Backer, Stanley, 1920-

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Stanley Backer Papers, 1948-2000 Special Collections Research Center
creatorOf Backer, Stanley, 1920-. Stanley Backer textile papers on textiles, 1948-2000 [manuscript] North Carolina State University, NCSU Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Fibers and Polymers Laboratory corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fibers and Polymers Division. corporateBody
associatedWith Stanley Backer person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts--Cambridge
Subject
Information storage and retrieval systems--Textile industry
Textile research
Textile fabrics--Mechanical properties
Textured yarn
Thermoplastics
Textile fibers--Testing
College students' writings, American--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Textile fibers--Mechanical properties
Textile fabrics--Testing
Textured yarn machinery
Reinforced concrete, Fiber--Mechanical properties
Fiber-reinforced concrete--Mechanical properties
Textile research--Massachusetts--Cambridge
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Birth 1920

Death 2003

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