Claire K. Schultz

Born: November 17, 1924 | Etters, PA, US
Died: Thursday, May 28, 2015 | Line Lexington, PA, US
Photograph of Claire Schultz

Detail of Image, Gift of Claire Schultz, CHF Collections

Claire K. Schultz begins her oral history interview by discussing her childhood in south central Pennsylvania. Inspired by her grandmother's belief in her abilities, Schultz graduated from Juniata College in three years, and went on to medical school after a year of work in the Philadelphia State Hospital. Forced to leave medical school by the birth of her first child, Schultz went on to a job as a research assistant at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, and then to Merck Sharp & Dohme, where she first became interested in information retrieval. Schultz campaigned to get an IBM 101 system. Schultz wrote her master's thesis at Drexel University in Library Science on the MSD library system. As one of the pioneer documentalists, Schultz worked at Sperry Rand Univac Corporation, and later at the Institute for the Advancement of Medical Communication. Schultz closes her interview with anecdotes about her post-retirement hobbies, and her work as a computer consultant in a local elementary school.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0161
No. of pages: 69
Minutes: 257

Interview Sessions

Robert V. Williams
9 July 1997

Abstract of Interview

Claire K. Schultz begins the interview by discussing her childhood in south central Pennsylvania. Raised primarily by her father and grandmother, Schultz dreamed of becoming a doctor from a young age. Inspired by her grandmother's belief in her abilities, Schultz graduated from Juniata College in three years, and went on to medical school after a year of work in the Philadelphia State Hospital. Forced to leave medical school by the birth of her first child, Schultz went on to a job as a research assistant at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, and then to Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), where she held her first position in a library. Schultz's interest in information retrieval began at Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratory, where she met Calvin Mooers. After talking to Mooers about his ideas regarding information retrieval, Schultz joined forces with Robert Ford, of MSD's Pharmacology Lab, and began a campaign to get an IBM 101 system at Merck Sharp & Dohme. Schultz wrote her master's thesis at Drexel University in Library Science on the MSD library system. While working at MSD, Schultz met John Mauchly, Eugene Garfield, and Peter Luhn. As one of the pioneer documentalists, Schultz worked at Sperry Rand Univac Corporation, and later at the Institute for the Advancement of Medical Communication, and taught various courses on information science at Drexel University and at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. Schultz closes her interview with anecdotes about her post-retirement hobbies, and her work as a computer consultant in a local elementary school.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1944 Juniata College BS Chemistry and Biology, minor in Mathematics
1952 Drexel University MS Library Science

Professional Experience

Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology

1946 to 1948
Research Associate

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1949 to 1957
Librarian

Sperry Rand Corporation

1958 to 1961
Senior Systems Analyst, UNIVAC Division

Institute for the Advancement of Medical Communication

1961 to 1970
Research Scientist

Drexel University

1961 to 1970
Associate Professor of Information Science
1970 to 1972
Freelance consultant

Medical College of Pennsylvania

1973 to 1982
Professor of Information Science and Director of Libraries

Honors

Year(s) Award
1980

Award of Merit, American Society for Information Science

Table of Contents

Family Background and Early Education
1

Growing up in Pennsylvania. Influence of grandmother. Close relationship with father. Elementary and high school.

College Education and Medical School
5

Three years at Juniata College with scholarship. Dream to go to medical school. Working for Philadelphia State Hospital. Marriage to Wallace L. Schultz. Attending medical school at Women's Medical College. Birth of first child.

Early Career
10

Job as researcher at Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology. Librarian at Merck Sharp & Dohme. First interest in information retrieval. Master's degree in Library Science from Drexel University. Work with early sorter systems. Activity with Philadelphia Chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

Information Scientist
25

First information science courses taught at Drexel. Tension between SLA and ADI librarians. Representative of Sperry Rand. Work on NLM and ASTIA projects. Work at Institute for the Advancement of Medical Communication. Medlars project. Consulting and teaching at Medical College of Philadelphia.

Retirement and Beyond
49

Work as EMT. Sailing with husband. Caring for grandchildren. Volunteer computer assistant at local elementary school. Reflections on career.

Notes
61
Index
63

About the Interviewer

Robert V. Williams

Robert V. Williams is a professor of library and information science at the University of South Carolina. He holds a PhD in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an MS in library and information science from Florida State University; and an MA in history from New York University. Before joining the University of South Carolina in 1978, he was an archivist and information services manager for the Ford Foundation, and the Georgia Department of Archives and History. Williams has also been an information consultant for many organizations including Appalachian Council of Governments of Greenville, South Carolina, and Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic. He came to the Chemical Heritage Foundation as the Eugene Garfield Fellow in the History of Scientific Information in 1997. He is a member of the South Carolina Historical Records Advisory Board, the American Library Association (ALA), and the American Society for Information Science (ASIS), where he served as chair of ASIS History and Foundations of Information Science Special Interest Group in 1994–1995. Williams is also a member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and Chair of the SLA Membership Committee. Williams has numerous publications on the historical role of information science.