FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Contact: Kevin Flannery, (573) 526-0949
Kander Announces Program on Pioneer Female Computer Programmer
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced a program exploring the life of pioneer computer programmer, Jean Jennings Bartik, in recognition of National Women’s History Month. The program will be held at the Missouri State Archives, a division of his office, on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at 7 p.m. Editors Jon Rickman and Kim Todd will speak about their new book, Pioneer Programmer: Jean Jennings Bartik and the Computer that Changed the World.
In early 1945, the United States military recruited female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. An adventurous 20-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri named Betty Jean Jennings, later Jean Jennings Bartik, applied for one of these positions and was hired as a human computer to calculate artillery shell trajectories. Just a year later, she led the team of women responsible for programming ENIAC, the first successful general-purpose electronic computer. Despite her talents, Bartik faced obstacles in her career due to antiquated attitudes about the role of women in the workplace. Her perseverance, however, made her an important figure in the early days of electronic computing, helping launch the commercial computer industry.
Before passing away in 2011, Bartik drafted the only autobiography from any of the six original ENIAC programmers, exposing myths about the computer's origin and properly crediting those behind the computing innovations that now shape our daily lives. Editors of her autobiography, Rickman and Todd, will present this captivating story about one of the computer industry’s most important, but little known, pioneers.
The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value, and is located at 600 West Main Street in Jefferson City. All programs at the Archives are free of charge and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information on this and other programming at the Archives, contact Emily Luker, (573) 526-5296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.
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