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Eric A. Weiss papers

Identifier: CBI 265

Scope and Contents

The bulk of material in the collection starts from Weiss's time in college in 1935 to the early 2000's. Materials include writings done while in school, correspondence with classmates and about potential jobs; correspondence, writings, research and administritive papers while at Sun Oil Company; research and writings for numerous books and reviews; extensive correspondence for biographies he wrote and associations he played an active role in, especially The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Association for Computing Machinery (ACM);and awards and diplomas. There are few photographs and overall personal artifiacts. Although Weiss lived until 2016, there are few materials after 2005.


  • Creation: 1900 - 2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1935 - 2005

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Eric Alan Weiss was born to Dionys and Helen Nieter Weiss in Jersey City, New Jersey September 3rd, 1917. While attending P.S. 17 and Lincoln High School, Weiss joined the Boy Scouts of America and obtained Eagle status in 1933. In 1939 Weiss received a BS with honors, and in 1940 an MS in electrical engineering from Lehigh University where he was the editorial manager of the campus newspaper, The Brown and White. Also while at Lehigh Weiss co-authored the article with professor Cledo Brunetti, “Theory and Application of Resistance Tuning” found in Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers.

Weiss’s honorary societies include: Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Sigma Xi.

From 1940-1941 Weiss worked at Radio Corporation of America (RCA) as a student engineer and worked on sound equipment development, service engineering, advanced receiver development, and helped to develop the electron microscope. Weiss participated in World War II as a civilian employee at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory (NOL) where he worked to develop, and later install, degaussing equipment at Pearl Harbor.

During his time in Hawaii Weiss met his wife, a medical technician in the blood bank at Queen’s Hospital, Helen Carter Weiss. They were to marry in January of 1942, but the attack on Pearl Harbor moved their marriage to December 24th 1941. In February of 1943 the Weiss’ moved back to Washington D.C. and Eric worked on a magnetic torpedo exploder in the Torpedo Division at NOL until the war was over.

After the war, Weiss joined Sun Oil Company in Pennsylvania where he worked in various technical and administrative positions. His involvement with computers included the position of the Electrical Engineer and Chairman of Corporate Computer Committee. In 1957 Weiss was asked by a Sun Oil vice-president to evaluate a course in the Evening Division at Pennsylvania Military College, and then asked teach his own course- Mgmt. 359e, Principles of Digital Computer Use as a “Lecturer in Electronic Machines”.

When Sun Oil rented an IBM 1620 in 1961 to experiment controlling their first fluid Cat Cracker, Weiss was their “computer authority” and learned how to run the IBM 1620. He saw the potential for a textbook needed on the subject and proceeded to write Programming the IBM 1620, McGraw-Hill, 1965. Weiss’s other books include: The PL/I Converter, McGraw-Hill, 1966 (translated into Spanish as PL/I Para Usarios De Fortran, 1973). Books edited:Computer Usage/Fundamentals, 1969; Computer Usage/360 Fortran Programming, 1969; Computer Usage/Applications, 1970; Computer Usage/360 Assembly programming, 1970; A Computer Science Reader, 1988.

After his retirement from Sun Oil Company, Weiss and his wife moved to Kailua, Hawaii.

From 1983-1988 Weiss was the associate editor for Anthony Ralston’s Abacus Magazine. Weiss’s extensive involvement with ACM and Computing Reviews includes: serving as the one-man proceedings committee for the 1958, 1959, and 1964 ACM national meetings, Editor-in-Chief of Computing Reviews from 1968-1970, in 1970 he was appointed Chairman of the ACM Editorial Board, and Chairman of the Publication Bored until 1973. Weiss’s two best accomplishments during this time (as stated by Weiss himself) are the “ACM Copyright Notice”, which gives free reprinting permission for person and classroom use, and the rebuttal procedure outlined in Computing Reviews. Additionally Weiss contributed “Self-Assessment Procedures” from 1975-1993 to Communications of the ACM. For at least a decade Weiss chaired the secret committee for best Computing Review book review. From 1980 Weiss was the biographies editor for IEEE Annals of the History of Computing and is credited for helping many compputer pioneers record their history.

Weiss’s honors and awards include: ACM Distinguished Service Award, 1978; IEEE Life Senior member, 1982; and ACM Fellow, 1994.


18.5 Linear Feet (17 record cartons 1 oversize box)

119.7 Megabytes (Electronic records include 1441 individual files, largely photographic and/or doc.)

Language of Materials



The Eric A. Weiss papers include research materials used by Weiss; writing; correspondence; and personal papers and items.

Eric A. Weiss Papers, 1900-2012
Ashley Skwiera
September 25th, 2017
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Collecting Area Details

Contact The Charles Babbage Institute Archives Collecting Area

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