The Charles Mann Powersharing Collection
The Powersharing Series is a curated collection of presentations by computer pioneers recorded between 1981 and 1991 at the Computer Museum, the Boston Computer Society, and New York City user groups. To assure that this incomparable first-hand, real-time oral history of the personal computer revolution is available to contemporary audiences — with help from the Computer History Museum where the Series is now archived — Powersharing’s pro bono founder, editor, and narrator Charles Mann has produced a digitally remastered edition of the complete Series, now available at Amazon.com on a USB-3 flash drive.
As Mann’s recording agreement required a signed release from the speakers prior to audiocassette publication, Powersharing, Inc. holds an comprehensive collection of documents signed by key members of the creative leadership of the personal computer revolution. As the publication of the digital Series required a new outreach to the speakers, these legacy documents are now offered for sale, organized into lots as described in this catalog. Some lots include copies of correspondence between Mann and speakers that provide insights into the evolution of the Series and challenges experienced.
The Powersharing Story
Charles Mann worked his whole career as an international development economist. While serving at The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, he was also an early member of New York’s Big Apple User Group (BAUG) which was the source of his initial Apple computer education.
When in 1983, the BAUG, the UN International School and the NYPC User Group organized a Computer Fair with 32 speakers, Mann believed it virtually mandatory in the interest of posterity that someone record the presentations of the remarkable assembly of industry thinkers and leaders. There was enthusiasm, but since no one else stepped up to make it happen, Mann commissioned audio engineer Bob Kiel to organize recording all of the presentations at the Fair. With Kiel and signed releases from the speakers, he produced the best of these on audiocassettes as a continuation of The Powersharing Series, the title of an Apple II training video he had earlier co-produced. When Mann moved to Cambridge in 1985 as a development advisor with the Harvard Institute for International Development, his belief in the importance of recording computer oral history in the making led to recording agreements with both Boston’s Computer Museum and The Boston Computer Society. Working with professional audio engineers, he continued to record and produce presentations by computer industry luminaries until in 1991 he was posted as a resident economic advisory in The Gambia. All recordings went into long-term storage until 2013 when Mann began work to complete editing, narrating, and producing the 42 remaining source recordings to issue a new completed digital 134 program edition of the Series, finally published on a USB-3 flash drive in 2019. More information at: www.ThePowersharingSeries.com.