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Grace Murray Hopper

9 December 1906 - 1 January 1992

Photo #: NH 96919-KN Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USNR

Grace Brewster Murray was born on 9 December 1906 in New York, New York.  She claims as her second hometown, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, to which she first traveled in the summer of 1907.  She attended Vassar College, graduating in 1928, with Phi Beta Kappa and a Vassar College Fellowship.  She attended Yale University, where she received the degrees of MA in 1930, and PhD in 1934, together with election to Sigma Xi and two Sterling Scholarships.

She returned to Vassar as an Assistant in Mathematics in 1931, becoming successively, Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor.  During this time, she received a Vassar Faculty Fellowship and studied at New York University (1941-42).

In December 1943, she entered the United States Naval Reserve and attended the UNSR Midshipman’s School-W at Northampton, Massachusetts.  Upon graduation, she was commissioned Lieutenant (JG) and ordered to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard.  Here, she learned to program the first large-scale digital computer, Mark I.  In 1946, she resigned from her leave-of-absence from Vassar and joined the Harvard Faculty as a Research Fellow in Engineering Sciences and Applied Physics at the Computation Laboratory where work continued on the Mark and Mark II computers for the Navy.  In 1946, she received the Naval Ordnance Development Award.

In 1949, she joined as Senior Mathematician, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in Philadelphia, then building the UNIVAC I, the first commercial large-scale electronic computer.  She remained with the company as a Senior Programmer when it was bought by Remington Rand and later merged into the Sperry Corporation.  She was appointed Systems Engineer, Director for Automatic Programming in 1952 when she published the first paper on compilers.  In 1964, she became Staff Scientist, Systems Programming.  She retired from the UNIVAC Division of the Sperry Rand Corporation in December 1971, while on military leave.

During the years from 1952 to the present, she has published over fifty papers and articles on software and programming languages.  Her interest in applications programming sent her to the first meeting of CODASYL with a strong interest in the development of COBOL.  She has also served on the ANSI Xe.4 Committee on the standardization of computer languages.  She also served on the CODASYL Executive Committee.

She has served, starting in 1959, first as Visiting Lecturer; in 1962, as Visiting Assistant Professor; in 1962, as Visiting Associate Professor; and since 1973, as Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1961, she was appointed Professorial Lecturer in Management Science at the George Washington University and served until 1978.

In 1962, she was elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  In 1964, she was selected to receive the 1964 Achievement Award by the Society of Women Engineers.  In 1969, the Data Processing Management Association selected her as the first Computer Sciences “Man-of-the-Year.”  The American Federation of Information Processing Societies gave her the Harry Goode Memorial Award in 1970.  In 1917, the UNIVAC Division of the Sperry Corporation initiated the Grace Murray Hopper Award for young computer personnel to be awarded annually by the Association for Computer Machinery.  In 1962, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering from the Newark College of Engineering, a Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal from Yale University, and was made a Fellow of the Association of Computer Programmers and Analysts.  In 1963, she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the C. W. Post College of Long Island University, was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, was present with the Legion of Merit by the Navy, and was selected as a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society.  In 1974, she received the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws, from the University of Pennsylvania at the 50th Anniversary Convocation honoring the Moore School of Electrical Engineer.  In 1976, she received the Distinguished Member Award of the Washington, D. C. Chapter of the Association from Computer Machinery, and an honorary Doctor of Science from Pratt Institute.  In 1979, she received the W. Wallace McDowell Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Society.  In 19870, she received the Meritorious Service Award from the Navy, and honorary Doctor of Science from Bucknell University, and an honorary Doctor of Science from Arcadia University from Loyola University, Chicago and the Southern Illinois State University and an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from the George Washington University, Washington, D. C.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Data Processing Management Association, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Franklin Institute, the U. S. Naval Institute, and the International Oceanographic Foundation.

She maintained he close connection with the Naval Reserve and was successively promoted to Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander and Commander.  At the end of 1966, she was retired with the rank of Commander in the Retired Reserve.  She was recalled to active duty on 1 August 1967.  On 2 August 1963, she was promoted to the rank of Captain on the retired list of the Naval Reserve.  She is presently serving, on active duty, with the Naval Data Automation Command, as NAVDAC-OOH.

[Note: Rear Admiral Grace Hopper retired on 14 August 1986 and passed away on 1 January 1992. She was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Guided Missile Destroyer USS Hopper (DDG-70) is named in her honor.]

Hartridge School, Plainfield, New Jersey
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York
  BA, Phi Beta Kappa
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, MA
  PhD, Sigma Xi
Vassar Faculty Fellow, New York University



Instructor to Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics, Vassar College 1931-43
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Barnard College 1943
Mathematical Officer, U. S. Navy, Bureau of Ordnance 1944-46
Research Fellow in Engineering Sciences and Applied Physics, Computation Laboratory, Harvard University 1946-49
Senior Mathematician, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation 1949-52
Systems Engineer, Director of Automatic Programming Development, UNIVAC Division of the Sperry Corporation 1952-64
Visiting Lecturer to Adjunct Professor, Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania 1959-
Staff Scientist, Systems Programming, UNIVAC Division of Sperry Corporation (on military leave 1967-71) retired 1971 1964-71
Professorial Lecturer in Management Sciences, George Washington University 1971-78
Active Duty, U. S. Navy, serving as NAVDAC-OOH 1977-


Phi Beta Kappa   1928
Sigma Xi   1934
Naval Ordnance Development Award   1946
Fellow, IEEE   1962
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science   1963
Society of Women Engineers, SWE Achievement Award   1964
IEEE Philadelphia Section Achievement Award   1968
Data Processing Management Association, Computer Sciences “Man-of-the-Year” Award   1969
Upsilon Pi Epsilon, Honorary Member, Texas A&M, Alpha Chapter   1970
American Mothers Committee, Science Achievement Award   1970
American Federation of Information Processing Societies-Harry Goode Memorial Award   1970
Honorary Doctor of Engineering, Newark College of Engineering   1972
Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, Yale University   1972
Fellow, Association of Computer Programmers and Analysts   1972
Epsilon Delta Pi, Honorary Member, SUNY Potsdam Chapter   1973
Honorary Doctor of Science, C. W. Post College of Long Island University                 1973
Elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering   1973
Legion of Merit   1973
Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society   1973
Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Pennsylvania   1974
Distinguished Member Award, Washington, D. C. Chapter, ACM   1976
Honorary Doctor of Science, Pratt Institute   1976
W. Wallace McDowell Award, IEEE Computer Society   1979
Honorary Doctor of Science, Linkoping University, Sweden   1980
Honorary Doctor of Science, Bucknell University   1980
Honorary Doctor of Science, Arcadia University, Nova Scotia   1980
Meritorious Service Medal   1980
Honorary Doctor of Science, Loyola University, Chicago   1981
Honorary Doctor of Science, Southern Illinois State University   1981
Honorary Doctor of Public Service, George Washington University, Washington, D. C.   1981


Association for Computing Machinery    
Data Processing Management Association    
Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers    
Society of Women Engineers    
British Computer Society    
Association of Computer Programmers and Analysts    
The Franklin Institute    
International Oceanographic Foundation    
Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association    
The Planetary Society    
New York Academy of Sciences    
The Oceanic Society    
American Institute of Industrial Engineers    
Member, CODASYL Executive Committee   1971-
Member, American Management Association Management Systems Division Council   1972-
Member, National Academy of Engineering   1973
Member, 1975, IEEE SPECTRUM Editorial Board   1975


Apprentice Seaman and Midshipman   4 May-71 June 1944
  USNR Midshipman School-W,  Northampton, Massachusetts    
Lieutenant (Junior Grade)   27 June 1944
Lieutenant   1 June 1946
Lieutenant Commander   1 April 1952
Commander   1 July 1957
Retired with rank of Commander   31 December 1966
Recalled to Active Duty   1 August 1967



                American Theatre
                World War II
                National Defense
                Armed Forces Service
                Naval Reserve



                Mary Murray Chapter, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
                Dames of the Loyal Legion
                The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
                The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania
                The Huguenot Society of Pennsylvania
                The Pechin Society
                Valley Forge Historical Society
                New Hampshire Historical Society
                New England Historic Genealogical Society
                National Genealogical Society
                New York Genealogical Biographical Society
                Connecticut Society of Genealogists
                Suffolk County, Long Island Historical Society
                Main Historical Society
                Wolfeboro Historical Society
                New Hampshire Society of Genealogists
                Clan Campbell Society
                Clan MacPhearson Association
                The Retired Officers Association



“The Education of a Computer” Meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery – May 1952

“The Education of a Computer” Symposium of Industrial Applications of Automatic Computing  Equipment – January 1953, Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City

“Compiling Routines” Computers and Automation – May 1953

Automatic Programming, “Definitions and Summary” Symposium on Automatic Programming for Digital Computers, Proceedings, pp. 1-5 and 148-149, Navy Mathematical Computing Advisory Panel, ONR, 1954

“Automatic Programming for Computers” Systems, Vol. 19, Sep-Oct 1955

“Automatic Coding for Digital Computers” Second Annual High-Speed Computer Conference 1955, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Feb 1955

“Automatic Coding – 1955” This Annual High Speed Computer Conference 1956, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge – Feb 1956

“The Interlude 1954-1956” Symposium of Advanced Programming Methods for Digital Computers, Proceedings, pp. 1-2.  Navy Mathematical Computing Advisory Panel, ONR, Jun 1956

“Programming Business-Data Processors” Control Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 10, Oct 1956, pp. 101-106

“Tomorrow – Automatic Programming” Petroleum Refiner, Vol. 36, No. 2, Feb 1957, pp. 109-112

“Automatic Programming for Computers” Punched Card Annual, Vol. 5, 1956-57, pp. 197-198

“Computer Programs ‘in English’” Systems, Vol. 21, No. 5, Sep-Oct 1957, pp. 13-14

“Automatic Programming for Business Applications” American Management Association, Fourth Annual Electronics Conference Handbook, 1958, New York, New York

“Automatic Programming in Business and Industry” University of Alabama, Proceedings of Electronic Data Processing Conference, May 1958, pp. 1-5

“From Programmer to Computer” Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, Vol. 50, Nov 58, p. 1661

“Automatic Programming – Present Status and Future Trends” London, England – Nov 1958

“Automatic Programming Language and Programming Aids” U. S. Army Artillery and Missile School, Proceedings of Computers for Artillery Conference, Feb 1959, pp. 191-192

“Conversion of Electronic Data-Processing” American Institute of Industrial Engineers, Proceedings of 10th National Conference, May 1959, pp. 157-159

“Education can be ‘Secondary’” Systems for Educators, Vol. 6, No. 2, Nov-Dec 1959, p. 8

“Progress in Automatic Coding for Business Data-Handling” Automation, Vol. 6, No. 5, May 1959, pp. 162-166

“A Data-Processing Compiler” National Machine Accountants Association, Data Processing 1959, Proceedings, pp. 69-76

“The Development of Automatic Programming” Machine and Accounting and Data Processing, The Punched Card Semi-Annual, Vol. 8, 1959, pp. 28-32

“Automatic Coding – 1960” Automatic Data Processing Seminar for Federal Executives USDA, Graduate School, Washington, D. C.

“Business Data Processing – A Review” Proceedings of the IFIP Congress ’62, pp. 35-39

“Business Data Processing” Tydschrift voor Efficientie in Docuentatie Jaargang 33, No. 6, 1962, pp. 269-273

“Automatic Coding to COBOL” Historical Development: AIEE 1962, Conference paper 62-397

“Automatic Coding” Proceedings of the NOMA Conference, Tokyo, Japan Jun 1965

“Computers and Their People” Proceedings of the NOMA Conference, Kyoto, Japan, Jun 1965

“Language Standardization Across Manufacturers” Proceedings of the DPMA International Fall Conference, Los Angeles, Oct 1966

“A Language of Their Own” Financial Times, London, 11 Dec 1967, Annual Computer Supplement

“Standardization of High Level Languages” AFIPS Conference Proceedings, Vol. 34, p. 608, 1969, Spring Joint Computer Conference, May 1969, AFIPS Press, Montvale, New Jersey

“Looking ahead to the 70’s” Proceedings of the UNIVAC Users Association, Sep 1969, pp. 1-9

“Standardization of High Level Programming Languages” Data Processing, Col. XIV, Jun 1969, pp. 329-335

“Standardization and the Future of Computers” Data Management, Vol. 8, No. 4, Apr 1970, pp. 32-35

“Possible Futures and Present Actions” Proceedings of the Fifth Australian Computer Conference, Brisbane, 1972, pp. 272-276

“Dispersal of Computer Power” Proceedings of Conference ’73, Data Processing Institute, Ottawa, 1973, pp. 74-80

“Technology: Future Directions” Proceedings of Conference ’74, Data Processing Institute, Ottawa 1974, pp. 251-26

“David and Goliath” in Computers in the Navy, Captain Jan Prokop, SC, USN, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1976


Published:Fri Apr 20 06:33:40 EDT 2018