- Collection ID:
Bigelow, Elizabeth Merkelson
Princeton University. Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project
- Physical Description:
2 Cubic Feet
3 boxes, 1 folder
Correspondence, personal notes, articles, drawings, photographs, and published reports documenting the IAS Electronic Computer Project.
Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
Collection consists of correspondence, personal notes, articles, drawings, and published reports documenting the Institute for Advanced Study Electronic Computer Project, 1949-1956. The bulk of the documentation dates from 1949 to 1954. The Office of Naval Research contracted with IAS to study and document the operation and engineering improvements on the electronic computer at IAS from July 1, 1952 to June 30, 1953. An earlier report by IAS on a study contracted for by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps is also included. This study ended July 1, 1952 and the published report is in two volumes. Many of the drawings are in pencil and have no date, but there is one near complete set of blueprints for the Electronic Computer (drawings #1298 to #1072). Drawings range in size from 17" x 22" to 27" x 36". There is one folder of undated, black and white photographs that appear to document certain aspects of the Electronic Computer. The collection is arranged into five series: Series 1: Correspondence, Series 2: Chapter Drafts, Series 3: Notes and Drawings, Series 4: Photographs; and Series 5: Articles and Reports.
Divided into 5 series: 1) Correspondence; 2) Chapter Drafts; 3) Notes and Drawings; 4) Photographs; 5) Articles and Reports.
The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey is an independent, private institution dedicated to the encouragement, support, and patronage of learning through fundamental research and definitive scholarship across a wide range of fields. IAS was founded in 1930 by Louis Bamberger and Caroline Bamberger Fuld as a center for intellectual inquiry. During its existence, the institute has had in residence many of the most highly regarded thinkers of the twentieth century. Julian Bigelow joined the staff of IAS in April 1946 and worked on the Electronic Computer Project. The Electronic Computer Project was initiated in 1946 by John von Neumann, a mathematician who had been working on ballistics computations during World War II. Von Neumann used the first version of the Princeton computer to calculate the results of the thermonuclear reaction of the first H-bomb in 1950. The project was terminated following von Neumannn's death in 1957.
Collection processed by Don Darroch and Robert Harding, 2002.
Don Darroch and Robert S. Harding
Immediate Source of Acquisiton
Collection donated by Elizabeth Merkelson Bigelow and Julian H Bigelow on June 20, 2002.
Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Institute for Advanced Study Electronic Computer Drawings, 1949-1961, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Copyright transferred to Smithsonian Institution in Deed of Gift.
Materials in the Archives Center
Computer Oral History Collection, 1969-1973, 1977 (NMAH.AC.0196)
Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project Records, 1950-1957 (NMAH.AC.0401)
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012