Wallace J. Eckert papers
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains correspondence, astronomy lecture notes, drafts of publications, research notes, and miscellaneous materials relating to Eckert's work in astronomy, celestial mechanics, and punched card systems. The collection includes a letter to G. W. Baehne of IBM regarding the development of a machine for scientific calculations (1934), correspondence relating to the operation of the Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Bureau, photographs of Eckert, and drafts of publications. The drafts represented include
The Position of the Moon Computed Directly from Brown's Theory,Punched Card Methods in Scientific Computation(1940), and Faster, Faster(1955), a book about the IBM-Naval Ordnance Research Calculator. Correspondents include L. J. Comrie and Dirk Brouwer.
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).
Wallace John Eckert received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Yale in 1931 and became part of the faculty at Columbia that same year. He established the Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Laboratory in the early 1930s and strongly urged IBM to develop a scientific calculator. His book, Punched Card Methods in Scientific Computation(1940), influenced the development of the electronic computer. In 1940, Eckert left Columbia to become the director of the Nautical Almanac Office of the U.S. Naval Observatory. After World War II, Eckert returned to Columbia. During this period he also worked with IBM in the development of the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC). He retired from Columbia in 1967 and became an IBM Fellow.
3 boxes (1.5 cubic feet)
The collection contains correspondence, astronomy lecture notes, drafts of publications, research notes, and miscellaneous materials relating to Wallace Eckert's work in astronomy, celestial mechanics, and punched card systems.
Arrangement of Collection
The materials in this collection are arranged into the following groups:
- Lecture Notes, 1951-1970
- Publications by Eckert, undated and 1935-1967
- Publications by Others, undated and 1943-1965
- Research Notes, 1957-1975
- Subject Files, 1931-1970
The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Dorothy Eckert in 1983.
- Astronomy -- Mathematics Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Baehne, G. W. (George Walter)
- Brouwer, Dirk, 1902-
- Calculators Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Celestial mechanics Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Comrie, Leslie J., 1893-1950
- International Business Machines Corporation
- Punched card systems -- Astronomy Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Tabulating machines Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Bureau, New York
- Wallace J. Eckert Papers, 1931-1975. Finding Aid.
- Prepared by Bruce H. Bruemmer and Kevin D. Corbitt, June 1995.
- 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