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Pamela McCorduck Collection

Identifier: 1978-0001

Scope and Content Note

The Pamela McCorduck Collection is housed in seven archival boxes and are arranged in four series. The series designated are Project Materials; Transcripts, Research and Related Materials; Interview Recordings; and Diaries. The collection includes correspondence, interview transcripts, articles and other published and unpublished documents, and audio tape cassettes.

The collection is made up primarily of the interview recordings McCorduck conducted, interview transcripts, and the related research materials in the form of articles provided to McCorduck by the interviewee. The remaining material relates to the artificial intelligence oral history project as a whole.

Please note that the transcripts and any related materials for the Allen Newell interviews are part of the Allen Newell Collection, a collection of digitized material from the Newell Collection. Access to the Allen Newell Collection is through The interview transcripts (5) and related material can be found by searching under the term "Pamela McCorduck Book project." The transcripts are not available in the Pamela McCorduck Collection.


  • 1972-1979



The interviews, transcripts and audio cassettes, that are available without restrictions are: Bruce Buchanan, Hubert L. Dreyfus, Julian Feldman, H. L. Gelernter, I. J. Good, Allen Newell, Seymour Papert, Herbert Simon, and Joseph Weizenbaum

All other interviews, transcripts and audio cassettes, are available for research only. Publication of these interviews are restricted by current copyright law. The diaries are closed for 5 years following McCorduck's death.

Records History

Pamela McCorduck conducted a series of interviews with researchers involved in artificial intelligence (AI) during 1974 and 1975. The project was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The interviews resulted in McCorduck's book Machines Who Think: A Personal Inquiry into the History and Prospects of Artificial Intelligence (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1979). The collection includes interviews with Carnegie Mellon researchers Allen Newell and Herbert Simon. In total, McCorduck conducted interviews with thirty-six scientists: Paul Armer, Alex Bernstein, W.W. Bledsoe, Ted Brain, Bruce Buchanan, Max Clowes, L. Stephen Coles, Hubert Dreyfus, Edward Feigenbaum, Julian Feldman, Edward Fredkin, Herbert Gelernter, I.J. Good, Leon Harmon, John McCarthy, Donald MacKay, Donald Mitchie, Marvin Minsky, Joel Moses, Allen Newell, Nils Nilsson, Seymour Papert, Bertram Raphael, Raj Reddy, Nathaniel Rochester, Charles Rosen, Arthur Samuel, Oliver Selfridge, Claude Shannon, J.C. Shaw, Herbert A. Simon, James Slagle, Ray Solomonoff, Fred Tonge, Joseph Weizenbaum, and Lofti Zadeh. The interviews look at each scientists' involvement in artificial intelligence. The book traces the evolution of artificial intelligence from its history and beginning to its current state (as of 1979) and its future.


7 Linear feet (7 boxes)




This collection consists of 7 linear feet of transcripts and audio tapes of interviews on the history of artificial intelligence, which were conducted in 1974-75. Among those interviewed are Allen Newell and Herbert Simon. Also included are McCorduck's diaries, whcih are closed to researchers at this time.


This collection of transcripts, audio cassettes and related materials was donated to the Carnegie Mellon University Archives by Pamela McCorduck in September 1978. The diaries were donated in 2017.

Pamela McCorduck Collection
Hillary Bober Updated by Emily Davis in 2022 and 2023
June 3, 2008
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Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021