(via A Piece of Email History Comes to the American History Museum | Around The Mall)
Shiva Ayyadurai’s 1979 diagram of his email program. Photo courtesy of the American History Museum

In the summer of 1979, a 14-year-old high school student named Shiva Ayyadurai was given an unusual project. As part of his part-time work for the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, he received a request from Dr. Lesley Michelson, who managed the computer lab: write a special program for the school’s doctors and other staff to use to communicate. “He said, ‘Shiva, we have this interoffice mail system, but I think we could create an electronic mail system,’” Ayyadurai, now a professor at MIT, recalls. “I had no idea what he was saying. I thought he literally meant sending electricity through paper.”
Ayyadurai spent the next few months writing a groundbreaking program he simply titled “Email.” Although previous computer networks had the capacity to send information between terminals, “Email” was one of the first to include a number of features we now take for granted: subject and body fields, inboxes, outboxes, cc, bcc, attachments, and others. He based these elements directly off of the interoffice mail memos the doctors had been using for years, in hopes of convincing people to actually use the newfangled technology…

(via A Piece of Email History Comes to the American History Museum | Around The Mall)

Shiva Ayyadurai’s 1979 diagram of his email program. Photo courtesy of the American History Museum

In the summer of 1979, a 14-year-old high school student named Shiva Ayyadurai was given an unusual project. As part of his part-time work for the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, he received a request from Dr. Lesley Michelson, who managed the computer lab: write a special program for the school’s doctors and other staff to use to communicate. “He said, ‘Shiva, we have this interoffice mail system, but I think we could create an electronic mail system,’” Ayyadurai, now a professor at MIT, recalls. “I had no idea what he was saying. I thought he literally meant sending electricity through paper.”

Ayyadurai spent the next few months writing a groundbreaking program he simply titled “Email.” Although previous computer networks had the capacity to send information between terminals, “Email” was one of the first to include a number of features we now take for granted: subject and body fields, inboxes, outboxes, cc, bcc, attachments, and others. He based these elements directly off of the interoffice mail memos the doctors had been using for years, in hopes of convincing people to actually use the newfangled technology…

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