[SIGCIS-Members] Query: Babel metaphor

Thomas Misa tmisa at umn.edu
Wed Feb 10 07:02:47 PST 2010

CBI has the archival records of the HOPL conference as well as Alan  
Perlis's papers.  Might well be some clues for a researcher there!  --- 


Alan J. Perlis Papers, 1942-1989
Dates: 1942-1989
Creator: Perlis, Alan J.
Extent: 6 boxes (4.5 cubic feet)
Language: English
Collection Number: CBI 64
Abstract: Collection contains correspondence, class handouts, lecture  
notes and visual aids, published articles and reports, subject files,  
audio tapes and videotapes relating to Perlis' work in computer  
science education, programming languages, and compiler programs.

History of Programming Languages Conference Records, 1959, 1972-1993.  
Finding Aid.
Title: History of Programming Languages Conference, 1978, Los Angeles,  
California records
Dates: 1959, 1972-1993
Creator: History of Programming Languages Conference (1978 : Los  
Angeles, Calif.)
Extent: 10 boxes (8 cubic feet)
Language: English
Collection Number: CBI 19
Abstract: Collection contains correspondence, reports, draft  
presentations, newspaper clippings, notes, memoranda, National Science  
Foundation grant records, publicity materials, and mailing lists  
relating to the planning and organization of the conference. Also  
includes conference proceedings in the form of black-and-white video  
cassettes, reel-to-reel and cassette audio recordings, black-and-white  
photographs, slides, transcripts of presentations, preprints of  
papers, and book drafts.

On Feb 10, 2010, at 6:11 AM, Nofre Mateo, David wrote:

> Dear colleagues,
> I am trying to chart the use of the Babel metaphor in the history of  
> programming languages. Particularly, I am curious about the use of  
> the visual metaphor. But I am a bit stuck with some basic factual  
> information about the circumstances of the following two images :
> 1) The now famous cover of the issue of January 1961 of the  
> Communications of the ACM is a obvious point of departure. I know  
> that Alan J. Perlis was the editor at that time of the journal, but  
> I cannot find any information related to the production of the  
> picture (author, source, etc.).
> 2) The second picture is the supposedly ‘first’ language history  
> chart, which appeared in Jean E. Sammet, “Programming languages:  
> history and future”, Comm. of ACM, 15, July 1972. According to  
> Sammet,  she got the idea from Christopher J. Shaw’s article  
> “Milestones in Computer Programming”, published in SIGPLAN Notices  
> February 1965. But I have been unable to find any issue online or  
> printed copy in the libraries in the Netherlands of the SIGPLAN  
> Notices before August 1966, which it appears in all the collections  
> as the first issue. Does anybody know about Shaw’s article?
> I would appreciate any information about these two images.
> Thank you very much.
> David Nofre
> ..................................................
> David Nofre, PhD
> Program of History of Computing
> Informatics Institute - Faculty of Science
> University of Amsterdam
> Science Park 107 1098 XG Amsterdam
> d.nofremateo at uva.nl
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