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Photograph of Claire Schultz
Detail of Image, Gift of Claire Schultz, Science History Institute Collections

Oral history interview with Claire K. Schultz

  • 1997-Jul-09

Oral history interview with Claire K. Schultz

  • 1997-Jul-09

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.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 69 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

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.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0161

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • November 17, 1924
  • Etters, Pennsylvania, United States
  • May 28, 2015
  • Line Lexington, Pennsylvania, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1944 Juniata College (Huntingdon, Pa.) 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

  • 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

Medical College of Pennsylvania

  • 1973 to 1982 Professor of Information Science and Director of Libraries


Year(s) Award
1980 Award of Merit, American Society for Information Science

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PDF — 381 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

9 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads