Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers

Kathryn Kleiman

November 01, 2007

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In 1997, WITI inducted six historic women into its Hall of Fame. They were the original ENIAC Programmers: Betty Snyder Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kathleen Mauchly Antonelli, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Frances Bilas Spence and Ruth Lichterman Teitelbaum. The standing ovation these pioneers received at the WITI dinner touched their hearts. It was a moment neither they, nor we, ever forgot.

Kathy Kleiman, historian of the ENIAC Programmers, wrote the WITI induction speech, and was there on that amazing evening. Now, she is dedicated to making a full-length documentary to tell their story. Google has stepped up to help.

The path to this documentary has not been easy. When Kleiman initially found pictures of the ENIAC Programmers, she was told they were "refrigerator ladies," models posed in front of the machine to make it look good. Unconvinced, she tracked them down and learned first hand of their feats to program ENIAC to perform a ballistics trajectory without any help from manuals or programming classes (which did not exist). "We taught ourselves, we groped out it out together," says ENIAC Programmer Marlyn Meltzer of learning to program the ENIAC. The Programmers went on to create the first software application and teach the first programming classes. Their contributions changed computing forever.

For years, a documentary has been out of reach. But Kleiman is driven to tell this story while the ENIAC Programmers can inform and guide our efforts. She is working with Academy®-award-winning documentarian Susan Hadary, who is similarly dedicated.

On November 8th, from 6-9 PM, Google will host a fundraiser for the ENIAC Programmers Documentary. This wonderful evening features a speech by ENIAC programmer Jean Bartik, a documentary preview by Kleiman, a gourmet dinner by featured chef Jennifer Johnson and a cocktail hour to network and celebrate our women pioneers. Please join Jean Bartik, Kathy Kleiman and David Leighton on November 8th at Google.
WITI set the stage ten years ago with its honors. Join us now as WITI corrects history, provides role models and helps make the ENIAC Programmers Documentary a reality!

Original ENIAC Photographs:


Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers
A Documentary Fundraiser

Google Headquarters �" Mountain View, CA
Thursday, November 8, 2007
6:00-9:00 PM

Dinner & Documentary Preview

With Special Guests
  • Kathy Kleiman, Historian and Executive Producer,
    Invisible Computers: The Untold Story of the ENIAC Programmers

  • Jean Bartik, Original ENIAC Programmer

  • Dr. Telle Whitney, President & CEO, Anita Borg Institute

  • Dr. Alan Eustace, SVP Engineering & Research, Google, Inc.
Open to the Public
Tickets $100

(Partially tax deductible, tickets include a cocktail reception and
formal dinner by featured chef Jennifer Johnson)

Google Headquarters
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Additional Information:

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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