I was in Washington, DC over Memorial Day weekend, consulting the Library of Congress for a paper I'm writing about the early history of programming languages. The LoC houses the John W Backus papers, a collection of 12 boxes. As you may recall, Backus helped invent FORTRAN, ALGOL, Backus-Naur form, and a few other things that computer scientists might be aware of.
The Backus papers are a collection of 211 items. "Papers" are a slight misnomer—one of the items is a book of proceedings papers, and another is a balloon celebrating the 25th anniversary of FORTRAN. The library's catalogue entry states simply that
This collection is arranged in numerical order according to a system prepared by Backus.
What I was not prepared for was that the cataloguing system also came with Backus's own running commentary.
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