The Jay T. Last Papers

This online exhibit displays selected items from the Jay Last Papers in the Stanford Libraries. It was donated to the Silicon Valley Archives in 2022 by the Jay T. Last Revocable Trust. The gift included the Jean Hoerni papers, which had been given to Mr. Last, in order that they would be preserved.

Jay Last (1929-2021) was perhaps best known for being one of the “Traitorous Eight” engineers and scientists who left William Shockley’s Semiconductor Laboratory to found Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. Hoerni (1924-1997) was also in this group. Hoerni and Last can be seen on the far right of the iconic photograph of the eight Fairchild founders taken in 1960, alongside Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore and the others. In all, the papers of five of the eight founders (Last, Hoerni, Noyce, Moore, and Victor Grinich) are available at Stanford for research.

As a Fairchild co-founder, Last thus might be considered one of the founding fathers of Silicon Valley. The development of the semiconductor industry in this region was characterized by startups and spinoffs from established companies. Last participated in one of the most important early spinoffs a few years after Fairchild’s founding. With three other members of the original Fairchild Eight, he co-founded Amelco Corporation as a division of Teledyne in 1961 to more vigorously advance a new technology for commercialization, the integrated circuit. He stayed with Amelco and Teledyne until 1974, last as VP for Research and Development for Teledyne.

It is perhaps less known about Last that he was a Renaissance man with wide and deep interests in the arts and humanities, as well as physics (with an MIT PhD, 1956) and entrepreneurship. His passion for collecting art and historical objects ranged in interests from fruit-box labels from Southern California and color lithography to archaeology and African art. He co-authored the award-winning The Color Explosion: Nineteenth-Century American Lithography (2005) as well as several books on fruit box labels and watercolor art. He founded the Archaeological Conservancy in 1989. He also donated his significant holdings of African art and commercial prints to the Fowler Museum at UCLA and to the Huntington Library, respectively.

This selection of items from the Jay Last Papers includes a few items from the Jean Hoerni Papers. In both cases, we hope that this exhibit encourages deeper dives into the important documentation and objects in these collections.