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Wallace C. Caldwell papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RS 11/6/55

Scope and Content

This collection (1983-2003) contains correspondence and news clippings regarding John Vincent Atanasoff and the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) collected by Wallace C. Caldwell. Most of the correspondence is related to Caldwell's efforts to have Atanasoff, along with graduate student Clifford Berry, recognized as the inventor of the digital electronic computer. Of note is correspondence with producers from WGBH in Boston regarding the series "The Machine that Changed the World" which aired in 1991 on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The television show chronicled the history of the computer, but omitted Atanasoff and the ABC.

Caldwell was also instrumental in having the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recognize the efforts of Atanasoff and Berry by naming the ABC a national Electrical Engineering Milestone. A bronze plaque hangs in Physics Hall on the Iowa State campus commemorating this achievement. Photographs showing Caldwell presenting a framed photograph of the plaque to Atanasoff are in the collection.

The collection also contains materials regarding celebrations of the ABC and Atanasoff sponsored by Iowa State, correspondence of others regarding proper recognition of the ABC, and news clippings and writings about the ABC and its controversial status as the first digital electronic computer.


  • 1983-2003

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Wallace Caughey Caldwell received his M.S. (1940) in physics from Iowa State College (University). He joined the staff of the Physics Department at Iowa State as Assistant Professor (1948) and then became Associate Physicist (1950). He was eventually named Adjunct Professor (1983-1995) and Emeritus Adjunct Professor (1995-present) in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering at Iowa State.


0.42 Linear Feet (1 document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

Items in related collections

RS 11/6. Iowa State University. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering records, 1884-2013 RS 13/20/51. John Vincent Atanasoff papers, 1925-2011, undated

Related collection materials

For more information on John Vincent Atanasoff and the Atanasoff-Berry Computer see the Office of University Relations John Vincent Atanasoff Collection, RS 5/2/1/1.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 11/6/55. Wallace C. Caldwell papers, 1983-2003
January 22, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672