These proceedings of the ACM SIGPLAN History of Programming Languages (HOPL) conference are a record, in the words of those who helped make the history, of a baker's dozen of the languages that set the tone of most of today's programming. It is difficult to describe the feeling that prevailed at the conference. There were no parallel sessions. Some attendees were graduate students, some pioneers, many were practitioners, and there seemed roughly an even division between industrial and academic affiliation. It was the first conference I attended where virtually everyone attended every session.
The Conference General Chairman's introduction (page xvii) provides a rationale for the languages chosen and what the speakers were asked to prepare. There was an official Conference Historian. (How can you have a "History of . . ." conference without a historian?) His introduction (page xxi) attempts to present the conference in the perspective of modern history-of-science scholarship.
The Keynote Address (page 7) was given by Grace Murray Hopper, Captain, USN, who was present at the birth of the industry and has remained an active participant. Her remarks indicate that a lot of what is considered novel and innovative today may well have first been done by her Remington-Rand Univac crew back in the 1950s.