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Herman H. Goldstine Collection

Identifier: SC-008

Content Description

The Herman H. Goldstine Collection consists of correspondence, reports, mathematical tables, blue-prints, diagrams, legal records and exhibits, and printed materials relating to computer development. The bulk of the materials are from the years 1943 to 1948.

Series Description

Series I, CORRESPONDENCE: 1943-1971, contains correspondence addressed to, or sent by Herman H, Goldstine concerning ENIAC/EDVAC development, matters relating to patent applications, and publication of his book. There is also a large amount of material collected by him on the same subjects between two other parties. This is especially true for the years 1943 to 1947. Significant names include John Grist Brainerd, Paul N. Gillon, Arthur Burks, and Adele Katz Goldstine. Certain items in this series were used in the Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand anti-trust case of 1969 and can be identified by the Minnesota Court of Appeals deposition exhibit number. (Additional material collected by Dr. Goldstine for his appearance in the case may be found in Series V, LEGAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS: 1943-1969.)

Series II, TABLES: 1947-1948, contains order codes for ENIAC, sine-cosine integration tables, and digital computer tables used in the early development of electronic computers. Also included are important test procedures for ENIAC. The tables are mimeographs, xeroxes, typescripts and holographs which were gathered by Dr. Goldstine in connection with his work at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton. Undated material was grouped together with that of known date by Dr. Goldstine and is assumed from the same period.

Series III, LAYOUTS: 1943-1945, contains line drawings executed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering during the design of ENIAC. Each copy is dated and signed by the drawer. There are 122 separate blue-prints and diagrams of this first design.

Series IV, REPORTS: 1943-1948, contains copies of reports co-authored by Dr. Goldstine while at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering (November 30, 1945) and the Institute of Advanced Study (1947-1948) concerning the early development of electronic computing machines with which he was involved. This series also contains vouchers and correspondence used to report contract expenses incurred at the University of Pennsylvania to the Ordnance Department. (For the actual government contract and its supplements see LEGAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS: 1943-1971.) Also included are miscellaneous reports received by Dr. Goldstine at UPenn and Princeton.

Series V, LEGAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS: 1943-1971, contains mostly exhibits presented in the Honeywell--Sperry Rand anti-trust case of 1969 by Herman H. Goldstine, Paul N. Gillon, and Douglas R. Hartree. The exhibits relate mainly to the question of patents in the computer field, and as such follow the development of ENIAC and the roles of Dr. Goldstine and John von Neumann. A transcript of Dr. Goldstine's testimony is also included. In the series are copies of the government contract and its supplements under which ENIAC was developed.

Series VI, PRINTED MATERIAL: 1941-1970, contains off-prints, journals, and books on mathematics and computers. Dr. Goldstine's own publications are included. Most of the material was used in researching the book on computer developments.

This collection is organized into six series:

I. CORRESPONDENCE: 1943-1971 II. TABLES: 1947-1948 III. LAYOUTS: 1943-1945 IV. REPORTS: 1943-1948 V. LEGAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS: 1943-1971 VI. PRINTED MATERIAL: 1941-1970


  • 1941-1971
  • Majority of material found within 1943-1948


Herman H. Goldstine (b. Chicago, 1913- ), mathematician, was intimately involved in the design and development of the first electronic computers. Educated at the University of Chicago, he received his B.S. (1933), M.S. (1934), and Ph.D. (1936) in mathematics.

Upon entering the U.S. Army in 1942 he headed the Ordnance Department's substation located at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering. The research done there in connection with the Ordnance Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, led to the development of the first electronic digital computer, ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer), and the next one, EDVAC (electronic discrete variable computer).

As the world's first electronic digital computer, ENIAC led the computer field during the period 1949 through 1952. Originally the major instrument for the computation of all ballistic tables for the U.S. Army and Air Force, it surpassed all other existing computers in solving problems involving a large number of arithmetic operations. In addition to ballistics, the ENIAC's field of application eventually included weather prediction, atomic-energy calculations, cosmic-ray studies, thermal ignition, random number studies, wind-tunnel design, and other scientific uses. By 1955, however, ENIAC was no longer competitive from an economic point of view and its power was removed.

After leaving the Army in 1945 Dr. Goldstine joined the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University as an appointed member of the School of Mathematics in 1946. He collaborated with John von Neumann on the development of a computer built there as Assistant Project Director (1946-1955) and acting Project Director (1954-1957) of the electronic computer project.

In March of 1958 he joined IBM as a member of the Research Planning staff and became director of scientific development at the Data Processing Division. In December of 1967 he was appointed Consultant to the Director of Research.

In 1972 Dr. Goldstine published a book entitled The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann (Princeton University Press). Dr. Goldstine died in 2004.


6 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials



Herman H. Goldstine, mathematician, was intimately involved in the design and development of the first electronic computers. The collection includes materials produced or supervised by Dr. Goldstine, or collected by him for use in the preparation of his book on the history of computers.

Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Hampshire College Archives and Special Collections Repository