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Walter L. Anderson Papers

Identifier: CBI 28

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains records from Walter L. Anderson's professional career involving Engineering Research Associates (ERA), General Kinetics Incorporated (GKI), General Accounting Office (GAO), and the Institute of Radio Engineers - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IRE-IEEE) organizations.

The collection begins with a Biography Files which includes Walter Anderson citation, award, news clipping, and interview records, as well ASM Chester Memorial Award documents and resumes.

The ERA material includes correspondence, diagrams, notes, memoranda, reports, and photographs relating to Engineering Research Associates and Remington Rand. It also includes records about design standards, contract administration, the Arlington facility and personnel, accelerometers, private line communication for air traffic control, an electronic counting distributor, and computer-related products.

The GKI material includes correspondence, administrative files, financial reports, management and planning records, marketing projects, product literature and manuals, as well as affiliated or subsidiary companies involved with GKI.

The GAO material includes divisional records, correspondence, administrative files, audit guides and supplemental information, the ADP Lecture Series transcripts, speech and presentation outlines, reports, publications, U.S. Government publications and resources, computer security and standards records, and multimedia stored records (slides, cassette tapes, 3.5" floppy disks).

The IRE-IEEE material includes records from before and after the organizations merged as well as committee documentation and group transaction publications.


  • 1942-1999

Language of Materials


Access to materials:

Access to the collection is unrestricted.


The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Biographical Note

Walter L. Anderson received his BEE (1944) and MSEE (1948) from the University of Minnesota. After serving in an airborne electronic unit with the U.S. Navy Reserve during World War II, Anderson became an electrical engineer with Engineering Research Associates (ERA) in 1946. Around 1949 Anderson transferred to the ERA Arlington VA office. At ERA, Anderson worked on circuit development for the ERA 1101, systems studies for computers using magnetic drum memories, development of the electrical playback unit for ERA Self-Recording Accelerometers.

With the slow reorganization and eventual elimination of the Arlington ERA division, Anderson and others from the collapsing plant collaborated and incorporated General Kinetics Inc. (GKI) in November 1954. GKI was a pioneer in the research, development, and design of magnetic tape testing and preventative maintenance equipment as well as a special electronics and mechanical device manufacturer. It served both industry and government, dealing extensively with the United States Navy. Mr. Anderson held multiple upper-management positions during his time at GKI, including President, Chief Operations Officer, and Board Chairman, as well as the Division head for the Tape Equipment and ALLO Product lines. Walter Anderson remained with GKI for 19 years, eventually leaving to pursue government opportunities.

Anderson later joined the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO). As Associate Director of the Financial and General Management Studies Division, Anderson initiated an automatic data processing lecture series to provide information for GAO personnel in 1975. This series of lectures included luminaries in the field of computing such as Grace Murray Hopper, Bruce Gilchrist, and consultant Frederick G. Wirthington. When Anderson retired from the federal government in 1990, he was the senior advisor to the director of the Information Management and Technology Division of the GAO.

Walter L. Anderson served on the National Administrative Committee and as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the IEEE organization during the early and mid-1960s. During his chairmanship the IRE Computer Group grew to 10,000 members, resulting in one of the first press releases sent out by the organization. Anderson was also the Director of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) Board of Governors from 1962-1966, National Vice President from 1971-1972, National President from 1972-1973, Chairman of the Awards Committee from 1973-1974, and remained an active executive in the AFIPS society for many years until it was superseded by the Federation on Computing in the United States (FOCUS). One of Walter's most notable marks left during his term of National President was the change to the single AFIPS conference per year, a highly controversial decision at the time and documented in his papers.


26 boxes (25.0 cubic feet)


This collection contains records from Walter L. Anderson's professional career involving Engineering Research Associates (ERA), General Kinetics Incorporated (GKI), General Accounting Office (GAO), and the Institute of Radio Engineers - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IRE-IEEE) organizations.


The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Walter L. Anderson in 1986 and 2002.

Walter L. Anderson Papers, 1942-1999. Finding Aid.
Prepared by Kevin Corbitt, April 1991; Kevin Irving, November 2007.
November 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Charles Babbage Institute Archives Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 - 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55455