Set of Documents Relating to a 1958 High School Course in Computers, with Punch Cards


These materials come from an advanced placement senior-level mathematics course taught at Concord High School in Concord, Massachusetts, in the spring of 1958. The teacher, Norton A. Levy, used notes provided by Rollin P. Mayer and Alexander Vanderburgh, Jr., who had associations with Lincoln Laboratories of MIT. The materials were collected and donated by one of the students who took the course, Edward N. (Nicky) Chase. Approximately 102 pages and eight punch cards are included.

Most of the pages are loose paper although some were stapled together. Most are of letter size while some are smaller. Included are a syllabus, notes taken by the user covering a history of computers and computer programming, classroom worksheets and notes, assignments, and tests. One computer discussed is the IBM 704.

All the punch cards are in the eighty-column IBM style. One is punched with standard holes for digits, letters of the alphabet, and a few symbols. A mark on the right edge reads: IBM 5081. A second, unpunched card is pink along the top edge. It is marked on the right edge: UAC BINARY CARD #4. It is marked along the bottom: IBM898443. Five punched cards are in an envelope. Four of these are yellow along the top edge and marked along the right edge: UA SAP CARD #1. They are marked along the bottom edge: IBM884391. The fifth of these cards is green along the top edge and marked along the right edge: IBM893099 704 BINARY CARD. The last card, also an IBM 5081, has a series of numbers and letters written in pencil across the top twenty-five columns. The spaces that would need to be punched to indicate these symbols are outlined in green.

The course included a visit to Lincoln Laboratories with a demonstration of a rocket trajectory plotted by computer. The donor went on to take courses in computers as an undergraduate and moved on to a career in computer graphics. He reports “That’s when I realized that the 1958 demo really was a big deal.”

Date Made: 1958

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Massachusetts, Concord

Subject: Education


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers, Computers & Business Machines


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Edward N. Chase

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2015.3072.01Catalog Number: 2015.3072.01Nonaccession Number: 2015.3072

Object Name: documents, set of

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: folder: 11 in x 8 1/2 in x 1/4 in; 27.94 cm x 21.59 cm x .635 cm


Record Id: nmah_1761120

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