Hi Ed,

I have a story idea for you.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the computer---and the city needs a museum to celebrate and commemorate that fact.

Despite claims to the contrary, the true story of the origin of the electronic computer involves two men,

J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly, who were its visionaries and inventors.

They built the first electronic computer (ENIAC) for the U.S. Army at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946. Later on, they moved to a building on Ridge Avenue where the BINAC and UNIVAC were assembled. The importance of this achievement cannot be exaggerated. The BINAC and UNIVAC were forerunners of all of today's commercial computers.

The story of how and why Mauchly and Eckert got together for their historic undertaking, how they managed to recruit men and women who would eventually become pioneers in an industry that covers every facet of our lives today, and how those men and women succeeded without any experience or training in transforming a dream into reality---is a story that must be told. And it must be told in Philadelphia.

The building where these monumental events took place still stands at 3747 Ridge Avenue. Currently, the Marketplace at East Falls occupies the first floor. The second floor is vacant, in need of repair, and just waiting to be transformed into an ENIAC and UNIVAC Museum.

In 2006, the building was declared an official historic site by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And while that was a step in the right direction, it is not enough. Philadelphia needs to declare its rightful place in the history of all present-day computers. It needs a place where visitors to the city might learn about the origins of an industry without which today's world could barely function.

There is a group---currently headed by John W. Mauchly's son and grandson---who are working toward turning the Ridge Avenue building into an ENIAC/UNIVAC Museum. And while they have the support of the building's owners, they need the assistance of a great many more people and institutions to bring their goals to fruition.

If you are wondering why I am interested in this project, it is because of a day back in the 1950s. My mother was talking about my older brother Alan's new job. She mentioned that he was working on the "memory of the computer." While I'll never forget the excitement in her voice, I had no understanding at age nine of what a computer was or what it would come to mean in future years.

As it turned out, Alan had landed a job at the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation on Ridge Avenue. He stayed with the company for 34 years throughout its transition into Remington Rand, Sperry Rand, and eventually, Unisys. Along with all of the men and women who participated in those historic achievements back in the 1950s, my brother is a Computer Pioneer. And while their numbers may be decreasing, there are still a number of them, including my brother Alan, who stand ready to tell their story.

Philadelphia---the City of Firsts---deserves this showcase for yet another first-----ENIAC, the World's First Electronic Computer and UNIVAC, the World's First General Purpose Digital Computer.

Let me know if you would like to have the contact names and numbers of those trying to bring this important museum to the city.

Thanks, Ed.

Louise Gudknecht Lindinger