IT History Society

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IT History Society
Formation 2007
Purpose Promote and facilitate the preservation and study of the history of Internet Technology and be a "table of contents" of where information technology history is located
Origins Charles Babbage Foundation
Region served
Jeffery Stein
Main organ
Board of Directors

The IT History Society (ITHS) is an organization that supports the history and scholarship of information technology by encouraging, fostering, and facilitating archival and historical research. Formerly known as the Charles Babbage Foundation, it advises historians, promotes collaboration among academic organizations and museums, and assists IT corporations in preparing and archiving their histories for future studies.


The IT History Society provides background information to those with an interest in the history of Information Technology, including papers that provide advice on how to perform historical work and how historical activities can benefit private sector organizations. It tracks historical projects seeking funding as well as projects underway and completed. It maintains online, publicly available, lists of events pertaining to IT history, IT history resources, an IT Honor Roll acknowledging more than 700 individuals who have made a noteworthy contribution to the information technology industry, and a database of notable technology quotes.

A continuing project is one of aggregating the locations and content of IT history archival information around the world to facilitate and encourage IT history research and scholarship.[2][citation needed] This International Database of Historical and Archival Sites currently consists of 1,663 international information technology historical and archival collections encompassing over 49.8 million documents.[2] An IT Hardware database has been added consisting of 12,187 entries, an IT Honor Roll with 1,031 entries, and a Technical Quotes database with over 1,000 entries. These databases are being added to on a regular basis an IT Software and IT Companies databases will debut soon. ITHS holds an annual meeting and conference.


The current chairman is Jeffery Stein of Peyton Investments. The Trustees, Historical Advisory Committee, and Archival Advisory Committee are made up of distinguished individuals who have created technology, built companies, and recorded IT events as archivists or historians. The Board of Directors also includes David G. Arscott, Leslie Berlin, James Cortada, Peter Cunningham, Gideon Gartner, Brewster Kahle, William Hugh Murray, Frederic G. Withington, George Dyson, Nolan Bushnell, Randy Katz, and Lars Heide.


Current membership totals over 700, with fifty percent of the members residing in countries outside the United States. Memberships are divided into three categories: individual, corporation, and institution. Membership is free. Corporate and institutional members include California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Computer History Museum, Deutsches Museum, IEEE History Center, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, UK National Archive for the History of Computing, Intel, Microsoft Corporation, Stanford Silicon Valley Archives, Applied Materials, Symantec, Agilent Technologies Foundation, Internet Archive, History San Jose, FedEx, British Library, Hans Nixdorf Museum, and McKesson Corporation.


The International Charles Babbage Society was founded in 1978 and operated out of Palo Alto, California. The following year the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) became a principal sponsor of the Society, which was renamed the Charles Babbage Institute.

In 1980, the Institute moved to the University of Minnesota, which contracted with the principals of the Charles Babbage Institute to sponsor and house the Institute. A new entity, the Charles Babbage Foundation, was created to help support and govern the Institute, in partnership with the University. In 1989, CBI became an organized research unit of the University.

Around 2000, CBF broadened its mission to support the history of information technology through other organizations, collaborating, for example, with the Sloan Foundation, Software History Center, and the Computer History Museum in experimenting with Internet-based archival and historical research. In 2002, the Charles Babbage Foundation broadened its mission to support the entire IT history community. In 2007, CBF changed its name to the IT History Society and reworked its programs to better support the IT history community.

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