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Herman Hollerith: Electric Tabulating Device, 1890

An Impressive Student

Herman Hollerith, the son of German immigrants, was born February 29, 1860, in Buffalo, New York. Not suited to conventional schooling, Hollerith left at the age of nine and was privately tutored until entering the City College of New York in 1875, then graduating with distinction in engineering from the Columbia School of Mines in 1879. He impressed his instructor, Professor W. P. Trowbridge, who immediately hired him as an assistant, and continued to employ him as a statistician when he moved to become Chief Special Agent to the Census Bureau. There, analyzing the 1880 data, Hollerith discovered the inefficiencies and errors in information collection and handling.