News from the Archives, Fall 2021
The move from summer to autumn has been a busy and chaotic time for the archives at CBI! Onsite researchers at Andersen Library have begun to return and, while we still remain open on an appointment-only basis, our slots are rapidly filling up. In addition to more onsite researchers, I’ve begun teaching classes again in-person, integrating with graduate seminars, honors project work, and undergraduate history courses. Perhaps in the most exciting news, we now have student workers onsite in the archives - two new students have elected to work in CBIA and I’m thrilled to have the company again!
Research in Focus
Since May 2021, we’ve welcomed onsite researchers largely from the local community interested in aspects of the Control Data Corporation records (CBI 80) as well as several individuals visiting from Penn, Harvard, and CalTech. We will begin hosting international researchers again and have already scheduled appointments with historians from Germany, the Netherlands, and Israel. Along with the uptick in in-person researchers, we continue to provide no-low-cost scans from our collections to support remote historical research. Topics of interest include computer animation, magnetic drum storage units, early tech user groups, PLATO and computers in educational settings, and the history of the General Electric Computer Science 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), 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
One of the aspects of archival work that slowed considerably during the pandemic and onsite restrictions was collection processing. Now that we have two new student workers back onsite, plus myself, we’re able to address the backlog that built up over the last eighteen months. One of these projects that we’re able to take back up is a major reprocessing effort to the Control Data Corporation records. As many researchers know, the collection is currently split across numerous finding aids and is incredibly arduous to search - despite the challenges, however, it is one of our most often used collections. Student workers are currently working to merge the finding aids into one master guide, as well as re-house the collection into consistent, acid-free boxes. I’m delighted with the progress so far as we will be able to streamline access to this important and valuable collection, as well as create shelving space once the materials are housed appropriately.
Amanda Wick, Curator