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Guide to the Guide to the Harwood G. Kolsky 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
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harwood G. Kolsky Papers
    Dates: 1943 - 1998
    Collection number: X3021.2005
    Creator: Kolsky, Harwood G.
    Collection Size: 26 linear feet 20 cartons and one oversized box
    Repository: Computer History Museum
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Abstract: The Harwood G. Kolsky collection is comprised of documents related to the development of super computers, microprocessors and microcomputers, computer modeling, digital image processing, computer programming languages, as well as materials related to teaching computer architecture and computer history. The collection primarily consists of technical papers and reports, manuals, notes, promotional material, and correspondence related to Los Alamos National Laboratory and International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    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], Harwood G. Kolsky Papers, Lot X3021.2005, Box [#], Folder [#], Computer History Museum


    Harwood G. Kolsky donated his papers to the Computer History Museum in 2005.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Harwood G. Kolsky, an emeritus professor of computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), was a physicist who became a computer scientist well before that field was a recognized department of academic learning. He worked on many early computers and their applications and architectures. Later in his career he directed a variety of projects involving programming languages, scientific applications, and digital image processing.
    Kolsky was born on January 18, 1921. He received a B.S. degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Kansas in 1943. He was in the U.S. Army's Central Pacific Signal Corps from 1943 to 1946. In 1950 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University.
    In 1957, after seven years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, he joined International Business Machines (IBM) working out of the Poughkeepsie, New York facility. He was a member of the product planning group for the STRETCH (IBM 7030) computer. In 1959, he became assistant manager of the IBM Federal Systems Division (FSD) office in Omaha, Nebraska. Kolsky was named manager of the systems science department of IBM's San Jose Research Laboratory in 1961. In 1962, he headed an advanced technology group in the Advanced Systems Development Division at Los Gatos, California. He joined the Palo Alto Scientific Center when it was formed in 1964 as manager of the atmospheric physics group. Later, he headed projects in programming languages, microprogramming, and digital image processing.
    Dr. Kolsky was named an IBM Fellow in 1969. He served on the IBM Corporate Technical Committee at Armonk, New York from 1974 to 1975. He was also head of the Board of Consultants for the IBM European Scientific Centers. He published over 30 papers and was a member of four professional societies.
    In 1985, he joined the newly-formed UCSC Computer Engineering department as a visiting professor. In 1986, he retired from IBM and began a new career as a full-time professor at UCSC. At UCSC, Kolsky helped manage research projects and taught courses in computer architecture and computer history until his retirement in 1996.
    Kolsky is married to Frances Cilek Kolsky, also a 1943 graduate of the University of Kansas. She taught high school while Harwood was in the Army. The Kolskys have four children and three grandchildren.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Harwood G. Kolsky collection contains his personal papers accumulated throughout his professional life as a physicist and computer scientist. The papers are arranged chronologically from earliest to latest date of creation, and are mostly comprised of technical papers and reports, manuals, notes, promotional material, and correspondence. They relate to all aspects of his professional life.
    Most of the early papers document Dr. Kolsky's professional and personal experiences living and working in Los Alamos at the National Laboratory. The largest group of materials relate to his career with IBM and include technical reports and papers, brochures and promotional materials, as well as correspondence and notes related to significant projects. Projects documented include the development of the STRETCH (IBM 7030) computer, various computer simulation projects, and digital image processing projects.
    His professorship at UCSC is documented through campus publications, course documents, and lecture notes. Of note are his lecture materials related to computer history.
    Some items related to the IBM 7030 (STRETCH) computer have been scanned and are available on the Computer History Museum's website.

    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 simulation
    Digital image processing
    Image processing Digital techniques
    Programming languages (Electronic Computers)
    Kolsky, Harwood G.
    International Business Machines Corporation
    International Business Machines Corporation. Federal Systems Division
    International Business Machines Corporation. San Jose Research Laboratory
    International Business Machines Corporation. Advanced Systems Development Division
    International Business Machines Corporation. Palo Alto Scientific Center
    IBM 7030 (Computer)
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Supercomputer industry
    University of California, Santa Cruz. Dept. of Computer Engineering

    Separated Material

    Photographs, software, and books can be found in the CHM collections database at http://www.computerhistory.org/search/ .