Ada Lovelace: Resource Guide

Brief Biography

Ada Lovelace–nicknamed Princess of Parallelograms by her mother–was a computing pioneer who lived from 1815 – 1852. She earned that designation primarily through her work with Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.

Though there is some dispute about the extent of her contributions, consensus opinion indicates that she was responsible for the publishing of the first computer programs (perhaps even writing some of them herself) and was the first person to recognize the overwhelming potential of Babbage’s invention: “a machine capable of expressing entities other than quantities”, meaning that the machine could be used for more than simple calculations.

Ada Lovelace Books for Kids

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine
Publisher Description:
Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. When she meets Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, Ada understands the machine better than anyone else and writes the world’s first computer program in order to demonstrate its capabilities.

Author: Laura Wallmark

Age Range: 5-6 years old and up

Grade Level Kindergarten and up

# of Pages 40 (hardcover)

Ada's Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer
Publisher Description:

Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, a poet, and Anna Isabella Milbanke, a mathematician. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother insisted on a logic-focused education, rejecting Byron’s “mad” love of poetry.

But Ada remained fascinated with her father and considered mathematics “poetical science.” Via her friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, she became involved in “programming” his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer, thus becoming the world’s first computer programmer.

This picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art.

Author: Fiona Robinson

Age Range: 6-9 years old

Grade Level 1-4

# of Pages 40 (hardcover)

Note: Ada’s Ideas was one of 28 science biographies published recently, or soon to be published, (as of late 2016) that kids should enjoy.
Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer
Publisher Description:

Two hundred years ago, a daughter was born to the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his mathematical wife, Annabella.

Like her father, Ada had a vivid imagination and creative gift for connecting ideas in original ways. Like her mother, she had a passion for science, math, and machines. It was a very good combination. Ada hoped that one day she could do something important with her creative and nimble mind.

A hundred years before the dawn of the digital age, Ada Lovelace envisioned the computer-driven world we know today. And in demonstrating how the machine would be coded, she wrote the first computer program. She would go down in history as Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.

Diane Stanley’s lyrical writing and Jessie Hartland’s vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Ada Lovelace and bring her fascinating story vividly to life.

Author: Diane Stanley

Age Range: 4-8 years old

Grade Level Preschool – 3

# of Pages 448 (hardcover)

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World
Publisher Description:

A charmingly illustrated and educational book, New York Times best seller Women in Science highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from the ancient to the modern world.

Full of striking, singular art, this fascinating collection also contains infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary.

The trailblazing women profiled include well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Katherine Johnson, the African-American physicist and mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Author: Rachel Ignotofsky

# of Pages 128 (hardcover)

Ada Lovelace Books for Adults

Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace
Publisher Description:

The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. Estranged from Ada’s father, who was infamously “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.

When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage—brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly—will shape her destiny. Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics—ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman—falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.

In Enchantress of Numbers, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini unveils the passions, dreams, and insatiable thirst for knowledge of a largely unheralded pioneer in computing—a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future.

Author: Sydney Paula

# of Pages 320 (hardcover)

Ada Lovelace Comics / Graphic Novels

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer
Publisher Description:

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage’s plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines.

But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime—for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage’s mechanical, steam-powered computer, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible.

Author: Sydney Paula

# of Pages 320 (hardcover)

Ada Lovelace Quotes

The Analytical Engine might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine…Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.

Found in: 

As quoted by Menabrea, Luigi (1842). Sketch of the Analytical Engine invented by Charles Babbage Esq.. Scientific Memoirs (Richard Taylor): 694.


Ada Lovelace is credited  with being one of the first people to recognize the potential of computers to be more than machines performing calculations. This statement represents her assertions.

Ada Lovelace Achievements List

  • Translated an article about Babbage’s Analytical Engine from French to English and added her own notes which greatly increased (approximately double) the length
  • Designed a method for programming the Analytical Engine using punch cards (some consider the first computer program ever), deriving her inspiration from mechanical looms

Picture of Jacquard mechanical loom punch cards

Ada Lovelace Facts

  • Many consider her to be the first computer programmer.
  • She is the daughter of Lord Byron, a famous poet; however, she never met her father who died when was 8 years old.
  • It was not common for women to engage in science and math at the time Ada lived, which makes it even more interesting that she her mother, who was a mathematician herself, influenced and encouraged Ada’s STEM pursuits.
  • Charles Babbage referred to her way of thinking as “poetical science”; another term that could be applied to her is a philosopher scientist. She was interested in examining the intersection of technology and society.
  • As a child, she studied birds in order to design a flying machine.
  • Her name is not actually Ada Lovelace; it is instead Ada King, Countess of Lovelace.
  • She had several nicknames and/or monikers: Princess of Parallelograms (by her mother), Enchantress of Numbers (by Charles Babbage), and Lady Fairy (her pen name in letters to Charles Babbage).
  • She has a computer language named after her (called Ada).
  • The second week of October is Ada Lovelace Day.

Learn More

Useful Links

Ada Lovelace Wikipedia Page
Ada Lovelace Biography
Ada Lovelace Symposium
Ada Lovelace Day

About Brian 69 Articles

Brian is an engineer, librarian, and general STEM enthusiast who hopes his daughter one day conquers the world. Even if it is just one of her own creation.

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