We take the word processor for granted but fifty years ago it didn’t even exist. That is, until Evelyn Berezin came along and produced the first standalone word processing machine. She previously had made the world’s first bank and airline system software.
She called her machine the Data Secretary, thinking that the new technology would eradicate the role of the human secretary.
The machine itself stood 40 inches high and contained thirteen semiconductor chips that Berezin patented. Unlike machines of past this one could delete, cut, copy, and paste — features we find ubiquitous today.
Berezin thrived in a man’s world, crushing all stereotypes that came her way. She felt compelled to lead the way in computer technology. Author and blogger Gwyn Headley sums it up perfectly:
“Without Ms. Berezin, there would be no Bill Gates, no Steve Jobs, no internet, no word processors, no spreadsheets; nothing that remotely connects business with the 21st century.”
Her influence is profound. One to remember.
Photo by Barton Silverman/New York Times
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