Burroughs Corporation Records,
1880-1998. Finding Aid.
681 boxes, 46
trays (approximately 450 cubic feet)
The collection contains
the records of the Burroughs Corporation, and its predecessors the American
Arithmometer Company and Burroughs Adding Machine Company. Materials include
corporate records, photographs, films and video tapes, scrapbooks, papers of
employees and records of companies acquired by Burroughs.
Minnesota Libraries. Charles Babbage Institute.
Access and Use
The records were given to the Charles Babbage Institute by Unisys
Corporation in 1991.
Access to the collection is unrestricted.
The Charles Babbage Institute holds the copyright to all materials in
the collection, except for items covered by a prior copyright (such as
published materials). Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair
use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).
Burroughs Corporation Records (CBI 90), Charles Babbage Institute,
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
The Burroughs Corporation Records are arranged into 111 series. Please
see the finding aid for each series for a box and folder list.
- Advertising Samples,
- John C. Alrich Papers,
- American Arithmometer
Company Records, 1886-1905
- Analysis of Competitor
Products (Competitive Information) and
Competitors’ Product Literature, 1907-1971
- Annual Meeting Records,
- Annual Report Photographs,
- Annual Reports,
- Lawrence Bewley Papers,
- Biography Files,
- Black Box Photograph
- Book Publications,
- Branch Office Photographs,
- Burroughs and Sperry
Merger Records, 1985-1989
- Burroughs Bulletin Photographs,
- Burroughs Machines, Ltd.
Records, 1909-1926, 1966-1974
- Robert G. Busse Scrapbook,
- Thomas Butler Papers,
- Charles R. Hadley Company
- Control Instrument
Corporation Records, 1948-1968
- Corporate and Recruiting
Brochures, circa 1930-1980
- Corporate Events,
- Corporate Identity
- Corporate Market
Development Group, 1983-1984
- Court Documentation,
- CUBE Correspondence,
- Frank Cullen Papers,
- Cumbernauld Plant
Technical Literature, 1976-1982
- Decisions in Force,
Photographs, circa 1950s-1960s
- Defense, Space, and
Special Systems Group, 1965-1971
- Detroit Area Divisions
- Edsger W. Dijkstra Papers,
- Distributive Organization
- Early Office Machine
- Early Office Machine
Product and Technical Literature, 1900-1966
- ElectroData Division
Photograph Collection, 1962-1980
- ElectroData Division
- Electronic Control
Division and Electronic Instrument Division Records, 1958-1966
- Executive Orders,
- Exhibits Photographs and
- Facility Literature,
- Facility Photographs,
- Field Force Letters,
- Financial Collection,
- Fragile Publications
- General Subject File,
circa 1904-circa 1990
- Glass Lantern Slide
Collection, circa 1945-1960
- Simon E. Gluck Papers,
- Gregory Publishing Company
Burroughs Manuals, 1976-1983
- Histories of Burroughs,
- HOBO Group Reports,
- Installation Stories,
- International Operations
- Norman L. Kreuder Papers,
- Langhorne Family
- Legion of Honor Records,
- Duncan L. MacDonald
- Mechanical Library,
- Miscellaneous Legal
- Narration Scripts and
Slide Presentations, 1948-1975
- Glen F. Nielsen Papers,
- Oversized and Mounted
Photographs, circa 1897-circa 1977
- Paoli Area Divisions
- Pasinski Family Papers,
- Passport Negatives,
- Patent and Trademark
- Patent Research and
Development Requests, 1946-1968
- Patent Research Division
- PDA and PMA
- Photograph Collection,
- Pike Adding Machine
Company Records, 1903-1911
- Policies and Procedures
- Press Clippings,
- Press Releases,
- Price and Style Lists,
- Product Literature,
- Product Photographs, circa
- Product and Testing
- Product Planning Records,
- Redactron Corporation
- Reference Photographs,
- L. P. Robinson Papers,
- L. P. Robinson and L. W.
Cali Papers, 1956-1960
- Sibyl M. Rock Papers,
- Sales Conventions Records,
- Sales Records,
- Salesmen's Manuals and
- Salesmen's Papers,
- Scientific Research
Society of America - Burroughs Branch Records, 1952-1962.
- SEC Forms and Stock
- Serial Publications,
- Shareholder Meetings and
- Martin Shuler Papers,
- Slide Collection, circa
- Standard Practices
Manuals, 1921, 1951
- Charles P. Staubach
- Don L. Stevens Papers,
- Strike Crime Reports,
- Subsidiary Product
- System Development
Corporation Records, 1946-1982
- Tax Appeal,
- Lyle Thompson Papers,
- Todd Company Records,
- Irven Travis Papers,
- United Foundations
Campaign Records, 1959-1969
- Universal Adding Machine
Company Records, 1900-1912
- Videotapes and Films,
- J. Jay Wolf Papers,
- World War II Era Records,
Historical Note of Burroughs Corporation
The Burroughs Corporation began in 1886 as the American Arithmometer
Company. It was formed with the intent of selling the adding machine invented
by William Seward Burroughs. The company started in St. Louis, Missouri where
Burroughs was living at the time. The company moved its entire operations to
Detroit, Michigan in 1904.
By 1905 the company had settled in Detroit and the name was changed to
the Burroughs Adding Machine Company, in honor of William S. Burroughs who had
died in 1898. Operations resumed almost immediately, and for about the next
fifty years, Burroughs grew into the biggest adding machine company in the
United States. It introduced many different products, including many variations
of the basic adding machine, typewriters, check protectors, ticketeers, and
In 1953 the Burroughs Adding Machine Company was renamed the Burroughs
Corporation, a name more reflective of their broad scope of products. They
still had a strong market in adding and calculating machines, especially at
banks and similar institutions. However, they were also moving into the
computer field about this time. Their experience with the military during WWII
also steered them toward the computer field, and they worked with the
government on numerous contracts after the end of the war.
As Burroughs Corporation concentrated more and more on computers, they
still marketed toward their prime customers, banking institutions. However, as
time passed, their mainframes and other computers were given a greater market.
IBM, of course, was far ahead of Burroughs in terms of sales and revenues, but
Burroughs was often the next competitor behind them.
In September 1986, Burroughs Corporation and Sperry Corporation
completed a merger that had been started over a year before. W. Michael
Blumenthal, president of Burroughs Corporation, and Joseph J. Kroger, president
of Sperry Corporation, became Chairman/CEO and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of
the new company -- Unisys Corporation. The merger, which was actually an
acquisition of Sperry by Burroughs for $4.8 billion, put Unisys into second
place in the computer market in 1986, with revenues of about $10.5 billion.
This was the largest merger in the computer industry's history, and although
impressive, Unisys was still only about 1/5 the size of IBM. A period of
reorganization followed the merger, with the closing of some facilities,
combining of similar departments in Burroughs and Sperry, and the divestment of
William Seward Burroughs, inventor of an adding machine and a founder
of the American Arithmometer Company (which was renamed in his honor in 1905),
was born in rural New York, although the date of Burroughs' birth has been hard
to establish, it was between 1855 and 1858. He became a bank clerk at the
Cayuga County National Bank in Auburn, New York in the 1870s, but eventually
moved to St. Louis for health reasons.
It was here, in the early 1880s, in a small area of the Boyer Machine
Company shop, that he started working on the bank clerk's dream--the adding
machine. After several years, he applied for a patent, eventually granted in
1888. The earliest machines were great prototypes, but when in the hands of
inexperienced users would give outrageous answers. Burroughs answered the
challenge by designing (in a few days), the "dash pot," a mechanism that
regulated the pull on the adding machine's handle.
The next challenge was to convince banks and businesses that they
needed this new machine, surprisingly not an easy thing to do. With a few
salesmen who doubled as the service department, the American Arithmometer
Company set out to add a new machine into the "modern-day" offices at the end
of the nineteenth century. William Seward Burroughs only glimpsed the beginning
of the office automation phenomenon, for he died, in Citronelle, Alabama, in
Collection Scope and Content Note
The collection contains the records of the Burroughs Corporation, and
its predecessors the American Arithmometer Company and Burroughs Adding Machine
Company. Materials include corporate records, photographs, films and video
tapes, scrap books, papers of employees and records of companies acquired by
Burroughs during the companies tenure in the adding machine and computer
industry, such as the System Development Corporation, Charles R. Hadley
Company, Control Instrument Company, ElectroData and Todd Company.
The Burroughs Corporation Records includes over 100,000 photographs
depicting the entire visual history of Burroughs from its origin as the
American Arithmometer Corporation in 1886 to its merger with the Sperry
Corporation to form the Unisys Corporation in 1986. 550 of these photographs
have been scanned and stored in the
Database. The database can be searched by subject keywords, names,
places, dates or historical period. This project is part of the University of
Minnesota's IMAGES union database.
The corporate records of the Sperry Corporation were donated by the
Unisys Corporation to the
Hagley Museum and
Library, in Wilmington, Delaware.
- This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog
of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about
related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these
William Seward, 1858?-1898,
- Acme Carbon
and Ribbon Company.
Adding Machine Company.
- Charles R.
- Mittag &
Billing Machine Company.
- Pike Adding
- Todd Company.
Adding Machine Company.
- Accounting machines.
- Banks and banking --
- Bookkeeping machines.
- Computer industry.
- Computer industry -- History.
- Computers -- History.
- Computers -- Research.
- Industries -- Michigan --
- Office equipment and supplies
- Business records.
- Motion pictures.
- Video recordings.