[ih] Any suggestions for first uses of "e-mail" or "email"?

John Klensin jklensin at gmail.com
Tue Aug 4 11:19:46 PDT 2015

On Tue, Aug 4, 2015 at 1:11 PM, Jack Haverty <jack at 3kitty.org> wrote:
> Good point, John.  Computer-based mail had been around for more than a
> decade by the late 70s, and was on the radar of at least some parts of
> the government.  I recall using CTSS mail back in the late 60s, as well
> as similar services even on IBM mainframes.

Yes.  If we are looking at the late 70s, I think at least the design
efforts for the first versions of the DoD internal system ("Defense
Messages System" or something like that)  got going during that period
and I think the efforts that led to ISO MHS/ ITU X.400 must have
started before the end of the decade.  Both are signs of interest and
activity by non-specialists   Those dates are fairly easily checked,
but the important point is precisely the one you are making: there
were many computer-based messaging activities in progress or under
discussion by the end of that decade and almost any of them could have
spawned press coverage or other informal treatment that could have, in
turn, generated new terminology.

> I'd also suggest that the historians broaden the search for the genesis
> of the term "email" beyond the work done by research and government
> communities.

If the real question is when that term came into use, I agree that a
broaden search is needed.


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