This is from Trygve Reenskaug: MVC: Xerox PARC 1978-79. Some quotes:
The essential purpose of MVC is to bridge the gap between the human user's mental model and the digital model that exists in the computer. The ideal MVC solution supports the user illusion of seeing and manipulating the domain information directly. The structure is useful if the user needs to see the same model element simultaneously in different contexts and/or from different viewpoints.
MVC was conceived as a general solution to the problem of users controlling a large and complex data set. The hardest part was to hit upon good names for the different architectural components. Model-View-Editor was the first set.
After long discussions, particularly with Adele Goldberg, we ended with the terms Model-View-Controller.
The MVC problem has more facets than I realized in 1979. I started working on a pattern language to disentangle the different aspects, that last draft was dated August 20, 2003. The plan was that it should be improved by a group of authors, not just the current single one. Unfortunately, the projct died at his point.