Re: First known use of the word, "email" (1978)

From: Clive Hohberger <>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 07:53:28 -0600

You might want to look at Wikipedia entry "E-mail". There was a formal
timeshare messaging system:
1978 – EMAIL at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
[36] <>

It's very likely that the the term was simultaneously invented in multiple
places, as deriving "e-mail" in any of its various forms is an obvious
acronym for "electronic mail".

BTW, the routine capitalization of 'E' in E-mail came in the 1990's from
William Safire's "On Language" column in the NY Times newspaper: He made
the analogy with "T-shirt".

Clive P. Hohberger, PhD MBA
Managing Director
*Clive Hohberger, LLC*
+1 847 910 8794

On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 4:14 AM, N. Ganesan <> wrote:

> There are interviews in Tamil and English language media about
> V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai and his work in high school
> and later with respect to electronic mail.
> A statement issued by MIT will be useful to make things clear.
> "A brief published on Jan. 11 incorrectly titled Shiva Ayyaduri and credits
> him with the first copyright to email. He is a faculty lecturer. Also,
> while he holds a copyright from 1982 titled “EMAIL,” Ayyaduri is not the
> inventor of email, which began in the 1960s."
> This raises the question of who was the first to
> coin and use the term, email. It appears this
> coinage was done by Shiva Ayyadurai in 1978 when
> he was 14, and at high school. He explains that
> there was a six-letter limit on program names
> in the Fortran IV language, he chose ‘email’ inside
> the code.
> In early 70s, the term "electronic mail" was used for
> fax machines. In late 70's and early 80's
> "electronic mail" was used for what we
> now call email. For example,
> (1) J. M. McQuillan and D. C. Walden, “Designing Electronic Mail Systems
> That People Will Use,”
> SIGOA Newsletter, May l980, vol. 1, no. 2; InfoMail User Guide, BBN
> Information Management
> Corporation, Cambridge, MA.
> (2) J. M. McQuillan and D. C. Walden, “Portable Software for Electronic
> Mail Makes it Hardware-
> Independent,” Electronics, March 10, 1981, pp. 167–171.
> networked e-mail,
> It will be nice if some one can post the
> 1979 article from Electronics magazine that
> uses E-mail for the first time. See Oxford English
> Dictionary site,
> "1979 Electronics 7 June 63 (heading)
> Postal Service pushes ahead with E-mail."
> While email tech development has a long history but it was known
> by different names. It does seem that in 1978, a high school
> student has coined the word, email, which is
> now used by everyone.
> N. Ganesan

Received on Tue Nov 27 2012 - 07:55:05 CST

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