Welcome to the Datatron 205 and 220 Blog

This blog is a companion to T J Sawyer's Web Page that outlines the history of the Burroughs Datatron 205 and Paul Kimpel's incredible 205 and 220 emulators. Please visit those sites and return here to post any comments.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Gloria Bullock

This is Tom Sawyer again, noting a new page added to my Burroughs 205 history website.  There are many interesting people and personalities associated with the Datatron and one that has long interested me is Gloria Bullock.  Gloria shows up early in the organization - even before there was an ElectroData.  She is found in the Mathematics section of the fledgling organization, but there are references to her being involved with training too.

When I came across a 1959 Los Angeles Times story noting an Urban League award presented to Bullock by baseball star Roy Campenella, I knew this was someone I wanted to learn more about.  I was a big "Campy" fan.  The California Eagle characterized the award as being "for her part in perfecting computing machinery."

Last summer, I finally came across an internal Burroughs publication from 1957 that designated Bullock as the first Datatron programmer.  With the recent publicity surrounding the movie, "Hidden Figures," I thought it might be time to put together Gloria Bullock's chapter in the Datatron story.  (The book is much better than the movie, in my opinion.) The result is this page on the 205 history website.

My one regret is that I have not been able to close out the story beyond about 1977 when Gloria was living in Palo Alto near her younger sister in Moss Beach.  Perhaps, as is sometimes the case, a mention on the Internet might turn up someone who knows the answer.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your post piqued my curiosity so I googled Gloria Bullock's name to see if anything new had been posted about her. I was surprised to find her obituary on legacy.com: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/gloria-bullock-obituary?pid=1000000187052269&view=guestbook posted in November 2017

I've pasted the text below:

Gloria Millicent Bullock
October 12, 1929 - September 3, 2017
A Resident of Los Altos, California
Gloria Millicent Bullock was born in Harlem, New York City in 1929 to Sarah Hairston and Harry Bullock. Her father received in education in the south and moved north to seek better opportunities as an architect. As a Black man in the 1930's that did not happen. Her mother's family had come from Puerto Rico. Gloria's great grandfather came from China to work on the Transcontinental Railroad. At that time Chinese women were not allowed to immigrate to the USA.
Harlem in the 1930's was very, very poor. According to Gloria gangs ruled her neighborhood. Her father had taught both Gloria and her sister how to defend themselves. Both her parents valued education. In New York City at the end of the sixth grade Gloria tested so well she entered Hunter College Honors Junior High and High School for the gifted. From there Gloria received a full Scholarship to Hunter College and graduated 1950 with B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Physics.
Gloria's parents were devout Christians. She was baptized and attended a Black Church in Harlem where she loved to sing. As Gloria got older she preferred to go fishing with her dad and not be "dressed up" all day for Sunday church and activities. Sarah, her mother, was a highly skilled dress maker, seamstress, and outstanding cook.
With a BA in Mathematics Gloria was recruited to work in early research using mathematical models for the beginning of computers at a company in southern California. In her spare time she got her pilot's license and joined a flying club. With other companies her work involved extensive traveling: East Coast, Hawaii and Miami. While in Miami she would spend the weekends in the Caribbean. Being fluent in Spanish she traveled extensively in Central America and almost got in the middle of a coup.
Gloria was also married for a few years but to her disappointment she had no children. Her husband took a job as a school principal in Arctic Alaska where they worked with the native population. Gloria said she loved it. They canoed down the Fraser River and camped during several days of a rain storm in their tent. When the Eskimo's went whale fishing Gloria was there to help carve up the blubber and store it for the winter's food supply even though there was a small company store.
When I met Gloria she had left her 25 years in industry and decided to make a difference with kids. That transition included extensive course work at Canada College where she was part of a cycling club. In 1981 she joined the Sequoia UHSD first working with the newly formed computer Academy's Program at Menlo Atherton. From there she became a bilingual senior Math Associate at MA and then Redwood where we met. She tutored not only students but many adults who needed to pass a Math Exam for their promotion: teacher, principal and district administrator. At Redwood her math tutoring led to increased passing rates for all testing: GED, CHSPE and Proficiency Exams.
In her later years Gloria especially enjoyed singing at Karaoke events. She love to read. Kepler's was her favorite book store. Gloria had an extensive library of health and nutrition books. Through the teaching, music and welcoming atmosphere at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church Gloria recommitted her life to following the teachings of Jesus. Gloria has now joined her parents, sister and her special friend, Wade Glass with our Lord.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 8 at Menlo Church, 950 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park at 2 pm followed by a reception.