Appraisals

Jeremy appraises books, manuscripts, photographs, film, video, historic computers, and related materials on the history of medicine, science, technology, natural history, and economics for purposes of insurance, estates, or donation to non-profit institutions.

Over the years Jeremy has done hundreds of appraisals, large and small, concerning material from the Middle Ages to the present. Jeremy has a special interest in appraising archives and donations relating to nineteenth and twentieth century science, medicine, and technology, and corporate archives in related fields. Among the personal archives he has appraised are those of:

Linus PaulingLinus Pauling
  • May 2015 Jeremy appraised a significant portion of the archive of Baruch Samuel Blumberg for donation to the American Philosophical Society. This donation included an extraordinary collection of about 100 large volumes of diaries and daybooks that Blumberg maintained meticulously throughout his life, plus much other remarkable documentation. Blumberg shared the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus, for screens for the hepatatis B virus, and for the invention of the hepatitis B vaccine. Because hepatitis B is the major global risk factor for hepatocellular (primary liver) cancer, this virus and tobacco are the most important environmental carcinogens to which humans are exposed. After Blumberg's death in 2011 his colleague Jonathan Chernoff stated: "I think its fair to say that Barry [Baruch Blumberg] prevented more cancer deaths than any person who's ever lived."

Jeremy has also appraised corporate archives.

As editor/author of the leading bibliographical website for the history of the bio-medical sciences, HistoryofMedicineandBiology.com (Garrison-Morton), Jeremy has special expertise concerning the historical literature of medicine and biology from the ancient world to the 21st century. In June and July 2006 Jeremy appraised the pre-1850 portion of the rare book and manuscript collection of Stanford University’s Lane Medical Library. The project, conducted on the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of Lane Library, involved reviewing and ranking approximately 4500 individual items, making a selection of the top 100 items in the collection, writing detailed annotations for the top 100 items, and writing an illustrated introduction discussing the history of the formation of Lane’s historical collections in the context of the history of Stanford Medical School.

In January 2008 Jeremy collaborated with fellow ABAA member and tax lawyer, Bruce Barnett, on the appraisal of frozen ampoules of the human diploid cell strain WI-38 donated to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research by the developer of the cell strain, Leonard Hayflick. WI-38 is among the most widely-used, and the most highly characterized normal human cell population. This may be one of the first appraisals of living material for donation to a non-profit organization.

Apple 1Apple 1

In March 2008 Jeremy appraised an original Apple 1 computer for donation to the American Foundation for the National Museums of Scotland. The founding product of Apple Computer, the Apple I is one of the rarest and most desirable collector’s items in the history of personal computing. The entire production consisted of only 200 examples. The donation included an original Apple 1 computer with its optional cassette tape interface, matching vintage keyboard, 12 inch black and white video monitor, the original computer manual, cassette tape interface manual, warranty, schematic diagrams, hardware and programming manuals for the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, Apple BASIC documentation, and computer programming documentation created by the original owner.

In October 2011 Jeremy appraised a collection of original computing devices, including probably the only surviving example of Edward Berkeley's Simon, which has been called the first personal computer, and the unique Squee, the Electronic Robot Squirrel, which has been called "The first of the true robots." These were donated to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, by its co-founder, C. Gordon Bell.

During June through August 2014 Jeremy appraised the library of natural history films, videos and still photographs produced by film director, producer and cinematographer Al Giddings for donation to Rutgers University. Created over four decades, this library of approximately 2000 hours of motion pictures and about 30,000 still images was the largest and most scientifically significant privately owned library of professional underwater and ocean-related natural history motion pictures and still images in the world.

Among Jeremy’s newer appraisal interests are establishing the fair market value for intellectual property in digital form, such as digital images or digital films. In October and November 2014 Jeremy appraised the David Bohrman Archive of Innovation in Journalism for donation to Stanford University. Besides the equivalent of fifty file drawers of paper records, and a collection of television journalism artifacts, this archive included twenty terabytes, or approximately 3000 hours, of television news produced by David Bohrman during his career from 1978 to 2013, all converted to the latest digital format and carefully archived in a organized and searchable manner. This was probably one of the largest archives of digital video and related documents appraised up to this time. Besides its great value for the study of telelvision news production and journalism, the Bohrman archive may be researched by scholars interested in many fields, such as the following: history, politics and political science, social science, social media, space, criminal justice, geography, language, popular culture, fashion, design, information graphics, data visualization, and war.

In February 2015 Jeremy appraised the archive of the Russian American mathematical logician Grigori Mints for donation to Stanford University. A major contributor to proof theory--the analysis of the structure of mathematical reasoning, much of Mints' work applied to theoretical issues in computer science, software, and artificial intelligence.

Also in February 2015, Jeremy completed the insurance appraisal of the first Apple I computer ever delivered to a user; in this case the machine was a gift from Steve Wozniak to a teacher, Liza Loop, who took the computer into schools, before other Apple I's were sold.

In March 2015 Jeremy appraised three complete massive historic IBM mainframes, including an IBM 650, IBM 709, and IBM 7094, a complete Bendix G-15 “personal” computer, some input/output components manufactured for the IBM 705 system, which could be used with either the 709 or 7094 systems, about 300 spare parts, technical literature and software for the IBM computer systems donated, and the massive copper connecting cables for the systems. This donation made by Paul Pierce to the Computer History Museum, may best be characterized as epic in size and significance. The total weight of the donation was 104,570 pounds (more than 52 tons).  It consisted of 353 separate hardware items. The three IBM mainframes were the only surviving examples of those systems complete with all components and the python-like connecting cables.

In May 2015, for Corning Optical Communications, Jeremy appraised Donald Keck's laboratory notebook (June 26, 1970- June 27, 1971) in which he first recorded (probably on August 14) the achievement of the Corning research team in obtaining the crucial attenuation level of 20dB in glass required for optical fiber communications. The group demonstrated a 17dB optic attenuation per kilometer by doping silica glass with titanium. This was the initial key discovery that enabled the fiber optic communications industry and the Internet. Along with this notebook Jeremy also appraised a sample of Corning's first optical fiber cable (1975) and related materials.

In September 2015, for the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Jeremy appraised three original components of the IAS machine produced by the Electronic Computer Project led by John von Neumann, and constructed under the supervision of the engineer Julian Bigelow. The IAS machine was the first computer built in the United States that was designed from the ground up as a stored-program machine; it was also the first computer to incorporate from the inception of its design what became known as the von Neumann architecture. The components appraised included a power supply and two shift registers. These may be the only surviving components of this historic computer apart from the computer itself, which is preserved at the National Museum of American History.

In October 2015 Jeremy appraised the original first Pong prototype for donation to the Computer History Museum by its inventor Allan Alcorn. Pong was the first commercially successful video game, and this prototype, which Alcorn designed and produced for Atari, represents the beginning of the video game industry. The prototype is also the subject of one of the most legendary Silicon Valley startup stories. On June 27, 1972 Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari in Sunnyvale, California, and hired Alcorn to design the table tennis (ping-pong) game Pong. Alcorn designed and produced the first prototype, and, as an experiment, in September 1972 Alcorn and Nolan Bushnell placed this prototype in Andy Capp’s bar in Sunnyvale. To play the game users had to put a quarter in the coin slot. Measured by the number of quarters paid to play the first prototype (roughly $40 per night; enough sometimes to overfill the coin box and jam the machine), the game was judged an immediate success. Based on this almost comically limited market research, Atari announced the commercial release of Pong on November 29, 1972.

In October 2016 Jeremy appraised one of three original Dvorak Simplified Keyboard Typewriters invented by the educational psychologist August Dvorak, and his brother-in-law William Dealey in 1932. The two patented the keyboard in 1936, and along with Nellie Merrick and Gertrude Ford, wrote a book promoting the advantages of their system over the QWERTY keyboard entitled Typewriting Behavior, published in 1936. This typewriter, originally owned and used by August Dvorak's daughter, was donated to the Computer History Museum. The advantages of the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard are very well known, and are often favored by programmers. Perhaps for this reason most major computer operating systems, including Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, Chrome OS, and BSD, allow a user to switch to the Dvorak keyboard in software. This capability has resulted in a far greater number of Dvorak keyboard users today than in the days of mechanical or electric typewriters. It has also given this typewriter a place in the history of computing, and has created a new level of historical interest in it beyond its role in the history of typewriters.

In October and November 2016 Jeremy appraised the archive of John W. Gofman for donation to the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. This archive stood out for Gofman's great scientific discoveries, and for his extraordinarily articulate scientific papers, books, speeches, legal testimonies, and interviews on topics concerning large scale health problems in atherosclerosis and heart disease and the carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation. The archive is a major source of primary research material for subjects in which there is extensive political and scholarly interest, including the controversies fought out during his career concerning the safety of nuclear power plants, and the health dangers of exposure to ionizing radiation from nuclear fallout and from nuclear power plants, and from plutonium exposure from breeder-reactors. Dr. Gofman also campaigned against excessive exposure to ionizing radiation from unwise radiation therapy treatments, from excessive exposure associated with various diagnostic radiologic procedures, and from fluoroscopy employed during therapeutic procedures. These issues remain of major research interest both the socio-political and scientific points of view. Besides these scientific contributions to important socio-political issues, Gofman’s discoveries of lipids as risk factors in atherosclerosis were probably deserving of the Nobel Prize for medicine, though he never received that award.

A nuclear/physical chemist as well as a physician, Gofman co-discovered several radioisotopes, including Pa-232, U-232, Pa-233, and U-233 and proof of the slow and fast neutron fissionability of U-233 while working on his PhD dissertation under Glenn T. Seaborg.  Gofman was the third person ever to work with plutonium, and, having devised an early process for separating plutonium from fission products at J. Robert Oppenheimer’s request, Gofman was the first chemist ever to isolate milligram quantities of plutonium, a key component in the atomic bomb. Other topics to which Gofman made very significant contributions included lipoproteins, atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease; the ultracentrifugal discovery and analysis of serum lipoproteins, including the identification of LDL, VLDL, and HDL and the discovery of LDL as a measurable risk factor in atherosclerosis. For this great work, in 1974 the American College of Cardiology named Gofman as one of the twenty-five leading researchers in the field during the previous quarter-century. An edited version of the Gofman appraisal is available at this link.

If you have books, manuscripts, photographs, data, or related materials, including computer or computer-related material, that need appraisal, please contact us.

(This page was last updated in December 2016.)


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