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Guide to the Esther Dyson papers
X2780.2004; X2957.2005  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Separated Material
  • Related Collections at Other Repositories

  • Title: Esther Dyson papers
    Identifier/Call Number: X2780.2004; X2957.2005
    Contributing Institution: Computer History Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 36 Linear feet, 28 record cartons, 3 manuscript boxes
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1980-1996
    Date (inclusive): 1974-2001
    Abstract: The Esther Dyson papers contain material that documents Dyson’s career analyzing and creating projections on emerging technologies with her newsletter Release 1.0, and her interest and investment in tech start-ups with her venture capitalism firm EDventure Holdings. The collection dates from 1974 to 2001, with the bulk of material from 1980 to 1996, and includes material related to Dyson’s research on technology companies, products, and topics.
    Languages: The collection is primarily in English, with a small amount of material in Russian, German, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Romanian, Croatian, and Spanish.
    creator: Dyson, Esther, 1951-

    Access Restrictions

    Material in box 8, folder 31 contains social security numbers. Researchers must use a redacted photocopy of this restricted material for research until the restriction is lifted at the death of the number holder. Otherwise the collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    The Computer History Museum (CHM) can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Requests for copying and permission to publish, quote, or reproduce any portion of the Computer History Museum’s collection must be obtained jointly from both the copyright holder (if applicable) and the Computer History Museum.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], [Date], Esther Dyson papers, Lot X[#], Box [#], Folder [#], Catalog [#], Computer History Museum.
    Note: For this collection the lot number citation will either be X2780.2004 or X2957.2005.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Esther Dyson, 2004.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Esther Dyson was born July 14, 1951, in Zürich, Switzerland, to physicist Freeman Dyson and mathematician Verena Huber-Dyson. At age 16, Dyson was accepted to Harvard University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1972. After graduation, she went to work at Forbes as a fact-checker and then reporter from 1974 to 1977. In 1977, she started working as a Wall Street securities analyst for New Court Securities (later called Rothschild) and then Oppenheimer and Company, specializing in high-tech and software companies.
    In 1982, Dyson began working with Rosen Research firm and its founder, venture capitalist Ben Rosen. The next year, she bought the firm from Rosen, which included the newsletter Rosen’s Electronic News and the annual PC Forum conference. She renamed the firm EDventure Holdings and the newsletter Release 1.0, and began organizing PC Forum, which she helmed each year until its last conference in 2006. After Dyson took it over, PC Forum was considered one of the premier conferences in the technology industry.
    Dyson published Release 1.0 from 1983 through 2006, with a break in 1985 when she accepted an offer to edit Ziff-Davis’ short-lived newsletter Computer Industry Daily (CID), which only lasted a few months. Release 1.0 focused on Dyson’s analysis and projections of emerging technologies, and the software and technology industries. As a paid-subscription publication, Release 1.0 had a fairly small readership but its subscribers were considered highly influential in the industry. With EDventure Holdings, Dyson has invested in technology start-ups, more recently focusing on health care and aerospace. In the late 1980s, she started investing in Eastern and Central European technology ventures. She was an early investor in Flickr, Evernote, Medstory, and Square, and was active in the sale of Flickr to Yahoo! and Medstory to Microsoft.
    In the 1990s, Dyson became involved in internet public policy. She chaired several organizations, including the National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIIAC) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and she was a founding chair of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
    Dyson’s book, Release 2.0: A Design for Living in the Digital Age, was published in 1997, and she has written columns for the New York Times, ZDNet, Project Syndicate, the Guardian, Content magazine, and other publications. Dyson sold EDventure Holdings, Release 1.0, and PC Forum to CNET Networks in 2004. She left CNET three years later, but has continued to work under the EDventure Holdings name. She also sits on the boards of several companies and nonprofits.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    The Esther Dyson papers are comprised of material Dyson collected from 1974 to 2001, with the bulk of material from 1980 to 1996, related to her work analyzing and making projections on emerging technologies, her industry newsletter Release 1.0, and her venture capitalism firm EDventure Holdings.
    The largest part of the collection contains material related to various topics, companies, and products that reflect Dyson’s venture capitalism and interest in the computer and software industry. A smaller but significant part of the collection relates to Dyson’s industry-analyst newsletter Release 1.0 and its Eastern European-focused sister publication Rel-EAST, including edited drafts of the newsletters and material used for research on the subjects, products, and companies she wrote about. The smallest part of the collection consists of books, manuals, periodicals, and computer industry conference proceedings and workbooks that are focused on computer technology, software, programming, and development.


    The collection is arranged into 3 series:
    Series 1, Subject files, 1974-2001, bulk 1980-1996
    Series 2, Release 1.0 files, 1979-1996
    Series 3, Books, manuals, periodicals, and conference material, 1982-1992

    Separated Material

    Software was separated from the main collection (X2957.2005). To view catalog records for separated material, search the CHM catalog at http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/search/ .

    Related Collections at Other Repositories

    Esther Dyson Papers, 1971-1999; MC 755. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Computer industry--Capital investments
    Dyson, Esther-1951
    EDventure Holdings Inc.
    Internet governance
    Release 1.0