The first issue of Research in Word Processing Newsletter appeared in May of 1983. It was mimeographed and stapled in Rapid City, South Dakota. The editor was Bradford Morgan, who taught in the Liberal Arts department of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. His colleague James M. Schwartz became co-editor with Vol. 2.5 (May 1984). Single-handedly the two wrote the entire newsletter until contributions started coming in, beginning with the last issue of 1984. Thereafter it published a number of well-known composition scholars and teachers: Christine Hult, Gordon Thomas, Eric Johnson, Joel Nydahl, Bill McCleary, William Kemp, Bryan Pfaffenberger (who became a contributing editor), and many others. One of the newsletter's salient virtues was its ongoing bibliographies on computers and the teaching of writing, which are unmatched in accuracy and coverage during the decade of the 1980s. The last of the 54 issues of Research in Word Processing Newsletter, Volume 7.5, appeared in May of 1989, when the publication morphed into TEXT Technology, launched in 1991 under the editorship of Jim Schwartz at Wright State University. After two years, the publication of TEXT Technology moved to Dakota State University with Eric Johnson as editor.
On the first page of the first issue Research in Word Processing Newsletter , Mogan explains the need for a newsletter on word-processing. "For students and professors in a wide variety of disciplines, writing is—or should be—a primary tool for learning. The computer can help with all phases of the writing process, from the heuristic mustering of an idea-base to oft-neglected revision. It can provide a quantitative measure of a writer's style—or allow a professor with a standalone system to offer detailed, student-specific comment sheets. The word processor not only saves time, conserves labor, and solves problems, but it also reinforces the traditional mission of writing programs." Morgan was a harbinger. His first issue of Research in Word Processing Newsletter appeared six months before Cynthia Selfe and Kathleen Kiefer's first issue of Computers and Composition and only three months after the first issue of Collegiate Microcomputer.
Bradley Morgan's bibliographic updates are outstanding. Each year he devoted one issue to consolidating all his updates for the year (issues 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.6, and 7.5). Since issue 5.5 (May 1987), 42 pages long, includes all the previous years' items as well as that year's, then issues 5.5, 6.5, and 7.5 include all of Morgan's bibliographic entries. Therefore I have made the PDF files of these three issues searchable. A word of caution, however. Acrobat's character scanning of these files is not perfect, and hence its search function is fallible. Just one example: occasionally "Natural" was scanned as "flatural," and a search for "natural" will miss these instances.
With its thorough bibliograpies, prompt reviews of software, and pointed articles on teaching, Research in Word Processing Newsletter is a unique and invaluable resource for historians of the profession. Thanks to Bradford Morgan himself for lending us copies of almost all of this run. Donald Ross at the University of Minnesota supplied a copy of Volume 2.4, and the interlibrary loan office of Bell Library, Texas A&M Un iversity, Corpus Christi, supplied some missing pages.
CompPile is Copyright © 2004-2020 Rich Haswell & Glenn Blalock.