>  I have found significant information about PKI as it exists today,
> but am looking for some background information.  I'm looking for
> information about the history of PKI, how and where it started, how it
> developed, etc.

good question. I don't have an answer offhand but know one place to start 

Here's the BibTeX entry for the paper that apparently "started it all"..

@misc{ diffie76new,
    author = "W. Diffie and M. Hellman",
    title = "New Directions in Cryptography",
    text = "W. Diffie and M. E. Hellman, 
      New Directions in Cryptography, IEEE Trans.
      Info. Theory IT-22, Nov. 1976, pp. 644-654",
    year = "1976"

If I was doing the brute-force approach, I'd use http://citeseer.nj.nec.com/ 
(aka www.researchindex.com) to chase down other papers referencing this one 
from the late 1970's and early-to-mid 1980's.

Alternatively, other's on this list may know of other available resources 
where someone's already done this work.



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