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Guide to the Jim C. Warren papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material
  • Related Collections at Other Repositories

  • Title: Jim C. Warren papers
    Identifier/Call Number: X2595.2004
    Contributing Institution: Computer History Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 94.38 Linear feet, 74 record cartons, 5 manuscript boxes
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1975-1995
    Date (inclusive): 1956-2000
    Abstract: The Jim C. Warren papers document Warren’s founding and chairmanship of the West Coast Computer Faire, his political activism related to online access and civil liberties, his computer-related publications and writing career, and his technological consulting projects and research. Also included is material related to other computer conferences and workshops, manuals and promotional material from various companies, reports and articles, and newsletters from computer clubs, organizations, and companies. Material dates from 1956 to 2000, with the bulk of the collection being from 1975 to 1995.
    Languages: The majority of material in the collection is in English, but there are a small number of items in Swedish.
    creator: Jim, C. Warren

    Access Restrictions

    An item in Box 38, Folder 3, is restricted from access until Jim Warren’s death. An item in Box 20, Folder 8, is restricted due to the inclusion of a social security number, and an item in Box 38, Folder 13 is restricted due to the inclusion of a third-party’s address; researchers must use redacted photocopies of these two items.

    Publication Rights

    The Computer History Museum (CHM) can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Requests for copying and permission to publish, quote, or reproduce any portion of the Computer History Museum’s collection must be obtained jointly from both the copyright holder (if applicable) and the Computer History Museum.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], [Date], Jim Warren papers, Lot X2595.2004, Box [#], Folder [#], Catalog [#], Computer History Museum.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Jim C. Warren, 2003.

    Processing Information

    Warren frequently re-used documents by making notes on the reverse sides of forms and other documents with previous functions. Processors kept the sides containing Warren’s notes facing up.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Jim Clarke Warren, Jr. was born July 20, 1936, in Oakland, California. Warren taught math at the high school level for two years before earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education in 1959 from Southwest Texas State Teachers College, now known as Southwest Texas State University. He then went on to earn three master’s degrees: in mathematics and statistics from University of Texas at Austin in 1964, medical information science from University of California Medical Center in 1974, and computer engineering from Stanford University in 1977. He was also a PhD candidate in computer engineering at Stanford, and he chaired the mathematics department at the College of Notre Dame in Belmont, California, from 1965 to 1967. During his college years, Warren also taught mathematics and computer courses at the college level, including at San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and Stanford. During the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Warren took on freelance work as a minicomputer programmer and consultant under the name Frelan Associates, with most of his work concentrated on custom-built realtime data-acquisition/process-control applications in biomedical research settings at Stanford University and its School of Medicine. During this same time, he chaired the Association for Computing Machinery's regional chapters of SIGPLAN and SIGMICRO, and the San Francisco Peninsula ACM. From 1968 to 1969, he was the general secretary of the Midpeninsula Free University.
    In 1977, Warren founded the West Coast Computer Faire, a conference that promoted personal computer use and showcased to the public pre-assembled personal computers and kits for building your own computer. The Apple II and Commodore PET were both introduced at the first Computer Faire, which was considered a significant event in the history of personal computing. Warren chaired the Faire until he sold it in 1983, and during this time, he also published the Silicon Gulch Gazette, a newspaper that promoted the Faire. The last Computer Faire was held in 1991.
    Warren founded, edited, and published several other periodicals that focused on the computer industry and technology. He was the founding editor of the programming and microcomputing periodical Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthodontia; Running Lite without Overbyte from 1976 to 1978 (published by the People’s Computer Company), and the founder and publisher of Intelligent Machines Journal (later sold and renamed InfoWorld) from 1978 to 1979 and DataCast magazine from 1982 to 1983. Warren also published a newsletter called Jim’s Industry Notes from around 1977 to 1978 that focused on the computer hobbyist industry.
    Warren was active in the antiwar efforts of the 1960s, and he returned to those activist roots in the 1980s and 1990s when he became more publicly involved in the politics around public policy and electronic civil liberties, access, and privacy. In the 1980s, he was elected as a trustee of the San Mateo County Community College District, serving from 1985 to 1989, and he published an occasional newspaper focused on local politics called the Peninsula Citizens' Advocate. He was the founding chair of the 1991 Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, and he assisted Assemblywoman Debra Bowen with key technical language for California Assembly Bill 1624, a bill she introduced and authored in 1993 that stated that computerized public legislative records must be made available to the public online and at no cost. He served on the Secretary of State's Electronic Filing Advisory Panel in 1995, which made recommendations on the digitization and online accessibility of political-campaign financial statements. He also served on the Senate Task Force on Electronic Access to Public Records in 1997.
    From 1990 to 1995, Warren was on the board of Autodesk Inc. and chaired the company’s CEO search in 1994. He continued writing, and was a columnist for the magazines MicroTimes, Government Technology, and BoardWatch up to 2000. Warren currently lives in Hansville, Washington.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Jim C. Warren papers contain records documenting his various projects and roles as the founder of the West Coast Computer Faire, a publisher of computing-related periodicals, an engineer, and a political activist. The collection spans 1956 to 2000 with the bulk of the collection ranging from 1975 to 1995.
    The largest series in this collection relates to Warren’s coordination and administration of the Computer Faire and contains material on the Faire’s exhibitors, speakers, and administration.
    The collection also holds records from Warren’s more independent projects, especially his political work relating to public access to digitized legislative and political records, rights of privacy, and online security. Warren’s computing and engineering projects are also featured – some from his work as a programming consultant early in his career. A small amount of Warren’s independent projects are also featured in the series of his personal papers, which also contain personal correspondence, records from his education, primarily from his time at Stanford, and documentation of his participation in various user groups and professional organizations.
    Published periodicals and material related to their production make up a significant amount of this collection – including some started by Warren. Material in the collection relating to publications that Warren founded, edited, and published document DataCast magazine, Dr. Dobb's Journal, Silicon Gulch Gazette, Jim’s Industry Notes, Intelligent Machines Journal (precursor to InfoWorld), and the Peninsula Citizens' Advocate. Publications in the collection that Warren was not directly involved in managing include a variety of newsletters from computing user groups and clubs and technical papers and reports mostly published under academic institutions. The collection also contains promotional material, catalogs, and brochures published by various companies – with a significant quantity by Apple.
    A significant amount of material documents the events that Warren attended, researched, or was involved in presenting at or organizing. These events include conferences, workshops, and public talks. Notable among these events are records documenting the Bootstrap Project seminars at Stanford University – founded by Doug Engelbart under the mission of developing interactive computing systems and coordinating the organizations that create them.
    The last two areas of the collection, which are both organized by company, are manuals and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) records. This collection contains manuals from over 130 companies and institutions. The companies that are most represented in terms of quantities of manuals are Apple and Microsoft. The DEC records also contain DEC-published manuals as well as promotional material, program listings, and correspondence and proceedings from the DEC Users Society (DECUS).


    The collection is arranged into 11 series:
    Series 1, Computer Faire, 1968-1991
    Series 2, Political research and projects, 1980-1996
    Series 3, Computing and technology research and projects, 1969-1995
    Series 4, Publications and writings, 1972-1995
    Series 5, Conferences, workshops, and public talks, 1975-1997
    Series 6, Personal papers, 1964-1994, bulk 1974-1993 Series 7, Manuals, 1956-2000
    Series 8, Promotional material, company overviews, and catalogs, 1975-1998
    Series 9, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) records, 1962-1982
    Series 10, Newsletters, 1971-1996
    Series 11, Articles, technical papers, and reports, 1963-1996

    Separated Material

    Periodicals and West Coast Computer Faire conference proceedings were separated from the main collection. Non-text items were also separated. These include over 70 photographs that have been scanned and cataloged, West Coast Computer Faire proceedings on audio cassette, packaged software, ephemera, keyboards, a digital camera, and other electronic components. To view catalog records for separated material search the CHM catalog at http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/search/ .

    Related Collections at Other Repositories

    Silicon Valley Ephemera Collection. M0443. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
    West Coast Computer Faire Collection, 1977, 1980, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    California Assembly Bill 1624 (1993)
    Data protection--Law and legislation
    Datacasting (data braodcasting)
    Privacy, Right of
    Public records--Access control
    Warren, Jim C.
    West Coast Computer Faire