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(2.5 cubic feet: 6 DB; 1 oversize folder)

by: Don Darroch & Robert S. Harding, May 1990; revised Alison L. Oswald, 2001


Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) obtained her Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University in 1934. She was an associate professor of mathematics at Vassar College when she joined the Women's Reserve of the United States Navy, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in 1944 and was assigned to the computing project at Harvard University. She served under Commander Howard H. Aiken as a Wave until 1946, and remained at Harvard's Computation Laboratory as a research fellow until 1949. In that year she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a senior mathematician. When Eckert-Mauchly became a division of Remington Rand, Hopper remained as senior programmer, a title she retained until 1959. Subsequently, she served as systems engineer and director of automatic programming development (1959-1964) and staff scientist in systems programming (1964-1971) for the UNIVAC division of Sperry Rand Corporation. Hopper retired from UNIVAC in 1972, having returned to active service in the U.S. Navy from which she eventually retired with the rank of Rear Admiral.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into ten series: Series 1: Technical Documents, 1944-1949; Series 2: Photographs of the Mark II, 1948; Series 3: Photographs At Harvard, 1944-1945; Series 4: Reports and Articles, 1946-1948; Series 5: Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, 1949-1965; Series 6: Compiling Routines, 1952-1954; Series 7: Press Clippings, 1944-1953; Series 8: Periodicals and Brochures, 1950-1953; Series 9: Humor File, 1944-1953; and Series 10: Machine Tape, n.d.

Much of the material is annotated by Hopper, primarily through notations on 3 x 5 white slips of paper. Some of the annotations are by Elizabeth Luebbert, who served as a summer research assistant in the Museum's Computer History Project.

The material includes technical notes, operating instructions and descriptions relating to projects which Hopper participated in at Harvard during and after World War II and later in the private sector. These projects involved the creation of the Navy's Mark I, II and III "mechanical calculators" (the fore runners of today's computers) and the UNIVAC and ENIAC civilian models. The photographs document both equipment and Hopper with her colleagues at work and on social occasions. There are numerous published articles and memoranda by Hopper and others on various technical aspects of computers. Clippings of newspaper and magazine articles relating to computers and their development are also included, as well as periodicals and brochures. A "humor file" contains jokes and anecdotes collected by Hopper.


Grace Murray Hopper donated her materials to the National Museum of American History, Section of Mathematics in 1967 and 1968. The majority of the collection was donated through the Museum's Computer Oral History Project in 1972. The collection was transferred to the Archives Center on February 6, 1989.

Related Collection

The Computer Oral History Collection (AC #196) includes five oral history interviews with Grace Murray Hopper.

Container List

Box Folder
1 1 Mark I plugging manual
  2 Reprints of "The Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator" by Aiken and Hopper, I and II.
  3 -IBM pamphlet, IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator.

Program for A Symposium of Large Scale Digital Calculating Machinery, 7-10 January 1947. (4 copies)

-Program for A Symposium on Large-Scale Digital Calculating Machinery, 13-16 September 1949.
-Tables of constants for the Mark I.

I Random sequences of digits

II Random sequences of angles 000 to 360

III Random normal deviates in units of standard errors

IV Binomial distribution function

V Normal distribution function

Poisson distribution

Tables of one over factorial (1/1 to 1/20)

Powers of ten (0.1 to 0.9)

Constants (pi, square roots, logs, etc.)

Reciprocals of numbers 1-99

N factorial 1-12

Log n factorial 1-100

Powers of two 1-70

Graph of trials of approximation
Coding card (code 1-8431, noting switches, counters, description, etc. all on one card, two sheets of paper on cardboard, covered with plastic)
Duty officers, 23 April to 10 June, 1945
Postcard from Newfoundland to "Computation Laboratory, Harvard University" date 13 Nov. 46 signature Howard Aiken on way to UNESCO; see Comrie Letters IBM P.6
Operating Instructions for Problem J., typewritten by H.A. Arnold.
Watch schedule for Mark I when it was running, Problem L.

4 Nov. 45 - 1 March 46, Problem L File.

  3 Staff List--Departments of Physics, Engineering Sciences, and Applied Physics, 30 July 1947.
Interpolator tape reciprocals (1/21 to 1/30, 1/51 to 1/70).
  O/S Folder. 1 Diagram of Mark I circuitry by Hopper, 1945
1 4 Timing Diagram: Cams and relays involved in number transfer and schematic diagrams showing timing and principal control channels of Mark I, n.d.

Schematic diagram: Number transfer circuits Mark I Diagram , n.d.

Multiplication Plugging diagram

see also: Aiken and Hopper "The Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator--III", Figure 6.

  5 Formulas and coding for Problem G on the Mark I.
  6 Successive Differences, n.d.
7 Photographs of blueprint drawings, contain all of the circuits of Mark I, 1946

5/6/46 EHM Normal Storage Counter and Automatic Check Counter (2 copies)

5/17/46 EHM Switches, Independent Variable Switch and Special Storage Counters (2 copies)

5/28/46 EHM Counter Employed in Logarithm Unit

6/8/46 EHM Sequence-Start, Repeat, Stop-Cascade Relays - C Codes

6/11/46 EHM Multiplicand - Divisor Counter (Doubling)

(2 copies)

6/19/46 CMC Sequence-Cascade Relays - B Codes Part I

  7 Photographs of blueprint drawings, contain all of the circuits of Mark I, 1946-1947

6/21/46 CMC Sequence-Cascade Relays - B Codes Part II

6/24/46 EHM Dividend Counter

6/25/46 CMC Sequence-Cascade Relays - A Codes Part II

7/3/46 CMC Sequence-Cascade Relays - A Codes Part I

7/24/46 CMC Intermediate Counter - Sign Circuits

7/25/46 EHM Multiply, Divide Relay Panel (2 copies)

8/10/46 EHM Exponential Unit (2 copies)

8/13/46 CMC Product-Quotient and Quotient-Shift Counters

8/20/46 EHM Sine Unit - Sequencing (2 copies)

8/24/46 CMC Logarithm Unit - Control Circuits

8/31/46 EHM Sine In-Out Counter

9/4/46 CMC Multiply-Divide Sequencing Part I - Sequence Counter

9/26/46 MFF Multiplier and Multiplicand-Divisor (Single) Counters

11/8/46 MFF Tape Punch and Tape Register

12/5/46 MFF Sequence Readout Lights and Normalizing Register

1/14/47 MFF Print Counter and Typewriters

Photographs of blueprint drawings, contain all of the circuits of Mark I (continued):

1/30/47 MFF Functional Relay Panel

3/21/47 LCK Interpolators - Counters and Switches

4/21/47 LCK Interpolators - Sequencing and Tape Reading

5/9/47 MFF Card Feeds and Punch

  8 PROBLEM L by Grace Hopper unlined paper, two holes at top personnel who worked on different aspects of getting Problem L to run
  9 Operating Instructions for Problem L includes: Operating Instructions, Plugging Instructions, 2 Plugging Diagrams, Figure I - graph of values over which tapes run, Table I - table to check off values as computed from Grace Hopper's scrapbook.

Operating Instructions Problem L folder on operator's desk contents include:

(1) Problem L Operating Instructions marked in green pencil "First Set of Op. Inst." First two pages same as in GMH scrapbook with penciled corrections; third page is graph similar but not same as Figure I above; fourth page is similar to Table I above, also fifth page; sixth page is Plugging Instructions as above with red pencil changes; seventh page, Additional Operating Instructions with pencil changes.
Operating Instructions for Problem L includes: Operating Instructions, Plugging Instructions, 2 Plugging Diagrams, Figure I - graph of values over which tapes run, Table I - table to check off values as computed from Grace Hopper's scrapbook.

Operating Instructions Problem L folder on operator's desk contents include:

2) Problem L Operating Instructions 22 December 1944

Pages 1-2 Operating instructions

3 Test Point for Tables R4X, R4A, R4C, R4CZ, R4B

4 Note on Wronskion on graph paper, pencil doodles

5 Operating Instructions, cont.

6 Directions for Testing

7-9 Test Tapes for Problem L: Storage Counters

(back of p. 7 Sample Run Rolling and Reset Test)

10 Test Tapes for Problem L: Multiplication

(back of p. 10 Sample run Multiply Test)

11-12 Test Tapes for Problem L: Interpolator #3

13 Plugging Diagram

(3) Determination of Which Machine Function is Causing Trouble, a debugging note to the operators

page 1 Instructions

2 Counter Diagram: Primed Quantities

3 Counter Diagram: Unprimed Quantities

(4) Graph similar to Figure I above

Table similar to Table I above

  10 Problem L Coding a first draft by Hopper
  11 Problem L Coding a second draft by Hopper
  12 Problem L Coding final draft by Hopper
  13 Calculation of the functions h1(z), h1(z), h2(z), H2(z). by Hopper; Part II: Method of Computation of the Functions in Hankel Functions book (Volume 2: Comp Lab Annals) pp. xxx-xxxi, a preliminary version
  14 Problem L Report of the development of the coding for Problem L (?) by Hopper
  15 Tables of the Modified Hankel Functions of Order One-Third and of Their Derivatives; by the Staff of the Computation Laboratory Volume 2 of the Annals of the Computation Laboratory xerox copy of title page through page 3 this is the result of Problem L
  16 Invitation to Lieutenant Grace M. Hopper "to attend the Formal Acceptance Ceremonies of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator" Monday, August 7, 1944, The Faculty Room of University Hall
  17 Invitation to LT. Hopper from Harold M. Westergaard, Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering "to attend an informal luncheon to be held... at one o'clock at the Harvard Faculty Club... before the ceremonies of formal acceptance of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator."; place card lettered "Lt. Hopper" attached
  18 Invitation to Dr. Grace Hopper: "President Conant requests the honor of your presence at luncheon in the Warburg Room of the Fogg Museum of Art on Tuesday, January the seventh at twelve-fifteen o'clock on the occasion of the Opening of The Computation Laboratory"; RSVP to Prof. Aiken, also envelope
  19 Letter to Hopper from C.B. Tompkins, 21 January 1947.

Retained by mathematics in envelope written by Hopper.

Badge of Grace Hopper: 2 in blue metal circle Cruft Laboratory, Harvard University, Staff No. 62

Arm Patch, Navy: navy blue field, White eagle, I in diamond, red stripe rating class: Specialist I, third class.

  20 Request from Lt. (jg) Grace Murray HOPPER, USNR, WR (379475) to Officer-in Charge, BuShips, Computation Project (Howard Aiken) 18 April 1945 request to wear dress uniform as bridesmaid.
  21 Work schedule Mark I, 1945-1946
  22 Operating instructions, Problem L, n.d
  23 Coding sheets & directory, Mark I, 1947
  24 Mark I Manual, notes on coding, 1947
  25 Envelopes used by Navy Project at Harvard.
2 1 Proposed Automatic Calculator for Dahlgren Proving Ground, by Howard H. Aiken, Comdr. USNR, Officer in Charge, and Robert V.D. Campbell, Ensign, USNR Report No. 13, Bureau of Ships Computation Project Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 1944.
  2 Mark II coding sheets (1) Problem Sheet PRNC-NPG-68 (Rev. 12-49) Navy-DPPO PRNC, WASH., D.C. (4 copies) could do 30 lines of coding (2) an earlier version of the coding sheet (1 copy) could do 60 lines of coding
  3 Layout of Mark II Original blueprint drawing by L.C.K. July 1, 1946
  4 Description of a Relay Calculator [Mark II Manual] by the Staff of the Computation Laboratory; Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1949, Volume XXIV of the Annals of the Computation Laboratory.
  5 Mark III: Number transfer circuits
  6 Mark II Manual
  7 (1) AA 964 General View of the Calculator Frontispiece
(2) AA 965 Main Control Board and Wings
(3) Floor Plan of the Calculator
(4) AA 955 Operator's Table and Printers
(5) AA 1000 Cam Unit
(6) 8 January 1948 Tape Preparation Table
(7) March 1948 Relays: latch type below
(8) Cam Unit: details of cam-controlled
(9) Cam Unit: rear view showing arc suppression circuits and drive motor
(10) 8 January 1948 Control Panel: detail showing read-out lights
  8 (11) Sequence Mechanism and Roller Panel
(12) 8 January 1948 Switches: left side of calculator [constants]
(13) Interpolators
(14) 8 January 1948 Functional Tape Preparation Unit
(15) 8 January 1948 Tape Reading and Tape Punching Mechanisms
(16) 8 January 1948 Control Tape Preparation Unit
(17) Sequence Mechanism: detail showing sensing pins and control tape
(18) Main Control Board: rear view showing sequence mechanisms
(19) Interior of Relay Cubicle
(20) Sequence Mechanism
  9 (21) Sequence Mechanism: interior view
(22) Operating Panel
(23) 8 January 1948 Test Panels A & B
(24) Left Wing of Calculator: Interpolator Mechanisms
(25) Interpolator Mechanisms: rear view
(26) Front Panel of Interpolator Mechanism
(27) Interpolator Mechanism: interior view
(28) Detail of Tape-Reader and Tape-Punch
(29) Printer: interior view showing vanes
(30) Right wing of Calculator: tape-readers and tape-punches
  10 (31) Lower Portion of Main Control Panel
(32) Relay Bank and Rotary Switch
(33) Switches on Operator's Table (more photographs, not in Mark II Manual)
(34) Tape Reader and Tape Punch
(35) Interpolator Mechanism
(36) Relays
(37) Cam Unit: rear view showing arc suppression and drive motor
(38) Main Control Panel
(39) Test Program Panel
(40) View of the Calculator
  11 (41) Front View of Main Control Board, under construction from the left
(42) Front View of Main Control Board, under construction, from the right
(43) 18 February 1948 Packing Mark II for move to Dahlgren
(44) 20 February 1948 Crates on truck at Harvard, ready to go to Dahlgren
3 1 (1) Campbell with typewriter 10 April 1944
(2) Aiken watching typewriter output 10 April 1944
(3) Livingston and Campbell setting constant switches no later than August 1944.
(4) Cmdr. Aiken and Lt. Hopper looking at interpolator, no later than August 1944.
(5) Grace Hopper upon graduation from Midshipman's School 27 June 1944
(6) Staff Portrait, at the time of the dedication, August 1944 top: Hawkins, Livingston, Knowlton, Bissell, Wheatland; middle: Bloch, Arnold, Aiken, Hopper, Campbell; bottom: Calvin, White, Verdonck
(7) Staff Portrait, at the time of the dedication, August 1944 top: Bissell, Calvin, Verdonck, Livingston, White; bottom: Bloch, Arnold, Aiken, Hopper, Campbell.
(8) Lt. Arnold and Lt. Hopper outside Cruft Laboratory, 1944 or 1945
(9) Bissell, Lt. Hopper, Verdonck same spot outside Cruft 1944 or 1945.
(10) Bissell outside someone's back door, 1944 or 1945; (2 copies)
(11) Lt. Hopper in dress whites in front of ivy covered wall, 1944 or 1945.
(12) Lt. Hopper and Spec. White examining sequence mechanism, pre-August 1944; also clipping of same form: Harvard Crimson Service News, 8 August 1944.
(13) View of the Mark I, light up, from storage counters toward printers, with Bloch looking at printer output; pre-August 1944: also clipping of same, Harvard Service News, 8 August 1944.
(14) Navy Specialists Operators of the Mark I, in front of the Mark I. L to R: White, Livingston, Calvin, Bissell, August 1944.
(15) Calvin looking at typewriter and output, 1944.
(16) Parts of the Mark I. Cam, Relay, and Counter, early 1944.
(17) Mark I from constant switches towards typewriters, about 1944.
(18) Mark I composite photo straight on, 1944 or 1945.
(19) Mark I from typewriters toward constant switches, 1944 or 1945.
(20) Mark I from constant switches towards typewriters, 1944 or 1945. MISSING
  2 (21) Livingston in front of a house, 1944 or 1945.
(22) Calvin and Bissell in back of a house, 1944 or 1945.
(23) White, seated in chair, looking at book, 1944 or 1945.
(24) Livingston operating tape punch, 1944 or 1945.
(25) Calvin, in back of a house, 1944 or 1945.
(26) Four scenes of winter of 1945 along Massachusetts Avenue near Cruft Laboratory.
(27) Lt. Hopper standing behind a car parked near Cruft Lab, 1945 to 1947 (?)
(28) Grace Hopper walking across the yard near Cruft Lab (1945 to 1949 (?)
(29) Bob Campbell at table in Cruft Lab , pre-1947 (2 copies).
  3 (30) Cheers!" L to R: Bloch at piano, Aiken, Hopper, Brendel, Campbell (4 copies).
(31) Hopper and Campbell in front of fireplace with microphone
(32) Campbell with apron on, drinking
(33) Campbell, with apron on, at microphone
(34) View of the party L to R: Hopper (partially obscured), Campbell, Priscilla (Bloch's 1st wife), Bloch, ?
(35) Wheatland and Bissell in the kitchen pouring drinks
(36) Aiken, Campbell and ? in front of bus by baseball diamond
(37) Watching the ball game from the sidelines L to R: Livingston, White, Calvin, Aiken stretched out
(38) Watching the ball game, Aiken from the other side with some wives on the bench
(39) The ball game; Hawkins the catcher, Mrs. Campbell(?) at bat, Livingston and ? with wives as spectators
(40) The ball game: Hawkins as catcher, White at bat
(41) Aiken chopping wood for a fire
(42) Lt. (J.G.) Lish Bailey and Gary Huntsberger beside a tree
(43) Eating around the campfire Huntsberger on log, White standing behind fire
(44) Down the path Aiken in khaki, Hopper towing little red wagon
(45) To launch the canoes or go in swimming? L to R: Ruth Knowlton in dark bathing suit Verdonck, Aiken, Hopper in light bathing suit, Lt. from Dahlgren
(46) Bus parked in backyard of Grace Hopper's parents country home in New Hampshire ? furthest right, Aiken bending
(47) Bus parked in backyard of Hopper's parents country home in New Hampshire. Mr. and Mrs. Murray (her parents) are the two furthest right sitting in chairs
(48) Setting off on the bus at Harvard, L to R: Bloch, Aiken, Calvin (?), Lt. from Dahlgren, Arnold, Campbell, Bissell
    (49) Preparing to board the bus at Harvard L to R: Aiken, Bloch, Arnold, Campbell, Lt. from Dahlgren, Calvin, Bissell
(50) The Iceman Cometh, getting ice before the trip L to R: Hawkins, Campbell, Bloch, Livingston, Aiken, Iceman, Bissell
(51) Another iceman picture L to R: Hawkins, Bloch, Livingston, Aiken, iceman
(52) A rest stop on the trip L to R: Aiken, Calvin, Bissell and Bloch after each other, Campbell holding his wife's arm, Arnold looking on, Livingston beside Campbell, Lt. from Dahlgren by door of bus, White on other side of door, Hopper in doorway
(53) A rest stop on the trip (same house as above picture) L to R: Hopper at door of bus accepting liquid refreshment from Bissell by driver's seat
  4 (54) Steeple of Harvard's Memorial Church in the Harvard Yard as seen from the science buildings
(55) Basement of Cruft Lab, 9 September 1945
(56) Working on the blueprints for the Mark II 27 September 1945; L to R: Aiken, Campbell, Miller, ? , Wilkins
(57) In the machine shop 27 September 1945. L to R: Porter, ? , Hourihan, Huntsberger
(58) Working on the plugging of the Mark II, 1946. L: Roche R: Hawkins
(59) Working on the plugging of the Mark II, 1946. L to R: Hourihan, Huntsberger, Roche, Hawkins
(60) Working on the plugging and backboard wiring of the Mark II, 5 June 1946
(61) Working on the plugging and backboard wiring of the Mark II 5 June 1946. Chief Porter, White shirt
(62) Ensign Brendel with the sequence mechanism, 1945 or 1946
(63) Ensign Brendel at desk with coding chart on wall behind, 1945 or 1946
(64) Looking through the plastic cover to Mark I printers L to R; Campbell (in the shadow), Livingston, White, pre-1947
(65) Working on the plugging for the Mark II. L to R: Hawkins going at the machine, Burns with pencil behind ear, Roche looking on, Bloch sitting with wiring diagram, 20 September 1946
(66) One of the Specialists and his wife (?) about 1945 or 1946 in folder marked "The LATIN QUARTER, Winchester Street, Boston, Mass." taken by Club Photo Service, Winchester St. Boston 16, Mass. Tel., Hancock 2859
(67) Envelope from Winthrop Foster, Northampton's Camera Store with order for prints made from negatives for Mitchell, Hotel 206
(68) Plan for the Basement of the Computation Laboratory
(69) Construction of the Computation Laboratory basement complete, putting up walls around the outside, also girders to support floor of computer room. Note: wet concrete in left corner of picture
(70) Construction of the Computation Laboratory basement complete, walls built up higher than previous picture, frames being laid for pouring the first floor, area is better policed; the wet concrete is dry
(71) Aiken between two men on the loading platform of the nearly complete Computation Laboratory, October 1946
(72) Beginning to move the Mark I to its new home in the Computation Laboratory L to R: Lucchini wielding hammer, Pizzano and Roche holding A-frame, Burns standing
(73) The Computation Lab as it stood complete Fall, 1946
(74) Lt. Hopper seen at her desk in the Computation Laboratory; glass shelves with early calculating machines seen in background, 1947
  5 (75) Wheatland (?) looking through glass shelves with calculating machines to Campbell and Bloch sitting at their desks (Bloch looking toward camera), 1947. Computation Laboratory
  6 (76) Drawing of interpolator tape with various values. Photograph of this is Neg. # AA-443 March 27, 1946; the values ARG 0.32 to ARG 0.31 are seen like this in the Mark I Manual, Fig. 14
(77) Richard P. Babbage, Charles Babbage's grandson, showing parts of the difference engine to Aiken, December, 1946; also seen in the Christian Science Monitor, 9 January 1947 ("Britain's First Mathematical Engine.Ó)
(78) Cmdr. Aiken and Lt. Hopper with parts of the difference engine; Christian Science Monitor picture seen in the Christian Science Monitor 20 March 1946, 1st page of second section
(79) Official portrait of Aiken, sitting holding a book, 15 February 1946
(80) At the dedication of the Computation Laboratory L to R: Rear Admiral W.D. Baker, Commander of the U.S. Naval Base in Boston; Grace Hopper; Capt. A.M. Van Eaton, wartime commander of Fargo Barracks in Boston similar, but not the same picture published in the Christian Science Monitor Tuesday, 7 January 1947.
(81) Showing off the Mark II, 1947. L to R: Woltmann, explaining the tape reader; Admiral Deyo, Commandant, First Naval District; Capt. C.C. Bramble; Admiral C.T. Joy, Director, Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Va.; Aiken, Reynolds
(82) Aiken showing the tape punches and readers to Rear Admiral C.T. Joy, Director, Naval Proving Ground, Dahlgren, Va., 1947
(83) Lt. Commander Joseph O. Harrison, Jr., going over diagrams for the Mark III (?)
(84) Peter Lindley with pipe and slide rule
(85) Mark III tape reader
(86) Unidentified man, n.d.

Go To Series 4 thru 7


Revised: May 25, 2007