Evelyn Berezin

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Evelyn Berezin
Born(1925-04-12)April 12, 1925
DiedDecember 8, 2018(2018-12-08) (aged 93)
EducationB.S. in physics, 1946
Alma materNew York University
Occupation(s)Computer engineer, Physicist
EmployerElectronic Computer Corporation
Known forDesigning one of the first word processors; helping design some of the first computer reservations systems
SpouseIsrael Wilenitz[1]
AwardsFellowship from the United States Atomic Energy Commission

Evelyn Berezin (April 12, 1925 – December 8, 2018)[2] was an American computer designer of the first computer-driven word processor.[2][3] She also worked on computer-controlled systems for airline reservations.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Berezin was born in the east Bronx in 1925 to Jewish immigrants from the Russian Empire, and attended Christopher Columbus High School.[2] Her father was a furrier and her mother was a seamstress. They lived in an apartment that allowed for Berezin to watch as subway trains soared by endlessly. She started university at the age of sixteen[5] at Hunter College in January 1941, studying Economics instead of the Physics she preferred because it was preferred as a subject for women at that time. After WWII started, new opportunities made the study of physics possible with a scholarship at New York University, plus free classes at both Hunter and Brooklyn Polytech during the war years. At the same time, she worked full-time during the day as an assistant in the Rheology Department of the Research Division of the International Printing Company (IPI). Going to university at night, she received her B.S. in physics in 1946.[2]

Career and contributions[edit]

Berezin began graduate work at New York University, holding a fellowship from the United States Atomic Energy Commission.[6] In 1951 she accepted a job with the Electronic Computer Corporation and began there as head of the Logic Design Department. When she was hired at Electronic Computer Corporation, she had little experience with Computer design and only got into the field after having difficulty finding work in the Physics industry. Berezin was the only person doing the logic design for computers being developed by ECC.[6] In 1957 ECC was purchased by Underwood Corporation (originally known as the Underwood Typewriter Company). Here, she designed a number of computers that were very general in structure but individual in specific application. Among them was a system for the US Army for range calculations, a system for controlling the distribution of magazines, and what is now considered the first office computer.[7]

The Underwood Typewriter Company was not able to continue the development beyond 1957, and Berezin went to a company called Teleregister, formerly a division of Western Union.[8]

Using vacuum tube computers and electromechanical switching, Teleregister had built one of the first airline reservation systems, the "Reservisor".[9] Using newly available transistor technology, Berezin developed a computerized reservation system for United Airlines which was one of the largest computer systems at that time, controlling 60 cities in a communication system that provided 1 second response time.[10] While working for Teleregister, Berezin also developed the first computerized banking system.[11] This system was soon adopted by many businesses due to its extremely effective capabilities and very reliable nature. This technology was groundbreaking since it allowed for faster processing times and fewer shutdowns due to the system isolating and resolving the problems individually.

In 1960, Berezin had a job offer from the New York Stock Exchange retracted strictly because she was a woman, despite being one of few qualified for the job. The position was then revoked from Berezin by the board of directors. [12]

In 1968, Berezin had the idea for a word processor to simplify the work of secretaries, and in 1969 she founded Redactron Corporation,[13][6] which became a public company and delivered thousands of systems to customers throughout its international marketing organization. The company's main product was called the "Data Secretary" and it was the size of a small refrigerator, had no screen, and the keyboard and printer was an IBM Selectric typewriter.[2] The company began super small with only 9 employees and a $750,000 dollar investment. The company was able to develop the very first computer word processor. This technology is the core of almost all computer software today. This innovation can be found as the core of many software programs such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and many other software programs. Berezin saw the potential of word processing, as it allowed for people to type out their writing and edit it through copying, pasting, deleting, and printing their material. By 1972, Redactron had reached levels of Total Revenue of nearly $16.2 Million. 

In the 1970s, although the market continued strong the economy suffered a serious inflation, increasing interest rates to a level (16%) which was untenable for a business like Redactron which operated in a world in which equipment was rented. The company was sold to the Burroughs Corporation in 1976, and integrated into its office equipment division. Berezin stayed on until 1979.[4]

In 1980, Berezin served as President of Greenhouse Management Company, General Partner of a venture capital group dedicated to early stage high technology companies.[6] Berezin stayed with Greenhouse until 1987.

Throughout her career she received honorary doctorates from Adelphi University and Eastern Michigan University.[6] Berezin also served on the Boards of CIGNA, Standard Microsystems, Koppers, and Datapoint.[14]

Berezin served on the Board of the Stony Brook Foundation at Stony Brook University, the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Boyce Thompson Institute.[6]

Berezin established the Berezin-Wilenitz Endowment, which will give the value of her estate to fund either a chair, professorship, or research fund at Stony Brook in any field of science as stated in her will and testament.[15] In addition to the endowment, Berezin and her late husband funded the Sam and Rose Berezin Endowed Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship that is awarded to an undergraduate student who plans to study in the field of science, engineering or mathematics, in honor of her parents. Berezin and Wilenitz also established the Israel Wilenitz Endowment. This provides discretionary funds to the Linguistics Department at Stony Brook University, where Wilenitz received a Master's Degree.[15]

Personal life[edit]

While studying for her PHD Berezin went on a blind date with Israel Wilenitz. Wilenitz was an Englishman who had moved to Israel and was only in New York City for a year of work. The couple got married in 1951 and soon after Wilenitz moved back to Israel. A year later Berezin moved to Israel to be with her husband. However, Berezin struggled to find a job, so the couple decided to move back to New York City for the happiness of the both of them. Berezin was married for 51 years to Israel Wilenitz, who died on February 20, 2003.[16] Berezin died on December 8, 2018, at the age of 93 while in treatment for cancer.[2]



  • Information Transfer Apparatus[18][19]
  • Electronic Data File Processor[20][21]
  • Information Transfer System[22][23]
  • On-Line Data Transfer Apparatus[24][25]
  • Electrical Assemblage[26][27]
  • Data Processing System[28][29]
  • Arithmetic Device[30][31]
  • Electronic Calculator with Dynamic Recirculating Storage Register[32][33]
  • Control means with Record Sensing for an Electronic Calculator[34][35]


  1. ^ Martha J. Bailey (1998). American Women in Science: 1950 to the Present : a Biographical Dictionary. ABC-CLIO. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-0-87436-921-2.
  2. ^ a b c d e f McFadden, Robert D. (2018-12-10). "Evelyn Berezin, 93, Dies; Built the First True Word Processor". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-12-18.
  3. ^ "Word processor pioneer dies aged 93". BBC News. 2018-12-12. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  4. ^ a b Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). American Women of Science Since 1900. ABC-CLIO. p. 234. ISBN 9781598841589.
  5. ^ "Evelyn Berezin | The National Inventors Hall of Fame". www.invent.org. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "About Sion Power". Sion Power. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Evelyn Berezin". WITI Hall of Fame. Women in Technology International.
  8. ^ "Teleregister Corporation". Computer History Museum. December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018. In 1948, Western Union established one of their divisions, Teleregister, as a separate company.Berezin began to work at Teleregister Corporation where she was the head of logic design. Its communications expertise gave it a prominent position in the uniting of elementary data processing and data transmission. It produced display units for stock brokers, and, in 1952, created a seat management system for the American Airlines New York Office.
  9. ^ Eklund, Jon (1994). "The Reservisor automated airline reservation system: combining communications and computing". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing. 16: 62–69. doi:10.1109/85.251855. S2CID 16465013. Shortly after the beginnings of the computer in the mid-1940s, a machine appeared that was the first in a long line of important commercial systems integrating communications and processing: the Reservisor airline reservation system built by the Teleregister Corporation.
  10. ^ a b CHM. "Evelyn Berezin — 2015 Fellow". Computer History Museum. Archived from the original on 2015-02-02. Retrieved March 27, 2015. Transistors became available in about 1957-58 and the breadth of capability suddenly expanded substantially. Computers were much faster and communication systems started to become particularly important. Berezin, then at Teleregister in Connecticut, designed one of the largest systems built at that time: a passenger reservations system for United Airlines, delivered in about 1962.[1] Archived 2015-04-03 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Camila Domonske (2018-12-12). "Evelyn Berezin, Computer Scientist Behind Groundbreaking Word Processor, Dies At 93". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2018-12-13.
  12. ^ Domonoske, Camila (2018-12-12). "Evelyn Berezin, Computer Scientist Behind Groundbreaking Word Processor, Dies At 93". NPR. Retrieved 2022-04-21.
  13. ^ Pozzi, Sandro (12 December 2018). "Muere Evelyn Berezin, creadora del primer procesador digital de textos" [Evelyn Berezin dies, creator of the first digital text processor]. El País (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 12 December 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2018. Berezin diseñó el primer sistema central de reservas de United Airlines cuando trabajaba para Teleregister y otro similar para gestionar la contabilidad de la banca a nivel nacional. En 1968 empezó a trabajar en la idea de un ordenador que procesara textos, utilizando pequeños circuitos integrados. Al año decidió dejar la empresa para crear la suya propia, que llamó Redactron Corporation.
  14. ^ CHM Editorial Team, Remembering CHM Fellow Evelyn Berezin, Computer History Museum, December 11, 2018. Accessed December 13, 2018
  15. ^ a b c d e "Donor Profiles Evelyn Berezin and Israel Wilenitz". Giving Your Way Org. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Paid Notice:Deaths Wilentitz, Israel". The New York Times. 23 February 2003.
  17. ^ "Evelyn Berezin". Invent.org.
  18. ^ US 3312945 
  19. ^ "Google Patents US3312945 A".
  20. ^ US 3017610 
  21. ^ "Google Patents US3017610 A".
  22. ^ US 3256514 
  23. ^ "Google Patents US3256514 A".
  24. ^ US 3231865 
  25. ^ "Google Patents US3231865 A".
  26. ^ US 3461552 
  27. ^ "Google Patents US3461552 A".
  28. ^ US 2913176 
  29. ^ "Google Patents US2913176 A".
  30. ^ US 2943790 
  31. ^ "Google Patents US2943790 A".
  32. ^ US 3187167 
  33. ^ "Google Patents US3187167 A".
  34. ^ US 2973141 
  35. ^ "Google Patents US2973141 A".