Guide to the Rey Johnson Papers

Elizabeth Borchardt
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, California 94043
Phone: (650) 810-1010
Email: research@computerhistory.org
URL: http://www.computerhistory.org
© 2007
Computer History Museum. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Rey Johnson Papers

Collection number: X3312.2006

Computer History Museum
Processed by:
Elizabeth Borchardt
Date Completed:
August 22, 2007
Encoded by:
Elizabeth Borchardt
© 2007 Computer History Museum. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Guide to the Rey Johnson Papers
Dates: 1933-1998
Collection number: X3312.2006
Creator: Johnson, Rey
Collection Size: 1 linear foot 1 box
Repository: Computer History Museum
Mountain View, CA 94043
Abstract: Reynold B. (Rey) Johnson's papers are comprised of International Business Machines (IBM) company documents, newspaper clippings, project ideas and drawings, and photographs from his thirty-seven years with IBM. Of particular note is Johnson's involvement in the development of magnetic disk storage during the 1950s.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

The Computer History Museum can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Computer History Museum's collection must be given by the Computer History Museum.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], [Date], Rey Johnson papers, Lot X3312.2006, Box [#], Folder [#], Computer History Museum

Provenance

The Rey Johnson papers were donated by his son, David R. Johnson, to the Computer History Museum in 2005.

Biography / Administrative History

Rey Johnson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in education. While teaching high school science in Michigan, Johnson developed a machine to electronically grade multiple-choice tests taken in pencil. He sold the idea to IBM in 1934 and took a job as a senior engineer at their Endicott, NY laboratory where he worked on projects involving punch cards.
In 1952, IBM sent Johnson to San Jose, CA to set up a West Coast laboratory. Johnson and the San Jose team developed magnetic disk storage, which was marketed as the IBM 305 RAMAC in 1956. Johnson retired from IBM in 1971. Johnson had more than 90 patents to his name.

Scope and Content of Collection

Rey (Reynold B.) Johnson's papers are comprised of IBM company documents, newspaper clippings, project ideas and drawings, and photographs.
The first series is Corporate and consists of papers and publications relating to IBM such as staff listings, internal news, and programs from company dinners. This series contains several issues of Tabulating Pointers, which detailed tips and tricks for accounting punch card machines, from the early 1930s. The second series is Johnson's Personal Papers containing personal correspondence, news clippings, speeches, and accolades. The third series focuses on Johnson's Inventions and Projects. There are two folders of mostly hand-written project ideas and drawings, as well as a transcript of an interview concerning his test scoring machine.
  • Series 1. Corporate papers
  • Series 2. Personal papers
  • Series 3. Inventions and projects

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Computer Industry
Computer Storage Devices
Punched card systems
International Business Machines Corporation. San Jose Research Laboratory
Test scoring machine
IBM 305 RAMAC (Computer)
National Medal of Technology
Johnson, Reynold B.

Separated Material

Physical objects including a prototype of Johnson's test scoring machine as well as photographs, mostly taken at the National Medal of Technology ceremony in 1986, can be found in the CHM collections database at http://www.computerhistory.org/search/ .

Collection Contents

box 1

Corporate Papers 1933-1998

Creator: Johnson, Rey
Physical Description: 22 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Consists of papers and publications relating to IBM such as staff listings, internal news, and programs from company dinners. Of note are several issues of Tabulating Pointers, which detailed tips and tricks for accounting punch card machines, from the early 1930s.
folder 16

102687875 A Quarter Century of Innovation 1977

folder 19

102687878 Clippings from local newspapers 1958-1973

folder 15

102687874 Corporate Recognition Dinner February 16, 1970

folder 11

102687870 Dedication of IBM San Jose 1958

folder 9

102687868 Fortune with cover story about "Tom Jr.'s IBM" September 1956

folder 12

102687871 IBM San Jose

folder 17

102687876 IBM San Jose: The First Quarter Century 1977

folder 7

102687866 IBM memos 1953-1971

folder 20

102687879 IBM news publications 1935-1978

folder 2

102687861 IBM staff listings

folder 10

102687869 Industrial and Housing Review: Santa Clara county edition May 1956

folder 6

102687863 Luncheon in honor of his excellency the honorable Warren R. Austin November 13, 1949

folder 13

102687872 Programs from the conference on communication of scientific information May 26, 1958

folder 14

102687873 Programs from various IBM awards dinners 1962-1971

folder 18

102687877 IBM in San Jose 1978

folder 3

102687862 Tabulating Pointers 1930 ca.

folder 4

102687864 The 5 C's challenge September 1, 1936

folder 21

102687880 Various issues of Think (the IBM employee magazine) 1940-1989

folder 1

102687859 Think: a biography of the Watsons and IBM

folder 5

102687865 IBM Thirty-eighth annual report for the year ended December thirty-first 1949

folder 8

102687867 Time: the weekly newsmagazine with cover story about "IBM's Thomas J. Watson, Jr." March 28, 1955

folder 22

102687881 Vision (vol 2, num 3) "This company of ours" 1989

box 1

Personal Papers 1933-1998

Creator: Johnson, Rey
Physical Description: 7 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Contains personal correspondence, news clippings, speeches, and accolades.
folder 27

102687887 Accolades given to Rey Johnson 1965-1994

folder 28

102687888 Hundred percent club convention book July 12, 1948

folder 24

102687884 Newspaper clippings, mostly articles about Rey Johnson 1952-1998

folder 26

102687885 Rey Johnson biographical information

folder 23

102687883 Rey Johnson correspondence 1959-1986

folder 25

102687886 Speeches given by Rey Johnson 1963-1978

folder 29

102687889 Think notebook containing speech notes

box 1

Inventions and projects 1933-1998

Creator: Johnson, Rey
Physical Description: 8 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Focuses on Johnson's Inventions and Projects. There are two folders of mostly hand-written project ideas and drawings, as well as a transcript of an interview concerning his test scoring machine.
folder 30

102687890 Products developed by Rey Johnson

folder 35

102687894 RAMAC project information 1954-1957

folder 32 & 33

102687891 Rey Johnson project ideas 1933-1963 1933-1963

Physical Description: 2 folders
folder 36

102687895 Rey Johnson speeches about RAMAC 1984-1988

folder 31

102687860 Test punch cards August 20, 1948

folder 34

102687893 Test scoring machine 1978

folder 37

102687896 Various pamphlets and articles on hard drive advancements since RAMAC 1962-1994

box Misc oversize 2, folder 9

102687897 Technical Reminiscences, volumes I & II