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Guide to the Rey Johnson Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • 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


    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


    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/ .