From an interview with
Cynthia Fontayne, Vassar '67:
"That was also in the Misc. I saved that page too. Vassar Miscellany News, 'Professor Nelson Talk Analyzes P.R.I.D.E.," written by Laurie Wedeles, I think she was class of '66, and I think she was a sociology major as well. But it was in the February 3, 1965 issue. Nelson was there my sophomore and junior years, so that would have been '64 to '66. He appears in the '65-'66 catalog. He doesn't appear in the previous one because I think he was a last minute hire to replace a woman who didn't show up.
"It says, 'In a lecture last Wednesday entitled "Computers, Creativity, and the Nature of the Written Word," Theodore Nelson of the sociology department challenged the public to be receptive to new uses of computers, or as he prefers to call them, "general purpose machines."
"I think the story in the Misc. is probably when hypertext appeared for the first time in print. He called it PRIDE, which was an acronym, something weird, like retrieval indexing and document something or other.
[Note:according to the Misc News account it was "Personalized Retrieval Indexing and Documentary Evolution"]
"One of the courses I took with him which was required for sociology majors was statistical analysis. I can't even add and so I thought, 'Uh-oh!' but then I decided this was going to have to be my major, later on in my career, thanks to Ted. He gave the course, and I took it because I thought, 'Well, it's probably going to be more interesting than if I took it from a statistician,' and sure enough, we used the IBM-360 that was over in Blodgett, it filled up half a room, it was like the revenge of Univac, and we sat there, and we handed out a questionnaire in which he was trying to analyze acquintanceship networks on campus, who knew whom, who admired whom, and who...not disliked...'whom did you not wish to emulate,' he had some kind way of putting it.
"So it was like the friendship network, the hatred network, the admiration network. And we tried to use this counter-sorter, and we sat there and key punched all of this stuff to try and develop these linkages, based on Erving Goffman's small group theory, was part of what we were doing, so this was my statistics course. So I was probably the first class of Vassar people who used the computer to satisfy the statistics, this was in the days when there were no calculators...so I was saved by the dawn of the computer age because I never would have been able to pass the math part of any of these things.
But Ted introduced this whole concept of how do you store and retrieve information in a meaningful way, and he talked about it that Spring and used the expression 'hyper-text' which the first time he said it was hyphenated, and in fact in the report in the Misc., Laurie Wedeles, who reported on it, used it in a hyphenated manner, although I think in my notes...see, I had just dug this stuff out to go to my 25th reunion and one of the notebooks that I saved, I think I have four class notebooks, three of them were Ted's classes, has it.
"I was just kind of looking through because we were all sending memorabilia in for our reunion...and I started reading these things, and there was 'hypertext.'"