIGCIS-Members] history of history of computing courses

Ceruzzi, Paul CeruzziP at si.edu
Tue Jan 30 06:15:00 PST 2018


Possibly one of the earliest courses on the history of computing was taught by Prof. Walter A. Sedelow, at the University of Kansas, ca. 1975-1976. http://www.kshs.org/archives/276982. I took the course, along with about five or six others, including Bernie Williams, whose article (co-authored with Bill Aspray) on “Arming American Scientists” is one of the most-cited of Annals papers. The course readings included Goldstine’s book (it had just appeared!), a collection of readings “Perspectives on the Computer Revolution” edited by Zenon W. Pylyshyn, and “Social Issues in Computing” by Kelly Gotlieb of the U. Toronto, whom some of you probably knew.

I wish I had my course notes, but they disappeared years ago. I do recall Prof. Sedelow lecturing at length about J.C.R. Licklider, BBN, and SDC—topics which were hardly common in the mid-1970s. It may be possible to find a record of the course in the University of Kansas archives.

BTW, Bernie wrote an excellent dissertation, “Computing with Electricity, 1935-1945,” which unfortunately was never published, but it is available through University Microfilms.

Paul Ceruzzi
ceruzzip at si.edu<mailto:ceruzzip at si.edu>
202-633-2414

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