“The Election that Changed the World” by Linda Romanowski

In 1952, ten men assembled in a modest two-story building, in the Spring Garden Section of Philadelphia at Ridge and Callowhill Streets. They worked as technicians for Remington Rand Inc., founded by University of Pennsylvania graduates, J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. One of these technicians was my father.

That night, the group set out to do what had never been done before – with six Univac computers spread out on their test floor, they’d predict the results of the 1952 Presidential election. It worked out according to plan – they determined early on that evening that Eisenhower would win the election.

Both stationed in New York, news commentators Charles Collingwood and Walter Cronkite covered the event – there was great reluctance, on their part, to make the announcement of the group’s prediction. In the 1948 Presidential election, The Chicago Daily Tribune had erroneously named Dewey the winner of the 1948 election, and no news outlet wanted to repeat the same mistake. Also, no one trusted what they thought of as a “new-fangled gadget.” The Remington group was irritated; according to my father, Eckert and Mauchly were ticked. Eventually that evening, news outlets did start reporting the group’s prediction.

I was born five months after that unprecedented night. I spoke to my Dad about that election on November 5, 2008. He couldn’t believe that fifty-six years had really passed. He wanted to know why I brought that night up during every election. I’d always reply it was because he was one of the first men to know something monumental, before the rest of the world knew it, communicated to the world by a new-fangled gadget.

2008 would be Dad’s last election. He died on January 21, 2010, but this November 3rd and every election thereafter, I will hear him say again, That was really something!

Linda Romanowski, a resident of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, traces her roots to South and Northwest Philadelphia. Linda obtained her BA from Rosemont in Psychology and Elementary Education. She is currently enrolled in Rosemont’s MFA Creative Non-Fiction Program. Her primary focus is portraying her Italian heritage experience.

Since 2017, Linda has served as a reviewer for “Rathalla” magazine. Her essay, Pot It’s Not, was published in City Key in 2018. This year, she is a poetry reviewer for “Philadelphia Stories” for the Sandy Crimmins National Poetry Prize. Linda’s poem, Empty Venue/Full House was published in the City Key in 2020. Linda’s essay, Christian Street Caruso, was published in the City Key in 2021.

In 2019, Linda and her husband, Ken, participated in the Rosemont College Global Studies Program at the Sant’ Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy. Her blog appeared on Rosemont’s Facebook page and was published in RoCo, Rosemont’s online publication.

In 2015, Linda received the Bonnie Hilferty Freney ’64 Memorial Award for volunteer service to Rosemont and currently serves as president of the college’s alumni board.

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