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This paper examines the origins and early history of the field of computer engineering in the United States, from the mid-1940s to mid-1950s. The account is based on both primary and secondary sources, and draws theory from technology studies and the sociology of professions. The paper begins by discussing roles played by engineers and engineering during development of some of the first high-speed digital computers. It then describes the efforts of two electrical engineering institutes as they staked claims in computing, followed by a discussion of bifurcated versus integrated visions for the new field. The final sections turn to the emergence and establishment of computer engineering as a distinct field or specialty, primarily in the context of professional societies and private sector firms. One main goal of this paper is to show how the jurisdiction of engineering expanded to include computer hardware design.