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The Early Days of Government Computers

Forty-two years ago, the U.S. government was just starting to use computers. Few Americans at the time understood computers at all, and couldn't wrap their heads around what they did. Honestly, they didn't do much, compared with how we all use computers today, but it was a big step forward in replacing large banks of file cabinets. When the Domestic Council implemented computer use, people complained. George Humphreys, the Domestic Council’s Associate Director for Environment, sent this letter to Domestic Council Executive Director Jim Cannon encouraging the use of the new technology.

“The basis of the complaints, valid or invalid, was with the implementation of the concept… Many people think of ‘computers’ as a dark, mysterious force that somehow pulsates ominously in an unknown recess, ready to bite if not properly respected.”

Read more about the Domestic Council and how they used their computer at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. In other news, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum has a Tumblr blog. -via John Overholt‏


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