At 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, Dartmouth professor John Kenemy and a student programmer simultaneously typed RUN on neighboring terminals. When they both got back answers to their simple programs, time-sharing and BASIC were born.
-- From "BASIC Begins at Dartmouth" (link: @)
BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) was invented at Dartmouth College in 1964 by John Kenemy and Thomas Kurtz to allow students to write simple programs. The students used BASIC on a time-sharing system, which allowed them to reach the computer using terminals in their dorms. The computers of that era were expensive and hard to use and there were only a few computer languages to choose from, Fortran and Algol being two of the most common. BASIC came into being partly because these other languages seemed too hard for most students to learn.
-- From "Concise Encyclopedia of Computer Science" (2004; link: @)
-- Image from first BASIC instruction manual (Dartmouth, May 1964; link: @)
* BASIC instruction manual, October 1964 (from bitsavers.org): @
* BASIC instruction manual, January 1968 (from bitsavers.org): @
* Entry on John Kenemy (CIS Graduate School, Dartmouth): @
* Entry on Thomas E. Kurtz (IEEE Computer Society): @
* "50 Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal" (Time magazine): @
* "50 years of BASIC" (Network World): @