Ruth Teitelbaum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ruth Teitelbaum (née Lichterman) (1924–1986) was one of the first computer programmers in the world. Teitelbaum was one of the original programmers for the ENIAC computer.

Programmers Ruth Lichterman (crouching) and Marlyn Wescoff (standing) wiring the right side of the ENIAC with a new program.


Teitelbaum graduated from Hunter College with a B.Sc. in Mathematics. She was hired by the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania to compute ballistics trajectories. The Moore School was funded by the US Army during the Second World War. Here a group of about 80 women worked manually calculating ballistic trajectories - complex differential calculations. These women were called "computers". In June 1943, the Army decided to fund an experimental project - the first all-electronic digital computer and six of the women "computers" were selected to be its first programmers.[1] Teitelbaum was among these six.[2]


Ruth Teitelbaum

Teitelbaum was selected as one of a group of seven women to be the first programmers of the ENIAC, which was the first all-electronic programmable computer. The computer was a huge machine with 40 black 8-foot panels. The programmers had to physically program it using 3000 switches, and telephone switching cords in a dozen trays, to route the data, and the program, through the machine.[2]

Along with Marlyn Meltzer, Teitelbaum was part of a special area of the ENIAC project. Using analog technology, they calculated ballistic trajectory equations.[3] In 1946, the ENIAC computer was unveiled before the public and the press. The seven women were the only generation of programmers to program the ENIAC and they went on to teach programming techniques to others.

The other five working on the ENIAC were Jean Bartik, Betty Holberton, Kathleen Antonelli, Marlyn Meltzer, and Frances Spence.[4]

She travelled with ENIAC to the Ballistics Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds where she remained for two more years to train the next group of ENIAC programmers.[5]


She married Adolph Teitelbaum.[6] Marriage licence was issued on September 17, 1948.[7][8]


Ruth Teitelbaum died in 1986 in Dallas, Texas.[2]


In 1997, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame, along with the other five original ENIAC programmers. Teitelbaum's husband accepted the award in memory of her.[2]

She was given little credit toward the foundations of the ENIAC.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haigh, Thomas; Mark, Peter; Rope, Crispin (2016). Eniac in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 26. ISBN 9780262033985.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ruth Teitelbaum - Engineering and Technology History Wiki". Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  3. ^ a b IEEE Global Network "Ruth Teitelbaum" Ret. March 2014
  4. ^ "Finding the forgotten women who programmed the world's first electronic computer". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2017-10-03.
  5. ^ Martin Gay: Recent Advances and Issues in Computers, The Oryx Press, Phoenix/Arizona, 2000, pp.106/107
  6. ^ "Ruth L Teitelbaum in the U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "Adolph Teitelbaum in the New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018". Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  8. ^ "Ruth L Lichterman in the New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018". Retrieved August 13, 2019.

External links[edit]