Stanford University’s Silicon Valley Archives currently holds “the largest assembly of Apple historical materials” stored within hundreds of boxes taking up over 600 feet of shelf space in an undisclosed facility outside San Fran.
The Associated Press published a story today detailing their recent visit to Stanford’s Apple Collection, which contains in-house video Apple recorded in the 80s, blueprints for early Macs, user manuals, company shirts, and drafts of Steve Jobs’ speeches.
Stanford historian Leslie Berlin had this to say about the collection:
“Through this one collection you can trace out the evolution of the personal computer. These sorts of documents are as close as you get to the unmediated story of what really happened.”
While you may have heard versions of how the name Apple came to be, an interview recorded with Wozniak and Jobs in the 80s (originally meant to be an in-house video for employees) has the two men recalling the exact moment:
Woz: “I remember driving down Highway 85. We’re on the freeway, and Steve mentions, `I’ve got a name: Apple Computer.’ We kept thinking of other alternatives to that name, and we couldn’t think of anything better.”
Jobs: “And also remember that I worked at Atari, and it got us ahead of Atari in the phonebook.”
That video and others were donated to Stanford in 1997 after Jobs returned to the company and plans for an in-house Apple museum were cancelled. Also included in the collection is this “Blue Busters” Ghostbusters-style internal ad featuring Apple executives, embedded below. The ad was originally shown in October 1984 at an international sales meeting in Hawaii. Blue Busters is obviously a not so subtle reference to their biggest competitor at the time, IBM.
Other items currently stored in the Stanford Apple Collection include (via AP):
- Thousands of photos by photographer Douglas Menuez, who documented Jobs’ years at NeXT Computer, which he founded in 1985 after he was pushed out of Apple.
- A company video spoofing the 1984 movie “Ghost Busters,” with Jobs and other executives playing “Blue Busters,” a reference to rival IBM.
- Handwritten financial records showing early sales of Apple II, one of the first mass-market computers.
- An April 1976 agreement for a $5,000 loan to Apple Computer and its three co-founders: Jobs, Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, who pulled out of the company less than two weeks after its founding.
- A 1976 letter written by a printer who had just met Jobs and Wozniak and warns his colleagues about the young entrepreneurs: “This joker (Jobs) is going to be calling you … They are two guys, they build kits, operate out of a garage.”
The archive shows the Apple founders were far ahead of their time, Lowood said.
“What they were doing was spectacularly new,” he said. “The idea of building computers out of your garage and marketing them and thereby creating a successful business – it just didn’t compute for a lot of people.”
- Steve Wozniak on the problem with smartphones (9to5mac.com)
- Steve Jobs’ friends and Silicon Valley luminaries invited to private memorial on Oct. 16 at Stanford (9to5mac.com)