From his obituary at Project Gutenberg:
Hart was best known for his 1971 invention of electronic books, or
eBooks. He founded Project Gutenberg, which is recognized as one
of the earliest and longest-lasting online literary projects. He
often told this story of how he had the idea for eBooks. He had
been granted access to significant computing power at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On July 4 1971, after
being inspired by a free printed copy of the U.S. Declaration of
Independence, he decided to type the text into a computer, and to
transmit it to other users on the computer network. From this
beginning, the digitization and distribution of literature was to
be Hart’s life’s work, spanning over 40 years.
A true pioneer, who made the world a better place.
[Considering where I work, this is especially notable.]
Source: Daring Fireball