OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH: DIGITAL COMPUTER NEWSLETTER. SMITH, ALBERT E., A.J. NEUMANN, et al, eds. Digital Computer Newsletter. [Washington]: Office of Naval Research, Mathematical Sciences Division, April 21, 1949 - July, 1961 & July 1962.
Lot 174
OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH: DIGITAL COMPUTER NEWSLETTER.
SMITH, ALBERT E., A.J. NEUMANN, et al, eds.
Digital Computer Newsletter. [Washington]: Office of Naval Research, Mathematical Sciences Division, April 21, 1949 - July, 1961 & July 1962.
Sold for US$ 4,375 inc. premium

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Lot Details
OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH: DIGITAL COMPUTER NEWSLETTER.
SMITH, ALBERT E., A.J. NEUMANN, et al, eds. Digital Computer Newsletter. [Washington]: Office of Naval Research, Mathematical Sciences Division, April 21, 1949 - July, 1961 & July 1962.
48 issues: complete run from vol 1, no 1 to vol 13, no 3; plus vol 14, no 3; a duplicate vol 13, no 1/2; and vol 1, no 1 present in 2 formats. 4to. Stapled and hole-punched newsletters, from 4 to 50 pp each.
WITH: Mimeographed draft of April 1949 issue included cover circular.
Overall excellent condition, mimeographed issue a little worn.
Provenance: Office of Naval Research, Chicago (accession time-stamps, some correspondence included).

COMPLETE RUN OF THIS VERY EARLY AND RARE COMPUTING HARDWARE NEWSLETTER. It predates by almost 5 years the first issue of the Journal of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery).
The first issue is present here both in mimeographed draft with a circular letter by the first editor, Albert Smith, and as a regularly published newsletter. The first is time-stamped May 2, 1949 and the latter July 18, 1949.
Following World War II, the Office of Naval Research played a vital role in the development of high-speed digital computing. "ONR was the first to commit itself to the support of a wide range of basic research efforts, including several computer projects" (Stern From ENIAC to UNIVAC p 99). ONR funded Project Whirlwind at MIT, the Mark III at Harvard, and the IAS Computer at Princeton, as well as research in numerical analysis and Grace Hopper's work on automatic programming. Part of its mission was to disseminate information about the advances being made, which led to its support of conferences and seminars—beginning with the Moore School Lectures in 1946—and the publication of the present journal.
In the spring of 1949, Albert E. Smith of the ONR's "Computer Branch" circulated a draft Digital Computer Newsletter (included), stating that its purpose was "to provide a medium for the interchange, among interested persons, of information concerning recent developments in various digital computer projects." Mr. Smith added that, "If it is thought to be of sufficient interest, similar letters will be prepared at regular intervals." Publication of the Newsletter continued into the 1960s, and during its early years it was the only available source for the information it provided.
Articles in the Newsletter were short, often a paragraph or two, and informal – almost chatty. The first issue, in April 1949, covered 10 American systems in just 4 pages. Among other things, it discussed the installation of two "new panels" on the ENIAC and the resulting benefits; testing and current operating efficiency of the EDVAC; the ongoing construction of the IAS Computer at Princeton; the development schedule for the Navy's Mark III; and the status and plans for the Whirlwind I. By October 1953, vol 5, no 4, the Newsletter had grown to 18 pages and covered 24 computers, including JOHNNIAC, ILLIAC, RAYDAC, MIDAC, ORACLE and OARAC. It also reported on data processing and conversion equipment, computing services, computer courses and notices. Among the computer reports were details about the logistics of the move of the IAS Computer to its "permanent location in the computer building at the Institute," and news that the EDVAC had "broken all previous records of available weekly machine time for BRL machines" at 159.9 hours. Not in Origins of Cyberspace. EXTREMELY RARE.
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