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Guide to the Frank da Cruz Kermit records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Processing Information
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material
  • Related Collections at CHM
  • Related Collections at Other Repositories

  • Title: Frank da Cruz Kermit records
    Identifier/Call Number: X6335.2012
    Contributing Institution: Computer History Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 32.64 Linear feet, 21 record cartons, 5 manuscript boxes, 1 newspaper box
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1977-1988
    Date (inclusive): 1968-2011
    Abstract: The Frank da Cruz Kermit records consist of organizational and administrative materials related to Columbia University’s Kermit project, documents that provide a historical context to the project, Kermit books and manuals published by Frank da Cruz and his colleagues, press and publicity concerning Kermit, Kermit software, and standards related to Kermit or the general development of the character and data-set standards fields.
    Languages: Collection is predominantly in English, but there are some materials in Chinese, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish.
    creator: Da Cruz, Frank, 1944-

    Processing Information

    Collection surveyed by Rita Wang, 2016.
    An inventory of collection contents was created by the donor. To view the CHM catalog record and inventory for the Frank da Cruz Kermit records, please search the CHM catalog at www.computerhistory.org/collections/search.

    Access Restrictions

    The collection is open for research.

    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], Frank da Cruz Kermit records, Lot X6335.2012, Box [#], Computer History Museum.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Frank da Cruz, 2011.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Francis (Frank) da Cruz was born in Washington D. C. on November 10, 1944. Da Cruz, whose parents were both in the military, grew up in rural Virginia as well as on Army bases in Germany. He was first exposed to computer programming while a member of the US Army in the early 1960s. He began attending Columbia University in 1966 and received a BS in Sociology and later a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Da Cruz was an employee and faculty member of Columbia from 1974, when he began in the Computer Center, until his layoff in 2011. In 1981 da Cruz began working on the 30-year project known as Kermit. Kermit is a file transfer and management protocol, and communications software tools set which was initially developed by da Cruz and Bill Catchings. Kermit was intended to facilitate the ability of Columbia’s students to save their work and move those files between diverse computers on campus that used different character sets, file systems, and communications. Conversion between EBCDIC and ASCII character sets was one of the earliest functions built into Kermit. The first file transfer with Kermit occurred in 1981 and Columbia University coordinated the development of Kermit for many different computers both inside and outside of the University, and distributed the software for free. In 1986 the University officially founded the Kermit Project which took over version development and started charging a fee for commercial use. By 1988 Kermit was available on more than 300 computers and operating systems. Columbia University ceased supporting the Kermit Project in 2011 and released it to open source. The project was named after the fictional character in The Muppet Show television series with permission from Henson Associates, Inc.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Frank da Cruz Kermit records consist of materials related to Columbia University’s 30-year Kermit project. Spanning 1968 through 2011, with the bulk of the material dated between 1977 and 1988, the collection contains subject files that provide context to the Kermit project, articles and papers published in magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and professional journals, correspondence, publicity material, books on Kermit written mostly by da Cruz and his colleagues, including some drafts and early proof material, software, including different versions and platforms, updates, and utilities, material related to character and data-set standards, user guides and course material, manuals for various terminals and modems, and guides, directories, and instructional materials related to APRANET.


    The collection is arranged into 4 series:
    Series 1, Kermit project files, 1977-2011, bulk 1983-1988
    Series 2, Standards, 1979-2003, bulk 1983-1989
    Series 3, Manuals, 1972-2001, bulk 1977-1995
    Series 4, Networking publications, 1978-1985; 1988

    Separated Material

    Physical objects and ephemera were separated from the archival collection. To view catalog records for separated material search the CHM catalog at https://www.computerhistory.org/collections/search/ .

    Related Collections at CHM

    Kermit oral history panel, Lot X6479.2012, catalog number 102746411. Joe Doupnik oral history, Lot X6479.2012, catalog number 102746462.

    Related Collections at Other Repositories

    Frank da Cruz Collection, UA#0172, accession number 2010.2011.M086, University Archives, Columbia University.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Columbia University
    File Transfer Protocol (Computer network protocol)
    Kermit Project