Stanley Backer (1920-2003) attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning degrees in engineering and textile technology. He joined the faculty at M.I.T. in 1951 and eventually became the head of the Fibers and Polymers Laboratory. His research in textiles engineering led to a greater understanding of fiber structure and fabric behavior. Backer also led a program to develop one of the first online information retrieval systems, known as the Textile Information Retrieval Product. He died in 2003.
From the description of Stanley Backer textile papers on textiles, 1948-2000 [manuscript] (North Carolina State University). WorldCat record id: 600096293
Stanley L. Backer was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 9th, 1920. He attended Boston Latin School until graduation in 1937, and earned a bachelor's degree in engineering and manufacturing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1941. He served in the United States Army from 1941-1944 conducting research for the United States Quartermaster, and continued to work for the Quartermaster for several years after completing his service. He returned to M.I.T. to complete a master's degree in textiles technology in 1948, and a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1953. In 1951 Backer joined the faculty at M.I.T. as assistant professor, and was promoted to full professor and head of the Fibers and Polymers Laboratory in 1962. His research in textiles engineering led to a better understanding of the physical properties and structural geometry of fibers, allowing the prediction of fabric behavior, which has a wide array of applications. His areas of expertise included the mechanics of textile materials and texturing, as well as the fibrous behavior of rope in a marine environment, and the use of fiber reinforcement in cementitious composites. Backer also led a program in the 1960s sponsored by the United States Commerce Department to develop one of the first online information retrieval systems. Known as the Textile Information Retrieval Product, the interface allowed simultaneous access a database of textile terms in seven different languages. Backer retired as professor emeritus in 1989.
Backer was an active member of the profession, having authored over 90 research publications, and serving on a number of government committees, professional societies, and editorial boards. The Harold DeWitt Smith Award from the American Society for Testing and Materials in 1962, and the Carothers Medal from the Textile Institute in 1992 for creativity in the use of fibers are noted among his many awards and honors.
Stanley Backer died January 18th, 2003 at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. He is survived by his wife, Esther Ross, and two sons, Richard, of Berkeley, California, and Jonathan of New Rochelle, New York.
From the guide to the Stanley Backer Papers, 1948-2000, (Special Collections Research Center)