Stanford archives offer window into Apple origins, reveal evolution of the personal computer

“In the interview, Steve Wozniak and the late Steve Jobs recall a seminal moment in Silicon Valley history — how they named their upstart computer company some 35 years ago,” Terence Chea reports for The Associated Press.

“The interview, recorded for an in-house video for company employees in the mid-1980s, was among a storehouse of materials Apple had been collecting for a company museum,” Chea reports. “But in 1997, soon after Jobs returned to the company, Apple officials contacted Stanford University and offered to donate the collection to the school’s Silicon Valley Archives.”

“The collection, the largest assembly of Apple historical materials, can help historians, entrepreneurs and policymakers understand how a startup launched in a Silicon Valley garage became a global technology giant,” Chea reports. “‘Through this one collection you can trace out the evolution of the personal computer,’ said Stanford historian Leslie Berlin. ‘These sorts of documents are as close as you get to the unmediated story of what really happened.'”

Among the other items in the Apple Collection:
• Thousands of photos by photographer Douglas Menuez, who documented Jobs’ years at NeXT Computer, which he founded in 1985 after he was pushed out of Apple.
• A company video spoofing the 1984 movie “Ghost Busters,” with Jobs and other executives playing “Blue Busters,” a reference to rival IBM.
• A 1976 letter written by a printer who had just met Jobs and Wozniak and warns his colleagues about the young entrepreneurs: “This joker (Jobs) is going to be calling you … They are two guys, they build kits, operate out of a garage.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]


    1. Sez who? The Altair 8800 may have been first to market but calling it the first successful home computer is hardly credible. No screen, no keyboard, programmed by toggling switches etc, etc. History records the Apple II as the first _practicable_ personal computer, ie, one that you bought from the store, took home, unpacked it and could do useful work right out of the box.


    2. Chas beat me to it, but I guess it all depends on how you define “successful.”

      Salvador Dali defined success as “Receiving checks in the mail!”

      Sounds good to me. Every time I get a check in the mail, I DO feel successful.

      I guess Apple has gotten a few “checks in the mail.”

  1. I remember those days, and the Altair.

    Out of curiosity, what kind of software were you developing?

    IMO, the Altair more geekazoid than jailbreaking an iPhone is today.

    The key definitions are “successful” and “home”. Yeah, the Altair could be purchased by tech fans and worked on at home, and because it was first it got a lot of press coverage in the nascent microcomputer press (and magazine covers!) as well as the general press.

    It was not really a ready to use off the shelf computer. Nor was the Apple I. For that we had to wait for the Apple ][, and even that was not so useful when it first came out.

    How many Altairs were used used for used for anything except hobbyist mucking around? I’ll admit that gaming is somewhere between mucking around and serious use, so how many Altairs were used for mostly gaming?

  2. I remember reading that Jobs himself got rid of all the museum-stuff pretty quickly after returning to Apple.
    He did not want to look back and he certainly didn’t want anyone else on the payroll to look back.
    He had already set his sight for the future.

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