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Sperry Rand Corporation, Univac Division records

Creation: 1935-1985
Accession: 1825-I


The Sperry Corporation was an electronics company and the UNIVAC Division manufactured the first commercial digital computer. The Sperry UNIVAC division has its origins in the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), founded in 1946 by J. Presper Eckert (1919-1995) and John W. Mauchly (1907-1980). In 1950, Eckert and Mauchly sold their firm to Remington Rand, Inc, a major manufacturer of business machines, who continued development of the UNIVAC system. The collection documents most of Sperry-Univac's major company functions and includes a large body of materials generated by the Sperry-Honeywell lawsuit that revolved around the question about who invented the first electronic-digital computer.


  • Creation: 1935-1985



616 Linear Feet

Historical Note

The Sperry Corporation was an electronics company and the UNIVAC Division manufactured the first commercial digital computer. The Sperry UNIVAC division has its origins in the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), founded in 1946 by J. Presper Eckert (1919-1995) and John W. Mauchly (1907-1980), the developers of ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer. The firm began the development of the UNIVAC, the first stored memory digital computer for commercial applications. Capital shortages forced Eckert and Mauchly to sell the firm to Remington Rand, Inc., a major manfuacturer of business machines, in 1950. The first UNIVAC was delivered in March 1951. To cement its lead in computer manufacture, Remington Rand purchased the Minnesota firm of Engineering Research Associates, a computer company with ties to the defense industry, in 1952. The two acquisitions were consolidated to form the Univac Division.

As the first commercial computer system, UNIVAC made a dramatic impression on the American public. At the suggestion of Remington Rand, CBS Television used a UNIVAC to predict the outcome of the 1952 presidential election. This marvelous public relations stroke helped UNIVAC capture the imagination of the nation. During the early 1950s forty-six UNIVAC I models were sold. However, in 1954 IBM introduced its 650 computer, which was a great commercial and technological success, and Remington Rand saw its lead vanish almost overnight.

On June 30, 1955, Remington Rand merged with the Sperry Corporation, a manufacturer of guidance systems, servomechanisms, feedback controls and precision machinery, to form the Sperry Rand Corporation. After the merger, the company attempted to recapture the market with the UNIVAC II, which had a magnetic core memory and a storage capacity of between 2,000 and 10,000 characters. However, by the mid-50s the initiative had clearly passed to IBM, although many industry observers believed that the UNIVACs were technically superior to IBM computers. By the early 1960s IBM controlled 71 per cent of the computer market, with Sperry Rand a distant second at 10 per cent.

The Patent Office finally issued a patent on the ENIAC in 1964, and Sperry Rand used this to put forward a claim to basic patent rights on the electronic digital computer. Honeywell, Inc., contested this claim, and the case was tried in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota in 1971-1973. Honeywell was eventually upheld on all counts.

The Sperry Rand Corporation was renamed the Sperry Corporation in July 1979. In 1986 as the result of a hostile takeover, it was absorbed by the Burroughs Corporation, which then changed its name to Unisys Corporation.

Scope and Content

The collection documents most of Sperry-Univac's major company functions from its beginnings into the 1970s and includes a large body of materials generated by the Sperry-Honeywell lawsuit that revolved around the question about who invented the first electronic-digital computer.

The Honeywell-Sperry Rand lawsuit produced 50,000 pages of trial transcript, and over 36,000 documents were entered in evidence. Sperry Rand's lawyers produced a huge archive of trial documents. Two major files were created, the "Original file" of documents from Sperry Rand's own archives, and the "Chronolog​ical file" of all documents located during the discovery process and entered as exhibits. The trial archive is a major source on the history of the computer industry.

The Legal papers document Sperry-UNIVAC's efforts to defend and license the ENIAC patent. This series contains patent interference files as well as the records generated by the Sperry attorneys who worked on the Sperry-Rand vs. Bell Laboratories case (1956-1957) the Sperry Rand vs. IBM case (1963-1964). This series also contains a fragment of the legal correspondence generated by the Sperry-Honeywell suit.

This Executive Officers series describes the history of the company during the 1960s, a period during which it steadily lost market share to IBM. The correspondence of President R.E. McDonald and Vice Presidents F.R. Raach and G.H. Geick documents corporate strategy, organization changes, technological innovation, and sales policies.

The Technical Documents series trace the technological history of electronic data processing at Sperry Rand From the 1950s to the mid 1970s, as they describe the development of five generations of computers. The archive traces the evolving relationship between hardware and software. It shows that the earliest programs for the ENIAC were done in a machine language that mirrored the physical construction of the computer. With the introduction of stored programs, full computer languages such as COBOL were developed. The records document the development of the UNIVAC algebraic short language code by Grace Hopper in the early 1950s. Software publications files trace innovations in UNIVAC software from 1958 to 1970 and show how software engineers sought to maximize hardware potential.

The Engineering Department records include the files of J.P. Eckert, who was department head from 1953 to 1964 and those of Herman Lukoff who led the department from 1965 to 1975. The files describe the development of the Livermore Automatic Research Calculator (LARC) that was completed during the late 1950s and the early 1960s. This project, undertaken in conjunction with the Atomic Energy Commission's Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, proved to be a tremendous drain on the company's resources. Sperry Rand wound up losing $19 million on the project which was twenty-seven months behind schedule when it was finally completed in 1961. Despite the fact that only two machines were sold, the LARC did make significant contributions to the development of computer technology. The engineers at Sperry were convinced their experiences with the LARC enabled them to build a much more powerful UNIVAC III than would have otherwise been possible.

The Herman Lukoff papers document Sperry-Univac's effort to apply semiconductor and solid-state technology to computer development. The records trace the relationship between advances in these areas and innovations in magnetic memory and mass storage. The files on the UNIVAC 80 show that in 1958 Sperry was the first company to market a computer with transistorized circuitry. Four months later, however, IBM responded with a solid state machine of its own, the 1401, which was to dominate the market for much of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Engineering Research Associates series document (1946-1955) the negotiations which led to the Sperry-ERA merger as well as the engineering work conducted by ERA. In 1952, Remington Rand attempted to strengthen its position in the electronic data processing equipment industry by acquiring Engineering Research Associates (E.R.A.) of St. Paul, Minnesota. At that time, E.R.A. was on the cutting edge of computer technology. However, in 1957, William Norris, the firm's founder, left Sperry to form his own Company, Control Data Corporation.

Sales and Marketing Department series includes advertising brochures, sales bulletins, and proposals prepared for Sperry Univac customers. The files describe most of the major UNIVAC computer systems sold during the 1950s and 1960s. Among the systems represented are those designed for automated accounting systems, numerical control for machine shops, missile guidance, and optical scanning. The sales records document customer expectation and show how Sperry Univac attempted to respond to these changing needs. They show that in spite of Sperry Univac's effort to compete with IBM for corporate contracts during the 1950s and 1960s, the United States government and the military continued to be the company's most important customers. During this period Sperry continued to be a major supplier of computer equipment to the Army, Air Force, Navy, Atomic Energy Commission, General Services Administration, and National Bureau of Standards.

The sales and marketing records also include copies of the Monthly Management Review and Sales Bulletin as well as the minutes of Sperry Univac's Product Planning Group. Management services research reports document efforts to evaluate competitive computer systems with particular emphasis, of course, on IBM.

Also included are administrative records from the Sales and Marketing Department, including procedural manuals, correspondence, budgets, and product planning records. There are also records from the Univac Scientific Exchange (USE, Inc.), which was formed in 1955 to facilitate common standards and information exchange among users of the Univac 1103A computer.

The Programing and service manuals files, which date from 1951, complement the sales literature. These volumes describe most major Univac computer systems and show their evolution over time. The programing manuals can be used in conjunction with the software publication files to trace the relationship between hardware and software development.

In June 1977 Sperry-UNIVAC aquired Varian Data Machines. The operation became known as the Sperry Univac Mini Computer Operations. Corporate records series include merger and divestiture agreements, Varian technical documents, sales literature, and manuals.

Patent and licensing series includes the files of patent attorney W.E. Cleaver and copies of domestic, and foreign licensing agreements.

Personnel Department records series contains departmental correspondence files as well as records of contract negotiations, arbitration, grievance, and National Labor Relations Board Proceedings.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Litigators may not view the collection without approval.

Use Restrictions

Literary rights retained by depositor.

Related Material

Sperry Rand Corporation, Remington Rand Division Records, Subgroup III. Advertising and Sales Promotion Department

Sperry Gyroscope Company Records (Accession 1915), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Sperry Aerospace Division Records (Accession 1952), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Sperry Rand Corporation, UNIVAC Division photograph collection (Accession 1985.261), Pictorial Collections Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Engineering Research Associates (Accession 2015), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Technitrol Law Suit Records (Accession 1901), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Honeywell vs. Sperry Rand Records (CBI 1), Charles Babbage Institute, 103 Walter Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.

Language of Materials


Additional Description


Deposit of Unisys Corporation, 1982

Separated Materials

Sperry Corporation, UNIVAC Division photographs and audiovisual materials (Accession 1986.261), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.


  • Michael Nash, Computers, Automation, and Cybernetics at the Hagley Museum and Library (Greenville, Del.: Hagley Museum & Library, 1989).


Appendix I

Alphabetical Listing of Witness Files

  1. Adlemann, Morris
  2. Andrews, Ernest
  3. Atanasoff, John
  4. Atanasoff, Lura
  5. Auerbach, Albert
  6. Auerbach, Isaac
  7. Baas, John
  8. Barron, Wallace
  9. Beam, Walter
  10. Berlinsky, Anthony
  11. Berneking, William
  12. Bigelow, Julian
  13. Binger, James
  14. Brainerd, John
  15. Bremberg, Bruce
  16. Brenner, Edward
  17. Brooks, Joe
  18. Buchanan, Robert
  19. Bullard, Hugh
  20. Burks, Arthur
  21. Cannon, Edward
  22. Carr, Percy
  23. Cavender,
  24. Chedaker, Joseph
  25. Clippenger, Richard
  26. Coleman, Ithael
  27. Davis, Albert
  28. Desch, Joseph
  29. Dickinson, Arthur
  30. Dombrowski, Robert
  31. Dunn, Stannard
  32. Dustin, H. Mial
  33. Eason, Leroy
  34. Elbigner, Lewis
  35. Elliot, herbert
  36. Ellis, Murray
  37. English, Charles
  38. Epstein, Herbert
  39. Etienne, Alexander
  40. Finigan, William
  41. Finke, Walter
  42. Gambrell, James
  43. Goldstine, Herman
  44. Greer, Raymond
  45. Griffen, Daniel
  46. Hanson, Henry
  47. Hirshfeld, Joseph
  48. Holberton, Francis E.
  49. Holberton, John
  50. Joly, Joseph
  51. Kempton, Gregory
  52. Kenosian, Harry
  53. Ladd, David
  54. Leas, Wesley
  55. Legvold, Sam
  56. Luhowy, George
  57. Lukoff, Herman
  58. markham, Jesse
  59. mdasterson, Earl
  60. Mauchly, Kathleen
  61. McBride, Daniel
  62. McGovern, Patrick
  63. McHugh, William
  64. McPherson, James L.
  65. McPherson, John C.
  66. Michael, F. Robert
  67. Miller, Frederick
  68. Morgan, Minot
  69. Mumma, Robert
  70. Murphy, Gleen
  71. Murray, Donald
  72. Oakley, Bert
  73. Ondrick, Charles
  74. Padden, Frederick
  75. Peirce, E. Read
  76. Peper, Denis
  77. Pflieger, Larry
  78. Phelps, Byron
  79. Pigott, Jr., Chales
  80. Pokotilow, Manny
  81. Rajchman, Jan
  82. Richards, RIchard K.
  83. Ritchings, Robert
  84. Rose, Kenneth
  85. Russinoff, Albert
  86. Schmitter, Charles
  87. Schrimpf, Henry
  88. Smith, Paul
  89. Spence, Homer
  90. Sweet, Joseph
  91. Talmage, William
  92. Travis, Irven
  93. Ulam, Stanislaw
  94. Warren, Read
  95. Warshaw, Julius
  96. Wheeler, John
  97. Wilson, Lou
  98. WilsonAuerbach
  99. Winsor, Paul
  100. Wyman, Irma
  101. Zworykin

Appendix II

Master Witness List

The following is a list of all persons who testified on behalf of Plaintiff. The list is arranged alphabetically, with with a designation of the form of testimony adjacent to the name of each “witness.”

The forms of testimony are as follows:

Live: The “witness” testified live.

Deposition: Plaintiff offered in evidence the deposition or depositions of the “witness.”

Summary of Deposition: Plaintiff offered in evidence a summary of the deposition testimony of the “witness,” but did not offer the deposition itself.

Deposition and Summary of Deposition: Plaintiff offered in evidence the deposition or depositions of a “witness” and a summary or summaries of the deposition or depositions.

When located behind a deposition-related designation, the symbol * indicates that portions of that deposition were read into the record.

The notation to the right of the form of testimony dseignation indicates where a copy of each Witness File can be located.

The location designations are as follows:

DPR: A copy of the file for this witness is located at the offices of Dechert, Price, and Rhoads in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

2E2: A copy of the file is located at Univac Division Site 2E2 in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

DPR & 2E2: Copies of the file are located at both the offices of Dechert, Price, and Rhoads, and at Univac Site 2E2.

Missing Title

  1. Adelman, Morris-- Live / DPR
  2. Anderson, Roland A.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  3. Andrews, Ernest G.-- Deposition/ 2E2
  4. Atanasoff, John V.-- Live / 2E2
  5. Atanasoff, Lura-- Deposition* / 2E2
  6. Auerbach, Albert A.-- Live / 2E2
  7. Baas, John C.-- Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  8. Barron, Wallace E.-- Deposition / 2E2
  9. Bartik, Jean J.-- Summary of Deposition / DPR
  10. Berneking, William B.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  11. Binger, James H.-- Live / DPR
  12. Blackwell, H. Jack-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  13. Bloch, Richard M.-- Live / DPR
  14. Brainerd, John G.-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  15. Bremberg, Bruce E.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  16. Brooks, Joe R.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  17. Buchanan, Robert E.-- Deposition* / 2E2
  18. Bullard, Hugh M.-- Live / DPR
  19. Carr, Percy H.-- Deposition* / 2E2
  20. Cavender, J.T.-- Live / 2E2
  21. Chedaker, Joseph-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  22. Clippinger, Richard F.-- Live / 2E2
  23. Coleman, Ithiel-- Live / 2E2
  24. Davis, Albert S.-- Deposition* / 2E2
  25. Dederick, L.S.-- First and Second Depositions and Summaries of First and Second Depositions / DPR
  26. Desch, Joseph R. -- Deposition* / 2E2
  27. Dickinson, Arthur H.-- Deposition* / 2E2
  28. Dombrowski, Robert K.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  29. Dunn, Stannard-- Deposition / 2E2
  30. Dustin, H. Mial-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  31. Eason, Leroy-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  32. Elbinger, Lewis-- Live / 2E2
  33. Ellis, Murray-- Live / 2E2
  34. Epstein, Herbert-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  35. Etienne, A.J.-- Deposition / 2E2
  36. Finigan, William H.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  37. Finke, Walter W.-- Live / DPR
  38. Gambrell, James B.-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  39. Geib, Burgess F.-- Live / DPR
  40. Gillon, Paul N.-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  41. Goldstine, Herman H.-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  42. Greer, Raymond C.L.-- Raymond Greer was not allowed to testify by Judge Larson. Plaintiff offered in Greer's stead a “Proof of Testimony.” / 2E2
  43. Griffen, Daniel L.-- Deposition / 2E2
  44. Hanson, Henry L.-- Live / DPR
  45. Hartree, Mrs. Douglas-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  46. Heyman, Henry-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  47. Hirshfeld, Joseph-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  48. Holberton, Frances Elizabeth Snyder-- Deposition / DPR & 2E2
  49. Holberton, John-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR & 2E2
  50. Joly, Joseph A.--Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  51. Kempton, Gregory C.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  52. Kenosian, Harry-- Live / 2E2
  53. Kline, Louis-- Deposition / 2E2
  54. Ladd, David L.-- Live / 2E2
  55. Leas, J. Wesley-- Live / DPR
  56. Legvold, Sam-- Live / 2E2
  57. Lenox, John-- Live / DPR
  58. Luhowy, George-- Live / 2E2
  59. Mark, J. Carson-- Live /DPR
  60. Markel, Herbert F.-- First and Second Depositions / DPR
  61. Markham, Jesse W.-- Live / DPR
  62. Mauchly, ˚Kathleen-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR & 2E2
  63. McBride, Daniel-- Live / DPR
  64. McGovern, Patrick J.-- Live / 2E2
  65. McHugh, William-- Deposition / 2E2
  66. McPherson, James L.-- Live / 2E2
  67. McPherson, John C.-- Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  68. Meltzer, Marlyn-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  69. Michael, Frank R.-- Live / DPR
  70. Morgan, Minot C.--Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  71. Mumma, Robert E.-- Live / 2E2
  72. Murphy, Glenn-- Deposition* / 2E2
  73. Murray, Donald S.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  74. Oakley, Bert T.-- Deposition / 2E2
  75. Ondrick, Charles-- Deposition / 2E2
  76. Padden, Frederick W.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  77. Peirce, E. Read-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  78. Peper, Denis A.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  79. Pfleiger, Larry L.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  80. Phelps, Byron E.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition* / 2E2
  81. Pokotilow, Manny D.-- Live / DPR
  82. Rajchman, Jan A.-- Live / 2E2
  83. Rench, Carl F.-- Live / DPR
  84. Richards, R.K.-- Deposition* / 2E2
  85. Ritchings, Robert H.-- Deposition / 2E2
  86. Rose, Kenneth-- Live / 2E2
  87. Russinoff, Albert-- Deposition / 2E2
  88. Schmitter, Charles-- Deposition / 2E2
  89. Simon, Leslie E.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  90. Smith, Paul-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  91. Spangle, Clarence-- Live / DPR
  92. Sweet, Joseph C.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  93. Talmage, William H.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  94. Teitelbaum, Ruth-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  95. Teller, Edward-- Live / DPR
  96. Travis, Irven-- Live / DPR
  97. Ulam, Stanislaw-- Live / DPR
  98. VanSant, Fred-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / DPR
  99. Warshaw, Julius-- Live / DPR & 2E2
  100. Wheeler, John N.-- Deposition and Summary of Deposition / 2E2
  101. Wilson, Louis D.-- Live / 2E2
  102. Winsor, Paul III-- Live / 2E2
  103. Wyman, Irma-- Live / DPR
  104. Zworykin, Vladimir K.-- Deposition / 2E2

Appendix III

Interference Files

Relating to the correspondence and papers of the Sperry attorneys in the following casses brought before the Examiner of Inerferences in the United States Patent Office

Missing Title

  1. 88,280: Eckert & Lipkin vs. Rajchman (RCA)
  2. 88,118: Woods-Hill et al vs. Eckert et al
  3. 7,957: Rubens vs. Nordyke
  4. 87,872: Eckert et al vs. Hamilton et al
  5. 87,779: Eckert et al vs. Dickinson
  6. 89,345: Boyden vs. Eckert & Mauchly
  7. 89,109: Guterman vs. Eckert et al
  8. 88,903: Epstein vs. Eckertet al
  9. 88,810: Hall vs. Bonn et al
  10. 88,721: Miller vs. Devol
  11. 87,706: Thompson vs. Schmitt (Burroughs)
  12. 87,611: Elmore vs. Schmitt (Burroughs)
  13. 86,965: Meecham vs. Eckert
  14. 85,131: Mumma vs. Eckert & Mauchly
  15. 85,729: Lewis vs. Eckert
  16. 95,961: Lukoff et al vs. Newton
  17. 94,710: Norwood vs. Phillips
  18. 93,002: Eckert et al vs. Baker et al
  19. 93,847: Gilson (Burroughs) vs. Welsh
  20. 93,563: Muffley vs. Blain
  21. 93,544: Eckert et al vs. Williams et al
  22. 93,522: Herwitz et al vs. Breslin et al
  23. 93,504: Appleton vs. Goddard et al
  24. 93,101: Hollabaugh et al vs. Jones
  25. 92,579: Gilson vs. Welsh et al
  26. 92,568: Clapper vs. Von Kummer
  27. 92,302: Booth & Warren vs. Lawrence
  28. 92,230: Henle et al vs. Nordahl et al
  29. 92,032: Muffley vs. Welsh
  30. 91,714: Cagle & Chen vs. Bonn
  31. 91,604: Sziklai vs. Bonn et al
  32. 91,549: Eckert vs. Kaplan
  33. 91,280: Eckert vs. Reiling
  34. 91,261: Eckert et al vs. Baumeister
  35. 91,172: Hals vs. Von Kummer vs. CLapper
  36. 91,149: Steele vs. Eckert et al
  37. 90,885: Kaupman vs. Holt
  38. 90,872: Rider et al vs. Saykay
  39. 90,844: Torrey vs. Lode
  40. 90,694: Hussey vs. Bonn vs. Henle
  41. 90,676: Eckert et al vs. Thompson
  42. 90,645: Kaplan vs. Eckert
  43. 90,644: Lubin vs. Eckert
  44. 86,141: Morris vs. Eckert & Mauchly
  45. 85,958: Eckert-Mauchly vs. Nelson
  46. 90,134: Guterman (Raytheon vs. Kaplan (RCA) vs. Eckert
  47. 90,087: Rueger vs. Eckert
  48. 9068: Eckert vs. Vogelsong
  49. 89,898: Torrey vs. Lode
  50. 89,734: Smith vs. Eckert et al
  51. 89,618: Bonn vs. Svala
  52. 89,560: Atkinson vs. Hasbrouck
  53. 85,809: Eckert & Maruchly vs. Nelson
  54. 90,305: DUinker vs. Bonn et at
  55. 90,307: Yetter vs. Karnaugh (BTL)
  56. 90,602: Saykay vs. Rider
  57. 90,611: Jacoby vs. Woodland
  58. 90,638: Abbott vs. Bonn

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Sperry Corporation, Univac Division records
Ellen Felser Morfei
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA