COBOL: Initial specifications for a COmmon Business Oriented Language
COBOL: Initial specifications for a COmmon Business Oriented Language

COBOL: Initial specifications for a COmmon Business Oriented Language

"This report has been prepared through a cooperative effort of computer users in industry, the Department of Defense and other Federal government agencies and computer manufacturers. It is believed that the use of COmmon Business Oriented Language (COBOL) can assist materially through reduced programming efforts, in achieving a more effective and economical utilization of electronic digital computers."

FIRST EDITION of the first report on COBOL, the first computer programming language designed to run on all computers, regardless of make or model. With over a hundred pages of extremely rare related material.

s computer use began to grow throughout the 1950's, there was rapidly developing a need for a programming language that was not computer-specific. As outlined in the introduction of this seminal report: "On May 28 and 29, 1959, a meeting was called in the Pentagon for the purpose of considering both the desireablility and the feasibility of establishing a common language for the programming of electronic computers in business-type data processing. Representatives from users, Government installations, computer manufacturers and other interested parties were present. There was almost unanimous agreement that the project was both desirable and feasible at this time. The concept of three committees or task forces was agreed upon... The Committee held meetings between September 18 and November 7, 1959, and proceeded steadily in its task of resolving problems and completing the language. The name 'COBOL', which suggests a COmmon Business Oriented Language, was adopted... Final editing and initial distribution of the report to the Executive Committee was accomplished December 17, 1959."

The COBOL report is contained in a three-ring binder with Remington Rand UNIVAC labels on front and spine that includes a massive amount of material presumably distributed to individuals attending the "Remington Rand UNIVAC Computer Seminar for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations" from December 5th to 9th, 1960 (as noted on general title page for binder). The binder is divided into seven sections labeled: Computer Fundamentals; System Fundamentals; Design App. of Advanced System; System Simulation and Games; System Languages; Plan Imp. of Computer Sys; and Examp. of Adv. Sys. Equipment. Among the approximately 30 printed and mimeographed items are texts of lectures, biographies of the participants, and various Remington Rand UNIVAC publications.

Washington, D.C.: Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, 1960. Quarto, original blue printed wrappers. Contained in a three-ring binder (with corresponding three punch holes for COBOL article) with extensive amount of related material. Housed in custom cloth box. Binder with portion of label rubbed off; generally fine condition throughout. The COBOL report itself is scarce; with all the associated material, the collection provides a possibly unique opportunity to acquire material that thoroughly documents a critical moment in the history of the computer.

Price: $5,000 .

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