William C. Norris papers
Scope and Content Note
The William C. Norris papers document Norris' professional activities and interests, primarily in the years after his tenure as president of the Control Data Corporation (1986-1995). There are some materials in the papers dating before the formation of CDC (1946-1957), as well as a small amount of material of a personal nature, most notably personal correspondence. Materials consist of articles about and interviews with Norris, correspondence, Norris' talks and writings, and subject files. Subject files make up the bulk of the material and cover many topics of interest to Norris throughout his career, including corporate social responsibility, computer-based education, economic development and job creation, and U.S. trade and technology transfer with the Soviet Union and Japan.
Norris' professional activities were closely related to his work at CDC; researchers should use the Norris Papers in conjunction with the William C. Norris Executive Papers series (Series 9) in the Control Data Corporation Records (CBI 80). More information about Norris and his post-retirement activities and writings can be found in Albert Eisele’s papers as part of the Executive Papers series (Series 8) of the Control Data Corporation Records (CBI 80).
<emph render="bold">Acronyms used in this finding aid:</emph>
- AIMSC = Advanced Integrated Manufacturing Service Center
- CBE = Computer-Based Education
- CDC = Control Data Corporation
- ERA = Engineering Research Associates, Inc.
- GMC = Greater Minnesota Corporation
- MCC = Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation
- MFFI = Minnesota Family Farm Institute
- MTDI = Midwest Technology Development Institute
- Norris, William C., 1911-2006 (Person)
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).
William C. Norris was born in 1911. He graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1932. He assumed management of the family farm upon the death of his father a few months later. From 1935 to 1941 he served as a sales engineer with the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company and worked in Omaha and Chicago. During World War II, Norris was commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, where he was involved in the research and development of communications and computing equipment.
Following military service, Norris helped found Engineering Research Associates (ERA) in St. Paul, Minnesota. He served as a vice president and general manager for the firm from 1946-1955. In 1952, ERA became a subsidiary of the Remington Rand Corporation. Remington Rand merged with the Sperry Corporation to form the Sperry Rand Corporation in 1955. Norris served as vice president and general manager of the Univac division of Sperry Rand Corporation from 1956-1957.
In 1957, Norris helped establish Control Data Corporation (CDC) with several other former Sperry Rand Univac employees. He served as President and CEO of the company from 1957 until his retirement in 1986. Norris retained a position on the Board of Directors of CDC until 1991.
7 boxes (4.75 cubic feet)
The collection documents William Norris' professional activities and interests, primarily in the years after his tenure as president of the Control Data Corporation (1986-1995). Materials consist of articles about and interviews with Norris, correspondence, Norris' talks and writings, and subject files.
Arrangement of Collection
The materials in this collection are arranged into the following groups:
- Articles and Interviews
- Talks and Writings
- Subject Files
The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by William C. Norris in 2001.
- Chief executive officers -- United States -- Biography. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Computer-assisted instruction Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Consolidation and merger of corporations -- United States -- Prevention. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Control Data Corporation
- East-West trade. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Engineering Research Associates
- Norris, William C., 1911-2006
- Sperry Rand (Corporation). Univac Division
- Technology transfer -- Government policy -- United States. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States -- Foreign economic relations -- Japan. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States -- Foreign economic relations -- Soviet Union. Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- William C. Norris Papers, 1946-1998. Finding Aid.
- Prepared by Maria Plonski and Amanda Schwarze, 2003-2004.
- July 2005
- 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