Boston Computer Society disbands, September 10, 1996

-September 10, 2017

The Boston Computer Society (BCS) board of directors decided to cease operations on September 10, 1996.

The decision came down just shy of the not-for-profit organization’s 20-year anniversary. BCS had been founded in 1977 by thirteen-year-old Jonathan Rotenberg and co-founder Richard Gardner to educate the public about personal computers and demystify the burgeoning technology.

At its peak in the early 1990s, the BCS boasted 32,000 members in 50 states and 40 countries. It offered dozens of classes and in-person meetings, published three magazines, and ran a computer bulletin board all in its effort to spread computing knowledge.

Early members of the BCS included Bill Gates and Mitch Kapor. In its heyday, the group had such pull that it attracted major company announcements, including Kapor's Lotus 1-2-3 and Apple Computer’s Apple Macintosh East Coast debut at a BCS event in 1984.

The BCS also organized Applefest, which Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak delivered the keynote for in 1982 (see photo).

Jobs Wozniak Applefest
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak speaking at The Boston Computer Society's Applefest '82.

Rotenberg is writing a book called My Teacher Steve Jobs about how the BCS allowed him to get to know his childhood hero.

While The BCS was extremely influential and was at one point one of the largest personal computer user groups in the world, by the mid-1990s information on computing was readily available through a growing number of magazines and networking groups.

By 1996, with the Internet making even more knowledge and information available to the masses, the BCS decided computers had been demystified and that its mission was complete.

Several sub groups continued after the BCS disbanded. A BCS alumni group can be found on Facebook.

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For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on September 10, 2012 and edited on September 10, 2017.

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