Pioneer Programmer: Jean Jennings Bartik and the Computer that Changed the World

Truman State University Press
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In early 1945, the United States military was recruiting female mathematicians for a top-secret project to help win World War II. Betty Jean Jennings (Bartik), a twenty-year-old college graduate from rural northwest Missouri, wanted an adventure, so she applied for the job. She was hired as a “computer” to calculate artillery shell trajectories for Aberdeen Proving Ground, and later joined a team of women who programmed the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), the first successful general-purpose programmable electronic computer. In 1947, Bartik headed up a team that modified the ENIAC into the first stored-program electronic computer.
     Even with her talents, Bartik met obstacles in her career due to attitudes about women’s roles in the workplace. Her perseverance paid off and she worked with the earliest computer pioneers and helped launch the commercial computer industry. Despite their contributions, Bartik and the other female ENIAC programmers have been largely ignored. In the only autobiography by any of the six original ENIAC programmers, Bartik tells her story, exposing myths about the computer’s origin and properly crediting those behind the computing innovations that shape our daily lives.
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About the author

Jean Jennings Bartik was one of the original programmers for the ENIAC computer. Bartik became an editor for Auerbach Publishers, an early publisher of information on high technology.
          Editors Jon T. Rickman and Kim D. Todd cofounded the Jean Jennings Bartik Computing Museum at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO. Both helped create the Jean Jennings Bartik Scholarship for Women in STEM.

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Additional Information

Truman State University Press
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Published on
Nov 6, 2013
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Biography & Autobiography / Women
Computers / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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