Fonds 1318 - Calvin Gotlieb fonds

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1318


Calvin Gotlieb fonds


  • 1942-2001 (Creation)

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10.37 m of textual and graphic records and sound recordings (48 boxes)

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Calvin C. (Kelly) Gotlieb, born on March 27, 1921, has been called the "Father of Computing" in Canada. For over half a century, he has made significant contributions in numerous areas of computer science, has promoted the exchange of ideas among computer professionals through his influential work in national and international associations, and has taught and mentored several generations of computers scientists. At the University of Toronto, he spearheaded key technological advances - from the first purchase of an electronic computer in 1952 to the acquisition of the Cray X-MP supercomputer in 1984. He has been relentless in promoting the use of computers in a wide range of research fields including the social sciences and humanities and was one of the first computer professionals to recognize and to study the social impact of computers on society.

Below is a copy of his biography that appears on the Department of Computer Science web site. It highlights his most significant contributions and achievements.

Calvin C. (Kelly) Gotlieb has been called the "Father of Computing" in Canada. He received his MA in 1944 and his Ph.D. in 1947 from the University of Toronto. In 1948, he was part of the first team in Canada assembled to design and construct digital computers and to provide computing services. In that year, he co-founded the original Computation Centre at the University of Toronto. He established the first university credit course on computing in Canada in 1950, and offered the first Canadian graduate courses in computing in 1951. In 1964, he founded the first graduate department of Computer Science in Canada, at the University of Toronto.

Professor Gotlieb has over a hundred publications in many areas of Computer Science and Information Processing, and has co-authored four books: "High Speed Data Processing", "Social Issues in Computing", "Data Types and Structures", and "The Economics of Computers".

Professor Gotlieb has dedicated much of his professional work to the promotion of information science and technology and the advancement of national and international cooperation in this field. He has been a consultant to the United Nations on Computer Technology and Development, and to the Privacy and Computers Task Force of the Canadian Federal Department of Communications and Justice. He was a founding member of the Canadian Information Processing Society in 1958, and served as Canada's representative at the founding meeting of the International Federation of Information Processing Societies in 1959, and from 1960-1966. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Encyclopaedia Britannica and of the Annals of the History of Computing.

Professor Gotlieb is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the British Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery. He received honorary D.Math and D.Eng degrees from the University of Waterloo and the Technical University of Nova Scotia respectively. In 1994, he was awarded the Isaac L. Auerbach Medal by the International Federation of Information Processing Societies, and in 1996 the Order of Canada award. He is currently Professor Emeritus in Computer Science and in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto.

Prof. Gotlieb lives in Toronto with his wife Phyllis Gotlieb. He still teaches Computers and Society in the Department of Computer Science and is active as the Chair of the Awards Committee of ACM. At its annual conference in May 2002 in Toronto, the ACM awarded Gotlieb the President’s Award for Special Services.

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Fonds consists of 4 accessions:

B1979-1029: Transcripts of two interviews, June 29 and July 29, 1971 with Professor C.C. Gotlieb, conducted by Henry S. Tropp. This was part of an early history project relating to computers undertaken on behalf of the Smithsonian Institute. These transcripts are of the edited version. (1 file, 1971)

B1998-0069: Consists of correspondence, lecture notes, minutes, reports, conference and editorial files, as well as subject files relating Professor Gotlieb's involvement in FERUT, UTEC, Computation Centre, Department of Computer Science, Institute of Computer Science, Library automation, University, national and international committees and organizations, early computer courses, and computer journals. (23 boxes, 1947-1987)

B1994-0022: Correspondence, surveys, drafts of reports, reports, minutes, notices and addresses relating, in particular, to computer committees at the University of Toronto focussing on large-scale computation; to Professor Gotlieb's activities as colloquium coordinator in the Department of Computer Science (ca.1984-1994); and to the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology. (2 boxes, ca. 1984-1994)

B2002-0003: Records in this accession document various aspects of Prof. Gotlieb’s career as a leading computer scientist. Most notably early correspondence, association files, publication files and research files document Gotlieb’s early work and contributions. These along with records relating to his role as a teacher shed light on the early development of computer technology in Canada, the emergence of computer scientists as a profession and their subject expertise as a discipline of academic study. This accession also contains records relating to Gotlieb’s wider social advocacy demonstrated in his involvement in Science for Peace and several Jewish groups. Finally, this accession has several photographs of early computer installations at the University depicting technology that was unique to the world at that time. Included are images of the experimental computer UTEC as well at the FERUT (Ferranti Electronic computer) - the first electronic computer to be purchased anywhere (1952). (23 boxes, 1942-2001)

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B1988-0069: Materials in 2 files in box 3 containing "enrolments and marks for early computer courses (1951-1972)" and "early thesis appraisals" are restricted for 75 years.

B2002-0003: Documents relating to the Task Force on Computing and New Media including the draft Provost Report on New Media is closed for 20 years from the date of creation.

All other records are open.

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-Added to AtoM by Karen Suurtamm, April 2016




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