After being graduated in 1933 from Princeton University, where he studied architecture, Standish Backus, Jr., spent a year in Munich. On his return to the United States he began his career as a commercial artist, settling in Santa Barbara, California. During World War II he served in the navy as a combat artist and in 1955-56 joined Admiral Richard Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole as the party’s official artist. Backus has been especially active in the Santa Barbara art community, serving as a trustee of and chairman of the acquisitions committee of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art since 1948 and a trustee of the University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, for the past twenty years. In the 1950s and 1960s he received two mural commissions, one for a war memorial on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines.
Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast, 1951, s.v. "Backus, Standish, Jr." § Moure 1975, pp. 9, 29, with bibliography § Who’s Who in American Art, 1984, s.v. "Backus, Standish, Jr."