Take the 2-minute tour ×
Programmers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am reading the epilogue of the Anniversary Edition of the Mythical Man Month. The author, Frederic Brooks, says

Still vivid in my mind is the wonder and delight with which I - then 13 years old - read the account of the August 7, 1944, dedication of the Harvard Mark I computer...

Which text is he referring to?

I want to be filled with wonder and delight too. Where can get hold of this text so that I can read it too?

share|improve this question
It's probably not a text, but an article in a newspaper or magazine, or perhaps the press release announcing it. At least, that's the impression I get from the quote you posted (and I don't have my copy of TMMM handy at the moment). –  Thomas Owens Nov 11 '11 at 15:22

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

J.A.N. Lee, Department of Computer Science, Virginia Tech. writes:

Preparing for the Monday, August 7, 1944, dedication, the Harvard News Office prepared a news release titled "World's Greatest Mathematical Calculator," followed by the bold, unqualified statement that "In charge of the activity . . . is the inventor, Commander Howard H. Aiken, USNR," who "worked out the theory which made the machine possible."

(emphasis mine)

Also a good read: Aug. 7, 1944: Still a Few Bugs in the System, on Wired. I can't find anything closer to the original text, the wikipedia entries on Mark I and Howard Aiken don't reference it.

Update #1: The original text seems to be on enotes.com, but you need to subscribe to access it.

Update #2: Brooks refers to the Harvard News Office press release he read on Time Magazine, as he writes on page 137 of Makin' numbers: Howard Aiken and the computer.

share|improve this answer
Its a shame its subscription only. Given that it was a press release its probably not copyrighted so hopefully there will be another copy kicking about on the web. Or I'll work out if the 'wonder and delight' is worth the hassle of $x per month. –  JW01 Nov 11 '11 at 15:38
You actually found someplace with the original press release. I was looking, but didn't see anything. +1, even though it's behind a registration wall. –  Thomas Owens Nov 11 '11 at 15:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.