Papers of Esther Dyson, 1971-1999 (inclusive), 1978-1998 (bulk).
- Majority of material found within 1978-1998
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Use
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
17.51 linear feet ((42 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 2 folio+ folders, 3 photograph folders, 11 audiotapes, 2 videotapes, and electronic records.)
Series I, Engagements, 1978-1999 (#1.1-27.4, FD.1, F+D.1), contains documents pertaining to conferences, forums, and other events that Dyson planned and organized, as well as conferences at which Dyson spoke or attended. The bulk of the material arrived in large groupings ordered chronologically, presumably taken from binders or filing cabinets. Most documents are ordered chronologically, in some cases, correspondence (such as an invitation to speak) received the previous year was grouped with documents about the event itself; original groupings were maintained. This series includes a few professional daily planners; correspondence inviting Dyson to speak at events; daily itineraries of meetings and talks that Dyson delivered; programs for conferences Dyson planned or attended; and Dyson's annotated schedules (including her travel plans and meals). In addition to highlighting Dyson's professional engagements, these highly detailed annotated schedules provide a fair amount of personal information about Dyson's life as she often handwrote additional notes and impressions of events and meetings. Information about her closest contacts and family typically appear in the annotated schedules. Also included in this series are published transcriptions of speeches and presentations delivered at PC Forum (Platforms for Communication Forum), that Dyson planned, organized, and produced. Dyson developed relationships with now widely-known influential individuals, such as Benjamin Rosen and Bill Gates, who shaped the personal computing world; these influential leaders attended and brain-stormed at PC Forum. There is material documenting Dyson's earliest professional years, but the most detailed information exists for the period post-1986. Correspondence and schedules pertaining to the publicity campaign for Dyson's second book, Release 2.0, is found in this series, as is a small amount of personal material, such as wedding or dinner invitations. The series is arranged chronologically by event. Additional materials related to speaking engagements, such as recordings, are located in Series V.
Series II, Correspondence, 1971-1993 (#27.5-34.6, PD.1-PD.2), contains professional correspondence as well as personal letters Dyson exchanged with her mother, Verena Huber-Dyson, her father, Freeman Dyson, and her siblings and some personal items. These letters, especially those exchanged with her mother, contain details about Dyson's personal life, including her romantic relationships. Love-letters and poems from admirers are found in his series as well. The majority of this series is professional in nature and pertains to Dyson's work on the computer industry newsletters Release 1.0 and Computer Industry Daily, including detailed readers' feedback to the newsletters. It also includes feedback about Dyson's speaking engagements and PC Forum, as well as investment opportunities and other business plans. In March 1985, Release 1.0, ceased publication and was replaced by Computer Industry Daily, which Dyson also edited. Within three months, that project ceased production and Dyson resumed publishing the monthly Release 1.0. The series is arranged beginning with personal correspondence arranged alphabetically, followed by professional correspondence arranged alphabetically by company and ordered chronologically thereunder.
Series III, Writings by and about and personal, 1972-1996 (#34.7-38.11), contains clippings of articles, press releases, announcements, interviews, etc., which were either written about Dyson, and articles and essays by Dyson. In her role as editor and producer of Release 1.0, Dyson interviewed a number of influential figures; interviews Dyson conducted are included here. Despite its approximate $400 annual subscription cost, Release 1.0 attracted a loyal following among software manufacturers, investors, distributors, and end-users--leaders in the computer industry. Participation in PC Forum, where the most established computer executives met and made deals with the industry's young movers and shakers, was limited to subscribers of Dyson's newsletter. This series is arranged alphabetically and chronologically thereunder. Mailing lists and planning documents about Release 1.0 and Computer Industry Daily are located in Series IV. Additional interviews of Dyson as well as interviews she conducted are located in Series V.
Series IV, Other professional work, 1979-1996 (#38.12-42.7, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.3, E.1), contains reports; mailing lists; contracts; phone messages; drafts; personnel information; financial and budget materials; and documents for Computer Industry Daily and other projects, such as the Sunball Spring Training Program, in which Dyson invested. It also contains completed surveys sent to beta readers of Computer Industry Daily as well as files pertaining to her consulting work and some research files. While Dyson wrote directional annotations on nearly each item, this series arrived loose and largely unordered. Loose documents identified in some way by Dyson were grouped together here, with Dyson's original titles retained. For instance, Dyson compiled research files on leading figures in the computer industry, labeling these documents "faces." They represent a variety of documents, including resumes, clippings, published catalogs, and reports containing biographical information. Dyson's web site for EDventure Holdings is being captured periodically as part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). This series is arranged alphabetically by company name and chronologically thereunder.
Series V, Audiovisual, 1985-1990, n.d. (#T-489.1 - T-489.11, Vt-257.1 - Vt-257.2), contains audiocassettes and videotapes of Dyson being interviewed and/or interviewing leaders in the computer world. Often, she would interview colleagues and the most influential people in the world of computers in order to write "plannable news" on computing trends in her publication, Release 1.0. In some cases, interviews were transcribed and transcriptions appear in the collection as noted. See Series I and III for additional materials pertaining to talks, including transcripts of interviews.
Dyson wrote prolifically, analyzing the impact of emerging technologies and markets on economies and societies. In addition to assuming responsibility for production of Rosen's newsletter, Dyson also began organizing an annual computer forum which grew from the annual Semi-conductor Forum sponsored by Rosen Research. Platforms for Communication Forum, commonly referred to as PC Forum, quickly became one of the most important annual conferences in the trade. In 1984 while she continued to write and edit Release 1.0, Dyson joined forces with the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company to launch a daily newspaper, Computer Industry Daily, in 1985. Production of that publication, aimed at chief executives of hardware and software companies, financial analysts, investors, and journalists who followed the industry, began in March 1985. The daily newsletter experienced setbacks from the start; after three months, Ziff-Davis decided to cease its production. Undaunted, Dyson handled the disappointment by resuming production of Release 1.0 under the direction of her recently-established venture capital firm, EDventure Holdings. The re-publication of Release 1.0 was greeted enthusiastically by the computer trade. In 1997, in response to consumer demand, Dyson published a book called Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age.
As the founder and president of EDventure Holdings, Dyson has routinely traveled to Eastern Europe and Russia, and helped to shepherd the growth of emerging technology companies. An active participant in several non-profit and advisory organizations, Dyson served as founding chairperson of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) from 1998 to 2000. In the role of angel investor and philanthropist, she has championed digital technology, biotechnology, and, more recently, space travel.
- Series I. Engagements, 1978-1999 (#1.1-27.4, FD.1, F+D.1)
- Series II. Correspondence, 1971-1993 (#27.5-34.6, PD.1-PD.2)
- Series III. Writings by and about and personal, 1972-1996, n.d. (#34.7-38.11)
- Series IV. Other professional work, 1979-1996 (#38.12-42.7, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.3, E.1)
- Series V. Audiovisual, 1985-1990, n.d. (#T-489.1 - T-489.11, Vt-257.1 - Vt-257.2)
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers of Esther Dyson were given to the Schlesinger Library by Esther Dyson in August 1999.
By: Marilyn Morgan with assistance by Emily Underwood
- Angels (Investors)--United States
- Artificial intelligence
- Computer networks--social aspects
- Electronic records
- High technology industries--Planning
- Internet industry--Planning
- Internet--Social aspect
- New business enterprises--Finance
- PC Forum
- Venture capital--United States
- Web sites
- Women journalists
- Women-owned business enterprises
- Dyson, Esther, 1951- . Papers of Esther Dyson, 1971-1999 (inclusive), 1978-1998 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Rosa Raisel Fund, the Class of 1958, and the Ardis B. James fund.
- EAD ID
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