A Tribute to

Dr. J. Presper Eckert

Co-Inventor of ENIAC

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J. Presper Eckert's Childhood

Pres Eckert was born on April 9, 1919 in Philadelphia. He was the only son of a prominent real estate developer and contractor and grew up in the Germantown section of town. He was christened by Russell H. Conwell, the charismatic Northern Baptist minister, founder of Temple University and author of the famous "Acres of Diamonds" motivational speech. His father consulted on construction projects in America and Europe combining business trips with family vacations, usually in the summer. By the time he was twelve years old Pres had traveled over 125,000 miles, visiting all 48 states, Alaska, most of Europe's great cities, and Egypt.  As a result the collection includes many photos of Pres as a child in exotic locations and with some famous individuals. 

Pres went to The Penn Charter school in Germantown and developed a reputation as a math wiz and electronic genius at an early age as a result of his tinkering  with radios and other  electronic devices. An early radio he built as a child is included in the collection. If you are interested in reading a detailed account of Pres' upbringing and family background there is a wonderful article written by Peter Eckstein and published in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1996

Here is a sample of some of the items related to Pres' childhood in the collection.
Click on an image to see a larger version.

Pres on the Beach with his Pail.JPG (161204 bytes) Two Yrear Old Pres.jpg (71009 bytes) On_the_Course_with_Warren_72.JPG (23819 bytes) On_the_Set_with_Douglas_Fairbanks.JPG (32212 bytes) Riding Camel72.JPG (35199 bytes) Wagon Ride.JPG (36522 bytes) Cradle Roll Certificate72.JPG (37347 bytes) Sunday School Promotion72.JPG (50643 bytes) Radio Drawing 1924.JPG (21771 bytes) Radio.JPG (27668 bytes) Science Project.JPG (33526 bytes) Knighthood.JPG (42621 bytes)

Among the more interesting items from Pres' childhood is a book of kindergarten style craft projects dated 1923. It's 19 pages with twenty three art constructions. Click on the cover below to see some examples of the contents.

Continue on to

The Moore School and ENIAC

 

 

 

All text and images unless otherwise noted 2000 Daniel F. McGrath, Jr.