Scope and Contents
The Herb Grosch Papers, 1948-1998, cover the life and career of an early computer professional. It consists of correspondence, clippings, photographs, computer disks, reports, and other printed materials. The collection is approximately 5 cubic feet and is divided into six series: Series 1, Personal Materials, 1938-1998; Series 2, General Electric (GE), 1955-1968, 1993-1995; Series 3, Control Data Corporation, 1961-1966; Series 4, Other Employment, 1945-1997; Series 5, Professional Interests, 1954-1993; and Series 6, Computer History, 1945-1996. The largest and most comprehensive series within the collection focuses on Grosch's employment, in various capacities, by General Electric. The Control Data material is of special interest due to its in-depth studies of the European computer market in the early 1960s.
Series 1, Personal Materials, 1938-1998, illustrates Grosch's personal life and consists of biographical sketches, identification and business cards, vaccination certificates, daily planners/diaries, flight logs, diplomas, a dissertation, correspondence, articles by and about him, photographs, and the manuscript of his autobiography,
Bit Slices of a Life.
The manuscript is of special interest, in that it is a description of Grosch's life up to the 1960s. Also providing personal descriptions of Grosch's life is an extensive chronology of employment written by Grosch. The bulk of the materials date from the mid 1950s through the mid 1960s, with another smaller concentration of correspondence in the early 1990s.
Series 2, General Electric (GE), 1953-1968, 1993-1995, contains correspondence, clippings, photographs and printed materials related to Grosch's two tenures at GE. The series is divided into four subseries: General GE Materials, GE's Evandale plant, GE's Computer Department at Arizona State University, and GE's TEMPO think tank in Santa Barbara. The subseries about the Evandale plant and the Arizona Computer Department are most comprehensive, describing the projects from their inception until Grosch's departure. Also of interest to those studying GE history is the collection of letters between Grosch and his Arizona boss, H.R. Oldfield, discussing Oldfield's book about GE and its failure in the computer business.
Series 3, Control Data Corporation, 1961-1966, contains correspondence, reports and printed materials covering Grosch's consulting work with Control Data. The bulk of the material has to do with a survey of the European computer industry and market, undertaken by Grosch for Control Data. Included are over forty reports that Grosch composed from plant visits he made to various European computer companies. Also included is the overall summary of these individual reports.
Series 4, Other Employment, 1945-1994, contains correspondence, printed materials, clippings and photographs related to other employment pursued by Grosch. The series covers Grosch's work at IBM, the Corporation for Economic and Industrial Research (CEIR), and his editorial reign at Computerworld magazine. Of interest to IBM researchers are the photos of early IBM gatherings at Endicott, New York and early IBM machines at the Watson Scientific Computer Laboratory.
Series 5, Professional Interests, 1954-1996, consists of articles and other printed materials related to Grosch's scientific and technical interests. The majority of the series deals with Grosch's interest in computers, their applications and their effects upon society. A smaller set of material relates to other Grosch interests, notably astronomy and scientific standards.
Series 6, Computer History, 1949-1996, consists of clippings, reports, and correspondence illustrating Grosch's interest in the history of computing. Of special interest is a report from U.S. Department of Commerce that lists the technical specifications of a number of old computers. Also, in addition to many more famous computing pioneers, Grosch collected information on English mathematician, L.J. Comrie, including a biographical sketch, photographs and correspondence carried on with Comrie's widow and son.