Re: Starting on the Museum exhibits, ending on them.
COBOL? That new fashioned thing? I trained on IBM languages Autocoder and Snoball
Autocoder does predate all the still-used HLLs; it had some influence on FORTRAN and COBOL (as Grace Hopper wrote the seminal paper on "autocoding" in '55, though ultimately COBOL was far more influenced by Hopper's own FLOW-MATIC).
Autocoder is an assembly language rather than an HLL, of course.
SNOBOL (one L), on the other hand, is younger than COBOL - as you might guess from the name. SNOBOL was invented in '62, three years after CODASYL released the COBOL specification, and two years after the first implementations appeared.
I played with SNOBOL myself many years later (sometime in the '80s; I don't recall on what system), and it's a cute language for string processing. Its use of CFGs rather than regular expressions for its pattern type makes for generally more-readable code. Formally the "extended" regular expressions most languages have these days are just as powerful, but CFGs are more expressive and less terse. But ed begat grep, grep begat awk, awk begat Perl, and their progeny multiply and overrun the land.