Science Fiction Archives and Collections
In July 2010, Science Fiction Studies (vol. 37, no. 2) published a list of the most prominent science fiction & fantasy collecting institutions in the world. This list was designed by Rob Latham to benefit sf scholars requiring access to both primary and secondary historical sources for their research and was a useful reference source for members of the public interested in the origins of the authors and the works that mean so much to them.
Over a decade has passed, and much has changed. More institutions are collecting sf materials, and many institutions featured in the original piece have expanded their holdings. In the meantime, science fiction as a subject of scholarly endeavor has become even more popular, meaning that greater numbers of scholars require increased access to historical sources.
This document is a revised and expanded list, compiled by librarians and archivists representing sf collecting institutions worldwide. Our update adds new institutions and collections in some cases, updating old entries in others. We hope that this new list will help sf scholars and researchers to locate materials relevant to their interests. Although by no means exhaustive, we contributors agree that this is a good representation of relevant sf and that this list represents most of the preeminent sf collections worldwide.
Two institutions that were included in the 2010 article did not respond to repeated inquiries, and therefore do not appear in this revised piece. Those institutions are the Phantastische Bibliothek Wetzlar in Wetzlar, Germany; and La Maison D’Allieurs in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland.
Researchers should note that the Science Fiction Collection Libraries Consortium, an informal association of sf librarians and archivists, has an active wiki listing the locations of archival collections for specific authors.
The wiki address is: http://sfspecialcollections.pbworks.com/w/page/75687458/Home
All the contributors appreciate Science Fiction Studies’ interest in this piece. We hope this updated sequel will prove useful to sf scholars. The list below is organized state by state for the US, and in alphabetical order by country following the US listings.—Jeremy Brett, Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University, firstname.lastname@example.org
California State University, Fullerton
The Willis McNelly Science Fiction Collection was established in 1967 by Professor Willis McNelly, who wrote every member of the SFWA, urging them to donate their manuscripts to the Patrons of the Library at CSUF, to be “preserved for scholarly access and usage.” Manuscripts began arriving within weeks, including Ray Bradbury’s manuscript of Fahrenheit 451 as well as drafts of the short story “The Fireman,” from which the novel is based.
B. K. Goree of the Patrons of the Library added valuable runs of Amazing Stories, Astounding (before it became Analog Science Fact/Science Fiction), Galaxy, and Fantasy and Science Fiction, among others. Soon the Patrons themselves purchased a complete run, including the rare volume one, number one, of Weird Tales. Even in its early days, the periodical collection was extensive, including such titles as Planet Stories, Startling Stories, and Thrilling Wonder Stories. Members of the community and students eventually heard of the collection and soon began donating their files of various magazines or long-hoarded paperbacks. As a member of both SFWA and SFRA, I donated copies of all of the publications of these two organizations’ house organs themselves, as well as long runs of the scholarly journals Extrapolation, Science Fiction Studies, and Foundation.
Collection highlights include:
Frank Herbert Papers
The collection includes original manuscripts, working papers, first editions, correspondence, critical studies, and ephemera pertaining to Frank Herbert’s life and the works in the collection. Notable among the many boxes of his papers which I brought back to Fullerton was not only the first draft of Dune, that fine novel, but the second, third, and fourth drafts as well. Originally typewritten on yellow 8 x 14 foolscap, the first draft was complete with typed strikeovers, bold x’s deleting entire paragraphs, penciled notations, marginalia of all kinds, including question marks, notes to himself in various colored inks, suggestions for change, expansion, emendation, and so on.
Frederick and Patricia Shroyer Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Collection
This consists of 19th to 20th century genre fiction (1890 to 1950) and thirty-one periodical titles from 1897 to 1909. It covers all significant authors from 1890 to 1950. The Shroyers subsequently provided another gift of sf and fantasy ephemeral literature: some 360 short stories from the 1920s and 1930s in the form of tearsheets in indexed pressboard covers, together with runs of thirty-one periodicals from 1897 to 1909, very rare early material.
Philip K. Dick Papers
These papers include original manuscripts, working papers, correspondence, first editions, critical studies, and ephemera pertaining to Philip K. Dick’s life and the works included in the collection. Scholarly books and monographs, including biographies, already have been written about Dick; their authors drew on the materials in the collection. A number of scholars from countries as distant as Australia, France, and Abu Dhabi have worked with the collection, examining manuscripts and reading some of Dick’s own handwritten outlines.
Ray Bradbury Papers
The papers include original manuscripts of “The Fireman,” Fahrenheit 451, short stories, and first editions donated and signed by Ray Bradbury. There is an autographed play program of the CSUF Theater Dept. production of the Dandelion Wine musical, 1971.
Science Fiction Fanzine Sample Collection
This collection contains 82 titles and a total of 116 individual fanzine issues. Sometimes a ‘zine brought a small group of fans together; other times it was a means of cultural exchange. All ‘zines all have one common element, however: the celebration and exploration of sf and related genres: http://archives.fullerton.edu/repositories/5/resources/106. The Science Fiction Periodical Sample collection contains 90 titles (132 individual issues). The date range is 1927-1999.
Science Fiction Periodicals and Pulp Magazines
This collection includes 135 titles, including Analog Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Galaxy, Planet Stories, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, and Weird Tales, as well as Extrapolation, Science Fiction Studies, Foundation, and the SFWA and SFRA publications.
Science Fiction Writers of America Depository Collection
The Science Fiction Writers of America Depository Collection consists of hardcover and paperback editions of sf published by authors who are members of the SFWA professional association.
Star Trek Collection
This collection of mixed materials from various donors includes scripts and production documents from the original television series (1964-1969), fanzines, and assorted collectibles and memorabilia from the television series and motion pictures.
The Willis E. McNelly SF Manuscripts Collection
This includes materials from authors Brian Aldiss, Eric Temple Bell, Avram Davidson, Charles V. De Vet, Harlan Ellison, Vincent Gaddis, David Gerrold, Harry Harrison, Alice Hoff, Larry Maddock, Barry Malzberg, John Morressy, Joe Poyer, Dr. Robert Richardson, Ross Rocklynne, Fred T. Saberhagen, Norman Spinrad, Leon T. Stover, Boyd Upchurch, Sydney Van Scyoc, Robert Moore Williams, and Willis E. McNelly.
Exhibits have included:
Dune, From Print to Cinema and Beyond (2015) and Program Philip K. Dick: Here and Now (2016) Publications stemming from the collection include a well-known research resource: McNelly, Willis E. (Willis Everett), and Frank Herbert. The Dune Encyclopedia. New York: Putnam, 1984.
Related materials include:
Philip K. Dick in the OC website. We are a class, English 475: Digital Literary Studies, that met at California State University, Fullerton in Spring, 2014, and became fascinated with PKD’s special relationship with our campus. This website is the result.
SF Interviews and Lectures on the Internet Archive
Lecture by Dr. Willis McNelly on Science Fiction and Creativity
Frank Herbert interviewed by Willis McNelly in 1980.
—Patrisia Prestinary, Archivist email@example.com
San Diego State University
The Speculative Fiction Collections at San Diego State University Library’s Special Collections & University Archives are a major research resource in science fiction, proto-sf, utopian fiction, alternate histories, fantasy, horror, Gothic literature, weird tales, and the comic arts. Related holdings in pseudoscience, the Occult, UFOs, and alternative religious movements support diverse inquiries into imagined or invented realities.
SDSU Library first began seriously collecting speculative fiction in 1977, when English professor and fiction writer Elizabeth “Bette” Chater donated her personal library. Born in Vancouver in 1910, Chater debuted her own work in Fantastic Universe in 1957 and joined the English department at SDSU in 1964. Author Greg Bear counts himself among the students who remember her affectionately; they taught the department’s wildly popular first science fiction course together in fall of 1971. Guest speakers included Ray Bradbury, Brian Aldiss, Harry Harrison, Norman Spinrad, and Rod Serling. As Chater approached retirement, her donations over time totaled more than 2,500 items, including books, manuscripts, periodicals, and sound cassettes. Her library is distinguished by many signed first editions, many works by women (including Andre Norton, C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Joan D. Vinge and Suzette Elgin), and a large collection of pulp magazines. While the main focus of the collection is Golden Age, pulp-era, and New Wave science fiction, it also includes romance fiction written by Chater, folklore, fantasy, fairy tales, horror, Gothic, and supernatural fiction, some dating to the 19th century. Additions to the Chater Collection from genre collectors Walter L. Fisher, Hank Palczewski, John Wolfe, Michael & Susan Watson, Jack Sword, and Robert Dobson, among others, have brought the catalogued titles to over 9,00 0. Through donations and purchases, the Chater Collection has further expanded its representation of women, queer, non-binary, Black, and Indigenous writers. Fan favorites Star Trek, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, Conan, Dragonlance, and other fantasy and sword & sorcery series are well represented.
In the 2000s, literary editor and English & Comparative Literature professor emeritus Larry McCaffery donated his personal library, which includes many important works of sf, notably by Jack Williamson, Samuel R. Delany, and Joanna Russ as well as much of the original cyberpunk canon and esoteric and small press comics, periodicals, and ‘zines. McCaffery edited Fiction International and Critique and focused on post-modernism and literary interviews. This led to two important contributions to the sf genre that generated an invaluable archive of working papers: he promoted key cyberpunk authors and edited Storming the Reality Studio: A Casebook of Cyberpunk and Postmodern Fiction, which includes pieces by J.G. Ballard, Samuel R. Delany, John Shirley, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Rudy Rucker, Pat Cadigan, Richard Kadrey, Lewis Shiner, Kathy Acker, and others. The collection includes correspondence and author files related to this volume. McCaffery also partnered with his wife, Sinda Gregory, to interview sf writers, including William Burroughs, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, Joanna Russ, and William Gibson. The raw audio recordings of these interviews have been digitized and are available for research, along with edited drafts representing their unique collaborative process, manuscripts, correspondence, author files, and McCaffery’s teaching records. The Larry McCaffery Papers compose a substantial resource for scholars of postmodernism.
Edward E. Marsh began gifting his Golden Age of Science Fiction Library in 2012. It includes signed works, first editions, manuscripts, ephemera, artwork, memorabilia, and realia relating to Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Frank Herbert, L. Sprague de Camp, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. There is also an extensive collection of works by pulp writer and Dianetics/Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The collection also includes correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, film props, merchandise, and numerous portfolios of original artwork, limited edition prints, and signed proofs by sf artists including Kelly Freas, Frank Frazetta, and others. Much of the collection is housed in the science fiction research room, generously funded by Mr. Marsh.
Collection highlights include:
The J. Gordon Melton Vampire Collection features books, magazines, comics, films, games (including role-playing), screenplays, theatrical scripts and ephemera, merchandise, trading cards, and media that make up one of the most comprehensive collections in the world, including over 800 versions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The collection dates to the early 19th century and its publications span numerous countries and languages. Renowned religious-studies scholar Melton began collecting books and other media related to the vampire in the 1960s and began donating his collection to SDSU in 2016.
The Abraham Dijkstra Collection of Golden Age Pulp Magazines features over 1,500 individual items in mint condition, published from the late 1920s through the late 1950s. Given the typically poor condition of older pulps, we retain these as preservation copies rather than for standard research access.
The Comic Arts Collection offers over 90,000 floppy mainstream and alternative comics, graphic novels, extensive manga holdings, a fandom collection of ephemera, and publications from various conventions (including the Richard Alf Papers, documenting Alf’s work as one of the founders of San Diego Comic-Con), as well as the Donna Barr Papers. This collection is full of sf-themed comics, ephemera, and merchandise. We recently acquired a significant collection of original cover art, along with corresponding issues of Mexican pulp minicomics with sf, mystery, fantasy, and Gothic horror themes. Among the artists are Rodolfo Federico Antonio Fraga, Luis Perez, R.A. Dorantes, T. Zavala, Antonio Luna, Marin, and Jorge A. Baduy. In addition, a circulating collection of bound comics and scholarship on comics enables users to borrow materials supporting the university’s integration of comics into the curriculum.
In our general rare books collection, we hold important copies of classic speculative literature by writers such as Jack London, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving, Henry James, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Arthur Conan Doyle. We also hold an extensive collection of fanzines largely dating between the 1930s-1970s, the Greg Bear Manuscript Collection, the Joan D. Vinge Papers (not yet processed), and the Jefferson Sutton SF Collection. We also hold a substantial collection of occult, witchcraft, and other literature based on esoteric and alternative religious movements.
SDSU Special Collections is open to the public; we provide a suite of services, including in-person access and assistance, duplication and digitization, research consultations, exhibits and programming. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website: https://library.sdsu.edu/scua .
—Anna Culbertson, Head of Special Collections & University Archives, email@example.com
University of California, Riverside
The J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside is one of the largest collections in the world of rare books and archival materials pertaining to sf genres. The collection’s aim has always been to serve the students, faculty, and broader community as a research resource in science fiction, fantasy, horror, utopian, and dystopian literature.
Dr. Eaton was a physician in Oakland, an enthusiastic reader and collector of sf who was active in San Francisco Bay Area fandom. The UCR library acquired his personal library a year after his passing in 1969; and from this beginning was formed a world-class research collection in sf, something that was inconceivable at the time. His original library consisted of around 7,500 volumes that primarily spanned from the late-19th century through the mid-20th century. It included many first editions, signed copies, and special editions, with other items that are now quite rare, including first editions by Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, and many others.
Based on his own diligently kept records, he had an affinity for such English authors as Wells, Algernon Blackwood, Talbot Mundy, and Dennis Wheatley. He also prized such American authors as Burroughs, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Isaac Asimov, and August Derleth. In the last two decades of his life, Dr. Eaton acquired complete or near-complete sets from authors such as Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Clifford D. Simak, and Arthur C. Clarke. He also collected fantastical voyages, weird fiction, future-war stories, and sword-and-sorcery tales.
Since UCR acquired Eaton’s library, the study of science fiction has grown to a degree no one could have imagined fifty years ago. In the late 1960s, the acquisition of science fiction by a university library made a lot of people very angry and was widely regarded as a bad move. Donald G. Wilson, then University Librarian and lover of sf, saw the value and potential in such a collection and attached it to the library’s rare books department (which eventually became the current Special Collections & University Archives). UCR has been fortunate to have numerous University Librarians supportive of the Eaton Collection, including Eleanor Montague, Ruth Jackson, and Steven Mandeville-Gamble, in addition to Wilson.
The Eaton Collection continues to collect with an eye to reflecting the rapidly changing landscapes of speculative fiction. In the last ten years, our efforts have been focused on the emergence of Afrofuturism as well as works by LGBTQ+ and Indigenous peoples. The collection has also continued to add to its comics and graphic-novels holdings through several sizable donations as well as targeted purchases of new publications. Furthermore, the already vast secondary and critical literature has been enhanced as we add works from a new generation of scholars with new perspectives.
Additions to the archival and manuscript portions of the Eaton Collection have continued as well. Since 2010, we have received over 30 notable donations or sizable additions to the collections. There are currently 88 collections totaling over 1700 linear feet of manuscript materials in the Eaton Collection. It is impossible to list all donations from the last ten years, but among them are the papers of writer and director Jesús Salvador Treviño, authors Poul and Karen Anderson, author Nalo Hopkinson, and authors Ben Bova and Lewis Shiner. A number of collections received additions, including the Greg Benford papers, the Anne McCaffrey papers, and the Jerry Pournelle papers. A few collections that have come in by way of purchase include the Gardner Dozois papers, the Robert Reginald papers (including the Borgo Press art and materials), and two small collections of Philip K. Dick materials from Anne R. Dick and Joan Simpson.
The continued growth of the Eaton Collection is also furthered by special projects and exhibits, which serve as wonderful outreach and engagement opportunities. Over the past decade, there has been a robust exhibit schedule for the department, with an Eaton-specific exhibit or display nearly every year. Some highlights include “500 Years of Utopia” (2016), “Mark Glassy and Frankenstein: Men of Many Parts” (2018), and the Eaton’s 50th anniversary in 2019. Eaton Collection materials were also included in the UCR ARTSBlock “Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas” exhibit in 2017.
The initial project to digitize a portion of the Jay Kay Klein Photographs and Papers on Science Fiction fandom was done in 2017, and a major overhaul of the descriptive elements, with contributions from the fandom community, was finalized and published in 2021. Another notable project was the article titled “Fandom and Sexuality in the Archives: Collecting Slash Fan Fiction and Yaoi/Boys’ Love Manga,” a collaboration between Sandy Enriquez (Special Collections Public Services, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian) and Andrew Lippert (Special Collections Processing Archivist) published in the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts (31.2 ).
The future of the Eaton Collection is bright, with numerous passionate and dedicated librarians working to continue its legacy. It will continue to evolve with aspects of speculative fiction’s shifts over time. Those of us who love these genres take comfort in the fact that sf and fantasy have come to occupy such a prominent position in our culture. This collaborative update on institutions that are collecting these materials is a testament to the success of those before us, who dared to proclaim the value and importance of speculative fiction. We welcome all researchers who can make use of these fantastic materials. For more information about the collection, visit us at: https://scua.ucr.edu/collections/eaton-collection-science-fiction-and-fantasy.
—Andrew Lippert, Special Collections Processing Archivist, firstname.lastname@example.org; with special thanks to Sandy Enriquez, Special Collections Public Services, Outreach & Community Engagement Librarian; and Cherry Williams, Director of Distinctive Collections
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
The Science Fiction Collection at the Georgia Institute of Technology (formerly known as the Bud Foote Science Fiction Collection) includes over 9000 sf-related items. The collection spans the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries and features items in many languages. There are rare first editions by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the papers of Georgia Tech’s first sf scholar, Irving F. “Bud” Foote.
The collection was officially inaugurated in 1999, when Foote, an Emeritus Professor at Georgia Tech, donated his personal sf collection. Other important contributors include sf author David Brin, sf scholar Richard Ehrlich, the Atlanta Science Fiction Society, Kathy Betty and her late husband Garry, and Dr. Thomas Patrick Malone, father of Georgia Tech alumnus Thomas Patrick Malone II. The Collection is managed by Archives and Special Collections https://library.gatech.edu/archives and all currently available items are listed in Georgia Tech’s online catalogue system at http://www.library.gatech.edu.
Among the holdings are first-edition scientific romances and utopias from the late nineteenth century and most of the major novels published by sf authors through the present day. Special features include David Brin’s major works (in English and in translation) and a complete run of the Ballantine Fantasy Series. With recent donations, the collection has expanded to include substantial runs of classic sf magazines, anime videos, and comic books. It also serves as home to the Bud Foote Photographic Collection and the Bud Foote Papers, which document Foote’s interaction with other sf authors and scholars, including his work to establish some of the first university-level classes in science fiction. As such, they provide important institutional memory for both Georgia Tech and the wider sf community.
The collection works in tandem with other Georgia Tech units and the greater sf community to host events, including lecture series, symposia, and conferences. It also serves as a research base for visiting scholars, who enjoy unlimited access to the collection, copying privileges, and access to the University System of Georgia’s extensive interlibrary loan program. The collection works closely with professors across campus to support archival research projects and to design instructional units for undergraduate and graduate classes. In particular, it provides research support for Georgia Tech’s Science Fiction Laboratory and Sci Fi Lab podcast. Under the direction of LMC Professor Lisa Yaszek, students working in the SF Laboratory contribute to the ongoing development of an online sf dictionary and research portal through independent research projects that combine extensive reading in sf studies with archival research in the collection itself. Others have gone on to create the Sci Fi Lab radio show, a monthly variety program dedicated to “the best in everything science fiction.” Previously broadcast monthly on WREK Atlanta, Georgia Tech student radio, the show has now transitioned into a student-produced podcast.
In recent years, the Georgia Tech Library renovated and redesigned its buildings. In the redesign, the Science Fiction Collection is more accessible, with the Archives Reading Room in a prominent spot close to the newly created Science Fiction Lounge, where patrons can browse the Circulating Science Fiction Collection among Kubrickian furniture and video exhibits of black-and-white sf films.
The Archives has acquired or is in the process of acquiring four collections of books and magazines related to late 20th-century science fiction, early 20th-century works by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Victor Appleton, a collection of nearly 1000 sf books by women authors, and a collection of printed art and publications related to space fiction of the mid-twentieth century.
This year, Georgia Tech celebrates 50 Years of Science Fiction at Tech, and the Library has curated public programs and an exhibit for this milestone. The exhibit celebrates the science fiction landscape in 1971, the year Bud Foote taught the first sf class at Georgia Tech, featuring a selection of original materials from the Library’s Special Collections as well as visuals from nearly a century’s worth of sf pulp-magazine covers.
—Lisa Yaszek, Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Media, and Communication, email@example.com ; and Charlie Bennett, Public Engagement Librarian and Science Fiction liaison at Georgia Tech, firstname.lastname@example.org
Northern Illinois University
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) Collection is held by the Special Collections and Archives Department at Northern Illinois University’s Founders Memorial Library. The collection centers around books in the sf and fantasy genres, with special attention given to works nominated for the Nebula Awards. The SFWA holdings include over 70 manuscript collections from the organization and various donating members, including winners of the National Book Award (William Alexander), the Hugo Award (Lois McMaster Bujold), and the World Fantasy Award (John Klima), among other notable writers. The individual collections contain everything from book drafts, page proofs, editorial notes, and other items illustrating the writing and publication process to the official publications, correspondence, press pieces, and records documenting the SFWA and its members’ creative and professional activities.
The SFWA is a non-profit organization with the mission to “promote, advance, and support science fiction and fantasy writing in the United State and elsewhere.” In addition to hosting the Nebula Awards, the SFWA offers its members support through a variety of initiatives aimed at addressing overall publishing industry concerns. More information about the SFWA can be found at their website: https://www.sfwa.org.
Although the SFWA was founded in 1965, several collections contain materials dating to the pulp magazines and serials of the 1920s and 30s; yet the holdings are strongest in book and manuscript items from the 1950s to present. Among these is a small collection from the 1962 World Science Fiction Convention from Earl Kemp, that organization’s president at the time. That year Chicago hosted, and the materials contain extensive correspondence about planning the event between Kemp and such writers as Isaac Asimov (in which he is asked to make a silly speech about the Importance of Pinching Derrieres), Robert Heinlein (talking about his wife’s health problems), Ray Bradbury (writing about donating a manuscript for auction), Theodore Sturgeon, Forrest Ackerman, and several other notable writers of the era. More recently, NIU has initiated efforts to document the digital activity of the SFWA using the Archive-IT platform to capture group members’ blogs and websites: https://archives-it.org/collections/6472.
NIU began compiling the SFWA collection in the late 1970s as part of a depository program, and it has grown into a distinctive resource for understanding the variety and legacy of the contemporary sf writing profession. In addition to the SFWA collection, NIU continues to add to its holdings of works by and about H.P. Lovecraft and filling gaps in its 1200+ title collection of comic books, graphic novels, trade magazines, and fanzines. NIU Libraries also manages the Nickels and Dimes project, which gathers and digitizes popular dime novels from approximately1860 to 1930—including the first American sf novel, The Steam Man of the Prairies (1868) by Edward S. Ellis: https://dimenovels.lib.niu.edu/learn/spotlights/steamman.
For more information about NIU’s special collections and rare book holdings, please visit online at https://library.niu.edu/university-libraries/collections/rbsc/index.shtml.
—Brad Wiles, Associate Professor and Head, Special Collections and Archives Department, email@example.com
The Richard Dale Mullen Pulp Magazine Collection at DePauw University was donated by the estate of Richard Dale Mullen (1915-1998), founder of Science Fiction Studies and professor of English at Indiana State University. It consists of pulp magazines ranging from 1874-1979 and includes all genres; more than half, however, are such sf titles as Amazing Stories, Astounding, and Science Wonder Stories. Additional pulp magazine series from two donors in 2009 and 2014, in separate parts of the collection, extended the end date from 1964 to 1979. Stephanie Wood, a DePauw alumna who had taken an sf class at the university, added two more science fiction titles, Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction, to the collection in 2008. Joe Decker donated additional Galaxy issues up to 1979. While not complete, many of the collection’s titles feature long runs: we have Amazing Stories beginning with Hugo Gernsback’s first issue in April 1926 and running through June 1938, well after Gernsback lost ownership of the magazine. Subsequent Gernsback titles, Science Wonder Stories and Air Wonder Stories, are also included. Other magazines that occasionally featured sf writing and illustration are also represented in this roughly 900-issue collection.
When the collection was first received in 1999, the Archives and Special Collections Department at DePauw’s Roy O. West Library purchased archival containers and sleeves to ensure the magazines’ longevity. A complete inventory of all the titles and issue dates, completed in 2018, may be found at https://depauw.libraryhost.com/repositories/2/resources/487.
Among the outreach opportunities at DePauw are exhibits, both physical and online. Archives has discussed the possibility of exhibiting representative selections from the Mullen Collection in the library and initiating an online component as well as hiring a student from the university’s Instructional Technology Assistants Program. The online exhibit would become a part of DePauw’s Digital Library, giving wider accessibility to the Mullen collection.
—Wesley W. Wilson, Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections (1984-2020).
Contact Bethany Fiechter, Archivist, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies was established as an Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Liberal Arts research center in 2007 by Dr. Jonathan R. Eller and the late Dr. William F. Touponce. The original mission was to promote scholarship on Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), and work during its formative years (2007–2013) culminated in four essential undertakings: 1) the launch and ongoing publication of a scholarly journal focused exclusively on Bradbury (The New Bradbury Review); the development of a scholarly edition of Bradbury (The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury: A Critical Edition; 3) the designation of a campus footprint for the Center within the Institute for American Thought at IUPUI; and 4) the subsequent creation of the Center’s genre-fiction reference library and archive. Over the two decades leading up to establishment of the Bradbury Center, Eller forged a strong intellectual friendship with Ray Bradbury, the Bradbury family, and Donn Albright, Bradbury’s close friend and principal bibliographer. People often wonder why this collection is in Indianapolis: it is because of the longstanding relationship among Eller, Bradbury, and Albright.
What started as an extensive research library, small archive, and hub for Bradbury scholarship blossomed into one of the larger single-author archives in the United States seemingly overnight in October 2013 under Eller’s directorship. After Bradbury’s passing, Eller collaborated with the author’s four daughters and the president of the Ray Bradbury Living Trust in planning a massive gift: Bradbury awards, unfiled papers, office furnishings, and mementos to the Center. Donn Albright received a substantial bequest of Ray Bradbury’s papers, books, and periodicals related to Bradbury’s works, and he generously agreed to gift a significant part of that bequest to the Center.
In mid-October 2013, Indiana University assumed curatorial responsibility for these collections. Naturally, the acquisition of these combined gifts caused the Center to further expand its mission and prioritize preservation and outreach centered on the collection.
Like many children of the Depression, Bradbury had a hard time throwing anything away that might prove useful down the road. He would come to see himself as a jackdaw or magpie gatherer rather than a hoarder, but if one views hoarding as a condition with a spectrum, Bradbury was certainly on that spectrum in ways that help us preserve key aspects of his evolving creativity today. This is fortunate for scholars, because the volume of materials that came to the Bradbury Center tell the story of his influence on American culture in ways that far exceed his many accolades and awards (many preserved at the Center) received in his seven-decade writing career. The contents of the collection include more than 150,000 pages of published and unpublished literary works stored in thirty-one of the author’s filing cabinets (all of which arrived in situ); four decades of the author’s personal and professional correspondence, as well as a number of uncollected letters dating back to the 1940s; remnants of Bradbury’s author’s stock of books, including an extensive array of foreign language editions; and his working library, comprised of nearly 4000 volumes. The wider assortment of documents includes manuscripts, typescripts, story concepts, photographs, correspondence, screenplay, and teleplay drafts, scrapbooks from Bradbury’s youth in which he glued cut-out newspaper comic strips to create his own books, and hundreds of keepsakes collected throughout his life. In addition to the items conditionally inventoried for shipment to the university from Bradbury’s Los Angeles residence, new items are continually being discovered as the collection is processed. These range from artifacts significant in popular culture, such as an original sketch of Mister Miracle, drawn by Jack Kirby for Ray Bradbury at the third annual Comic Con International in San Diego, and literary artifacts such as letters from prominent mainstream writers.
On permanent exhibition is the Bradbury Center’s re-creation of Ray Bradbury’s office and library, including his original furniture, bookcases, working library, desktop typewriter, and many awards and mementos. Secured in the archival processing area just outside the core exhibit space are three of the portable typewriters that Bradbury used at varying times. Included in the large reference library are his pulp magazines, nearly 1700 issues that represent Bradbury’s juvenile reading and continue well into his years as a professional pulp-fiction author. This collection also includes the issues that contain his earliest published stories as well as hundreds of his author’s copies from magazines where his work appeared. Other important aspects of the reference library include studio reels of his film and television work, more than one thousand audiovisual recordings of his interviews, film, and television productions, television appearances, and dozens of the stage plays produced from his works.
There is also a massive accumulation known informally by center staff as “the lost papers.” This includes approximately fifteen thousand pages of papers, associational magazine articles, and writings that were stored for years in his Los Angeles den and in a large wicker credenza at Bradbury’s weekend home in Palm Springs. Center staff and volunteers have sorted these papers into rough categories in preparation for the Center’s preservation and accessioning efforts. Additionally, important historical artwork created by legendary illustrators such as Joseph Mugnaini, various writers, Hollywood figures, and NASA artists arrived in 2014 in a supplemental shipment from the Bradbury family.
Significant artifacts among the thousands curated at the Center include such major awards as Ray Bradbury’s Pulitzer Prize (citation and crystal), National Book Award (citation and medal), National Medal of Arts (citation and medal), Academy Award nomination, Grammy award, Emmy awards (citations and statuette), numerous Cable-ACE Awards, nominations for The Ray Bradbury Theater (1986–92), his SFWA Grand Master award, Mark Twain award, and several honorary doctorates; space-age awards and mementos from NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Planetary Society, including some artifacts that were sent into space and returned. We hold correspondence from astronauts, former presidents, significant Hollywood figures, and internationally prominent personalities such as Bertrand Russell, Bernard Berenson, Federico Fellini, John Huston, George Bernard Shaw, G.K. Chesterton, and Graham Greene; hundreds of books and flat art inscribed to or signed by Ray Bradbury; and multiple working drafts of many of his literary works. Every category within the collection houses unique artifacts and/or written materials with significant research potential or historical value related to science fiction, fantasy, cinema history, and many other aspects of American culture that Ray Bradbury celebrated or influenced. The Center can be accessed at https://bradbury.iupui.edu/ .
—Jason Aukerman, Director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, email@example.com
University of Iowa
A leading center for the study of sf fandom, the Science Fiction Collections at the University of Iowa (UI) Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives are diverse and expanding rapidly.” UI is a leading center for the study of sf fandom, with a growing assortment of collections. The cornerstones of our sf-related material are the collections donated by longtime Oregon-based fan Mike Horvat, the remarkable book collection of Alan and Brenda Lewis, and the outstanding collections of pulp magazines, fanzines, books, art, convention materials, and correspondence acquired in 2011 from James L. “Rusty” Hevelin.
Horvat has been active and prolific in the American fan community for decades, and in late 2004 the UI Libraries acquired his array of fanzines (c. 20,000 individual pieces) ranging from the 1930s through the 1980s, a significant collection of genre apazines, the publications of amateur press associations, organizations of like-minded fans who communicate through regular exchanges of correspondence. Other acquisitions from Mike Horvat include a collection of printed materials and ephemera drawn from sf conventions, including Worldcons from 1946-2000. Another collection consists of items relating to a venerable association, the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F)
The Allen and Brenda Lewis collection of books, donated in 2015, contains 17,500 science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other genre books, with 78% signed first editions. The collection includes many rare and fine press editions along with pop-up books and maps. Because the Lewis’s were completists, the collection is very inclusive and represents many authors of underrepresented communities not found in similar collections.
Like the Horvat collection, the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin collections are fan-related. Rusty Hevelin was a beloved dealer, fan, con organizer, and astute collector, whose fan activity began in 1941 at Denvention. The collection includes over 5,000 pulp magazines, 14,000 books of science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, etc., extending from the late 19th century to the early 2000s, and roughly 10,000 fanzines (currently being digitized and placed on Iowa Digital Library, which offers open access to all). There is a volunteer transcription program for them in UI’s D.I.Y. History project as well. Fan art, correspondence, convention materials, and thousands of non-pulp science fiction and fantasy magazines make up the rest of the Hevelin holdings.
The UI Libraries continues to build its fanzine collection, most notably through a partnership with the Organization for Transformative Works, a fan-run non-profit advocacy group. The largest of these and the most significant is the Mariellen (Ming) Wathne Fanzine Archives Collection. Wathne started an important lending library/archive of fanzines in the 1980s, whose holdings encompass zines and works of fan fiction from the 1960s through the 2000s, focusing largely on Star Trek and Star Wars. Most of the early and important fanzines generated by these sectors of fandom, as well as more recent media fandoms, are represented. Other media fan collections include those of pioneers Joan Verba, Vel Jaeger, Jennara Wenk, Morgan Dawn, Debbie Hoover, Maggie Nowakowska, and many others.
UI also holds the papers of longtime fan Gertrude M. Carr, whose materials include correspondence with notable sf writers and fans, such as Forrest J. Ackerman, Gregory Benford, Robert Bloch, Redd Boggs, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Carr, Jack Chalker, Richard Eney, Donald Franson, Orville Mosher, Bruce Pelz, Boyd Raeburn, Roy Tackett, Bjo Trimble, Harry Warner, and Walt Willis.
The papers of UI alumnus Nicholas Meyer, author, screenwriter, and director of numerous works, including two Star Trek films and the TV miniseries The Day After (1983), contain a great deal of material concerning his work in the sf and mystery genres. UI Libraries collections also have papers for several other Iowa natives who have written sf, including David Drake, R.A. Lafferty, David Rosheim, and Willard Marsh. Other collections of genre-related personal papers include those of author Max Allen Collins and Norman Felton, producer of a TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-68). In recent years, an emphasis on collecting the authors’ papers of writers from underrepresented communities has been fruitful, and include those of Susan R. Matthews and Brenda Clough. The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives is open to the public. The librarians here are happy to assist with in-person visits, research consultations, assistance to digitization and duplication of certain material, and exhibit loans. For more information, contact:
—Peter Balestrieri, Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture Collections, firstname.lastname@example.org; some text from Jeremy Brett, Special Collections Project Librarian (2007-2010)
University of Kansas
The Science Fiction Collections at the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library were founded in 1969, inspired by a small gift made by a recent alumnus, Larry Friesen. In spring 1968, Friesen had sent a $10 check to the KU Endowment Association for buying science fiction, something he found in too short supply in the university’s collections, pledging to donate additional funds. The request ended up in the hands of the sympathetic Head of Special Collections, Alexandra Mason (an sf reader herself), who with the assistance of fellow librarian, Ann Hyde, began to build the collections. The initial purchase was of in-print paperback novels by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Theodore Sturgeon. That landmark year for space exploration—1969—also saw the first major gift of sf writer, critic, and KU faculty member, James E. Gunn (1923-2020). Gunn donated manuscripts, proofs, and editorial correspondence for some of his earliest works, including Star Bridge (a collaboration with Jack Williamson), This Fortress World, The Immortals, The Joy Makers, and Station in Space, thus launching the library’s collections for sf writers’ papers. Gunn supplemented these with books and periodicals from his personal collection. In 1971, Gunn pooled funds from several units across the university to assist the library in purchasing the sf collection John H. Ryley of Phoenix, Arizona, adding 2000 further items, including a notable selection of periodicals from the 1920s to the 1950s, including Amazing Stories, Astounding, Galaxy, Weird Tales, and many shorter-lived magazines.
Over the years, Spencer Research Library’s sf collections have been built primarily by gift, flourishing in large part because of the support of the late James Gunn, founding director of KU’s J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Not only did Gunn donate materials to the collections, but through his connections to writers, scholars, organizations, and fans, he encouraged others to donate. This has continued under the Center’s subsequent leadership. The library also welcomes direct contact from writers, editors, publishers, and collectors in the field who may wish to place their papers and collections.
Among the library’s holdings of books and periodicals are runs of sf and fantasy magazines from the pulp era to the present, Ace Doubles, anthologies, and recent nominees for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel, presented annually at KU since 1979. Historically, the library’s print collections have had particular strength for science fiction of the 1940s-1960s; yet we are eager to expand print and manuscript holdings to capture the exciting diversity of voices writing in the field.
Spencer’s nearly 400 linear feet of sf manuscript holdings offer a potent resource for studying the creative, social, and business dimensions of speculative fiction. Present are papers for writers, editors, publishers, and agents, including Brian W. Aldiss, Harry Altshuler, Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Algis Budrys, Thomas A. Easton, James E. Gunn, Joan Hunter Holly, Lee Killough, P. Schuyler Miller, T.L. Sherred, Cordwainer Smith, Theodore Sturgeon, A.E. van Vogt, and Donald A. Wollheim, as well as records and materials for organizations such as the Robert Mills Literary Agency, the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), the Science Fiction Oral History Association (SFOHA), and a selection of early officer papers for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Additions since 2011 include the papers of writers Homer Eon Flint, Kij Johnson, John Kessel, Donald Moffitt, Mary Rosenblum, Stanley Schmidt, and William F. Wu, as well as major new accessions of the papers of Theodore Sturgeon and James E. Gunn.
The library’s collections serve as a resource for fans and scholars alike. Spencer Research Library has an active program of instruction with its sf collections, regularly hosting visits from KU classes and undertaking tours and displays for visiting groups, such as attendees at the Gunn Center’s conference and summer sf workshops and institutes. Materials from Spencer Research Library’s sf collections are featured on the library’s blog, were the focus of a 2020 gallery exhibit (Imagined Worlds: Writers and the Process of Speculative Fiction, curtailed by Covid-19), and have appeared in event displays at the Lawrence Public Library and Worldcon (MidAmericon II). Researchers may access Spencer’s sf collections in the library’s reading room and by submitting remote reference queries and scanning requests. Scholars are also encouraged to apply for the Spencer Research Library Travel Award. Indeed, one of the best things that researchers can do to ensure the existence and health of sf collections within libraries and archives—in addition to donating to them and encouraging writers to place their papers there—is to use them and through their scholarship alert others to their value. The library is eager to assist sf researchers in making the archival turn witnessed in many domains of literary scholarship.
Spencer Research Library is currently undertaking a multi-year project to catalog its sizeable holdings of fanzines, approximately 3000 individual titles from the 1940s until the present, with particular strength for the 1950s-1980s. Previously, a portion of these had been accessible to researchers through an in-house paper inventory, but still more were awaiting sorting and listing. The collection has grown in recent years, with significant accessions of Janet Fox’s Scavenger’s Newsletter, fanzines collected by Norwescon, and Star Trek fanzines (primarily fan fiction) from the library of Lanora G. Moore. This cataloging project seeks to support the ever increasing research interest in fanzines, fan communities, and fandom.
Finally, in addition to the materials held in special collections at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, researchers will find thousands of further sf and fantasy titles, as well as sf criticism, in the KU Libraries circulating collections. KU’s Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction also maintains its own internal library.
—Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian, email@example.com, building on earlier descriptions by Ann Hyde and Christopher McKitterick.
Michigan State University
The Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection at MSU, held in the Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, is one of the oldest popular culture collections in the world. Russel B. Nye taught English at Michigan State and was a co-founder of the Popular Culture Association.
Comic Art is the largest segment of MSU’s Popular Culture Collection, with more than 300,000 titles now fully cataloged for users. This collection is rich in adaptations of classic sf, and recent decades have increasingly seen original sf published in graphic format, such as the acclaimed series Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
The Nye Collection has strong holdings of sf magazines, with more than 60 titles from the pulp era alone, including short-lived titles such as Dynamic Science Stories (1939), Out of This World Adventures (1950), and Vortex Science Fiction (1953).
Novels are well represented among the collection’s sf literature. Since nearly all were received as gifts, only a modest number are first editions, association copies, or inscribed by the author.
Fan fiction from the late 1960s to the early 1990s is held in two archival collections, one comprising Star Trek fanfiction and the other from more than 30 other fandoms, primarily television sf series. A third collection has a 15-year run of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association.
At this writing, a large archival collection of sf fanzines is being organized. These fan publications date back to the 1930s, with the majority from the 1970s, and include ’zines published for amateur press associations, science fiction clubs, and specific fandoms such as Star Trek; with programs from WorldCon.
Holdings of Murray & Hong Special Collections do not circulate, but users from outside Michigan State are welcome; grants for visiting scholars are offered annually. The collection can be searched through the MSU library catalog at <catalog.lib.msu.edu>. (For more focused results, change the search scope from “Entire Catalog” to “Special Collections.”) The Murray-Hong website is https://lib.msu.edu/MurrayHongSPC/.
—Ruth Ann Jones, Instruction/Outreach Librarian, Stephen O. Murray and Keelung Hong Special Collections, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern New Mexico University
The Jack Williamson SF Library, Eastern New Mexico University was established in 1980. At that time, Jack donated many of the books that had accumulated in his house over the years, along with his correspondence, a magazine collection, and manuscripts. Within a short period of time, through his good graces and numerous connections, we received books, magazines, correspondence, and manuscripts from Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett; twenty years of manuscripts from Astounding/Analog; and the first of many shipments of correspondence from Forrest J. Ackerman. Early donations encouraged other notable authors to donate; and in addition to these, we have received archival materials such as correspondence and manuscripts from C.J. Cherryh, Janet Kagan, Harold Lee Prosser, Melinda Snodgrass, and Jack Speer. The Jack Speer donation consisted largely of Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) records and fanzine mailings.
The Williamson SF Library is largest of the three areas (two open to the public) that make up Special Collections at ENMU. (The others are the Southwest Collection and University Archives.) At present, our sf collection holds over 33,000 volumes of sf, fantasy, and horror. We house early speculative fiction, excellent contemporary work, and everything in between. Most of our monograph collection can be circulated. Our sf magazine collection, almost a thousand titles, spans more than a century, with titles ranging from Aboriginal Science Fiction to Zymurgy. Thanks to a few of our donors, we also have a large collection of fanzines.
Jack Williamson offered a science-fiction course for forty years at ENMU. Currently, faculty take turns teaching classes on sf and fantasy. Students are able to examine the archival materials in addition to checking out the books. About half of our patronage comes from interlibrary loan users; the other half is a mixture of university students, faculty/staff, and local citizens. We also receive out-of-town visitors and international requests for items housed in the collection.
The 44th Williamson Lectureship was held online for the first time on April 22-24, 2021, though it is planned to continue being in-person, with hybrid options, in the future. The Lectureship is an annual celebration of Jack’s love of science and the humanities. Over the years we have welcomed an array of sf authors, critics of SF, and scientists. Information about the Lectureship is available on ENMU’s website at https://my.enmu.edu/web/jack-williamson-lectureship. More information about the library can be found at https://enmu.libguides.com/SpecialCollections.
—Regina Bouley Sweeten, Archives and Special Collections Librarian, email@example.com
SU’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) has extensive print and manuscript holdings relating to science fiction and fantasy. These holdings can be accessed at https://library.syracuse.edu/special-collections-research-center/collections/collection-areas/pulp-literature-and-science-fiction/. Print material includes more than 7000 novels, novellas, and anthologies, as well as complete or near-complete runs of significant periodicals, including Amazing Stories, Analog, Argosy, Astounding, Doc Savage, If, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Galaxy, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Locus, Starlog, and Wonder Stories, to name a few. Manuscript collections range from the mundane to the bizarre, from fanzines to the papers of major authors; they span more than one hundred and fifty years.
SCRC holds the editorial and corporate records of numerous sf publishers, including Ace Books, Galaxy Publishing Company, Gnome Press, Mercury Press, the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Street & Smith, and papers of such notable authors as Piers Anthony, Theodore Cogswell, Neil R. Jones, Damon Knight, Keith Laumer, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Frederik Pohl, Fletcher Pratt, Neville Shute, Robert Silverberg, Kate Wilhelm, Dick Wilson, and Roger Zelazny.
Perhaps the two most intriguing manuscript collections at SCRC are those of Hugo Gernsback and Forrest J Ackerman. Although not prolific authors, these two men provided a fertile ground for the then-new genre by publishing it, praising it, reviewing it, talking about it, sponsoring conventions on it, and generally plugging it in any way they could. Together, these collections comprise more than 350 linear feet of artwork, correspondence, fan mail, manuscripts, photographs, printed material, and scrapbooks. We also collect related material such as fanzines and convention memorabilia, including, for example, the program from the first WorldCon in 1939. The earliest fanzines in our collections also date to the 1930s; some of the better-known titles include Barsoomian Times, Cryptic Ichthyophage, Excaliber, Granfaloon, Journal of the British Interplanetary System, Khatru, Moebius Trip, Le Zombie, and the publications of APA, APA-F, and APA-L. To aid researchers in the use of these materials, SCRC’s rare book holdings include significant works of sf criticism and major reference texts, indexes, and bibliographies in the field.
—Michele Combs, Lead Archivist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
University of Buffalo
The George Kelley Paperback and Pulp Fiction Collection at the University at Buffalo (UB) comprises over 30,000 paperback novels and pulp magazines from the 1930s through the 1980s, including 8,000-plus sf paperbacks and anthologies, with major sf and fantasy magazines and fanzines. All items in the Kelley Collection have been cataloged and are searchable through the University Libraries’ online catalog and WorldCat. The collection’s website https://library.buffalo.edu/specialcollections/rarebooks/kelley/ is a useful starting point.
The collection began simply because UB alumnus George Kelley enjoyed reading popular fiction. As an adolescent, Kelley began saving paperbacks after discovering that his mother had thrown away his comic book collection while he was away at camp. Kelley, who earned MA and PhD degrees from UB, worked for many years as a computer consultant, traveling extensively and collecting paperbacks and magazines in various popular genres wherever he went. His collection eventually grew so large that its weight began to damage the floors of his house, and in 1994, he donated more than 25,000 volumes to the UB Libraries. Kelley predicted that academic interest in sf would continue to grow, and he wanted to ensure that researchers would have access to materials that might otherwise be lost. Today, the Kelley Collection serves as a resource for enthusiasts as well as academics studying the emerging field of fandom.
Major sf authors represented in the collection include Brian W. Aldiss, Poul Anderson, Piers Anthony, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Arthur C. Clarke, Samuel R. Delany, Gordon R. Dickson, Philip K. Dick, George Alec Effinger, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, H.P. Lovecraft, Joanna Russ, Clifford D. Simak, Timothy Zahn, and Roger Zelazny. In many cases, multiple editions of individual titles are available.
Sf periodicals include selected issues of Galaxy magazine from its first issue in 1950 until it ceased publication in the 1980s. The collection’s many fanzines range from simple photocopies to complex illustrated publications, including perhaps the most famous, Locus, from its earliest mimeographed editions in the 1970s. A notable feature of the Kelley Collection is that most items are in remarkably good condition. This is due in large part to the fact that George Kelley stored each paperback in a plastic bag, helping to protect the highly acidic paper.
A non-circulating collection, all Kelley Collection materials must be used on-site in the UB Libraries’ Special Collections Research Room, 420 Capen Hall. Arrangements may be made to view collection materials by contacting Special Collections staff at 716-645-2917 or via e-mail: email@example.com.
—Kathleen Quinlivan, University Libraries’ Communication Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bowling Green State University
The Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies was founded in 1969 to support the emerging field of popular culture. Ray Browne’s realization that the seemingly ordinary was a relevant field of academic inquiry led not only to the establishment of the library, but to a popular culture studies program at Bowling Green SU. The collections grew out of the need to provide researchers with primary materials to support this developing field.
The Browne Library has grown over the years to be an internationally recognized collection with over 200,000 cataloged items and close to 300 manuscript collections. One of the Library’s strengths is its collections documenting the history of genre fiction in the US from the 1880s to the present. Sf and its related genres have always been included and continue to form a major part of our collections.
In one sense, the sf collection can be said to be organized around modes of production. Starting in the 1870s and 1880s with story paper/nickel weekly collections such as The Frank Reade Weekly and moving into the pulp magazines starting around 1910, we can see how popular fiction was marketed and consumed by the reading public. The H.H. Horowitz Pulp Collection includes extensive runs of such sf pulps as Amazing Stories, Astounding, and Weird Tales. Our vintage paperback collection contains Ace Double novels and other sf imprints. The Gary C. Hoppenstand Adventure Fiction Collection contains many classic sf books and newer graphic fiction as part of the collection’s aim to show not only the development of adventure fiction but its importance in crossover genres. We are interested in collecting fiction that shows the crossover or combination of sf with other genres: for instance, sf romance.
The Library also seeks to show fans’ response to sf. Our amateur press/‘zine collection contains both early sf ‘zines and sf related ones, including a growing collection of Star Trek slash ‘zines. Our manuscript collections include the juvenilia of Joanna Russ, extensive manuscripts by Keith Laumer and Carl Jacobi, and smaller collections such authors as Alexei and Cory Panshin, R.A. Lafferty, and Jeffrey A. Carver. The Robert S. Bravard Collection contains correspondence with Samuel Delany. We also have the William Nolan Collection, focusing on Ray Bradbury’s literary work and including correspondence with the author.
We also collect materials that relate to sf in media. We have an extensive collection of original sf television and movie scripts as well as an extensive collection of movie posters and lobby cards. The strength of our collection is in being able to take an image or character or motif and show its various incarnations in popular culture. For example, a rocket ship can be seen on the covers of books, as toys, or as an image in greeting cards. Star Wars can be studied as a movie, in comic books, tie-in novelizations, and Mr. Potato Head toys. The Marie Wakefield Memorabilia Collection contains everything from clothing items to games to trading cards, to study the marketing and licensing of the Star Trek franchise.
In recent years the Browne Library has tended to focus for new acquisitions on fan or collector-based collections and material cultural items. In our fiction collections we look at the field of popular literature and seek to present it in terms of process, product, and response.
As a public institution, the Browne Library is open to all researchers. In recent years we have sponsored (along with the Popular Culture Association) a Summer Institute where scholars can spend a week working in the collections.
BGSU is located in the Great Black Swamp and the Lower Great Lakes region, the homeland of the Wyandot, Kickapoo, Miami, Potawatomi, Odawa, and multiple other Indigenous tribal nations, present and past, who were forcibly removed to and from the area.
—Dr. Nancy Down, Head Librarian, Associate Professor, email@example.com
University of Oregon
The Manuscript Collections at the University of Oregon include the papers of prominent feminist authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon), Joanna Russ, Vonda McIntyre, Suzy McKee Charnas, Sally Miller Gearhart, Suzette Haden Elgin, Kate Wilhelm, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Molly Gloss, Laure Marks, and selected Virginia Kidd Literary Agency Records, among others. Measuring over 500 linear feet in size, this collection is one of the largest groupings of primary source materials relating to feminist sf in the world.
Collecting started in the 1960s, and the Ursula K. Le Guin Papers have served as a magnet collection, assisting curators to acquire new collections. These receive significant in-depth research from American scholars as well as researchers around the world, who examine the drafts of literary manuscripts to learn about changes to stories, word-choice substitutions, and changes in sentence structure. The richest part of these collections for scholars, however, tends to be the correspondence.
Most of the writers listed above communicated with each other, so that original letters are included in the recipients’ collections; the carbons of those outgoing letters remain in the letter writer’s collection. Thus, these collections often dovetail. Of course, the writers corresponded with numerous other writers, too. Included in the collections are letters to and from Samuel R. Delany, Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Craig Strete, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Mark Siegel, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Stanislaw Lem, Robert Silverberg, Avram Davidson, Karen Joy Fowler, Darko Suvin, and many others. Together, letters sent and received are a rich reflection of a writer’s life. Through this correspondence, researchers can learn about these writers’ struggles as well as their successes; and they often reveal much about the writer’s personality. Letters not only represent a writer’s career; they provide insights into a particular time and place.
Collections at the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives are described in local online catalogs, in Archives West, in OCLC’s bibliographic database, and in OCLC’s ArchiveGrid.
Special Collections and University Archives is the primary repository for the University of Oregon’s historical collections in all formats, including manuscripts, rare books, photographs, ephemera, and video and audio materials. The archives of the University of Oregon, including historical administrative records and personal papers of many faculty members, comprise an important part of the collections. Overall, the holdings include nearly 52,000 linear feet of manuscript material. Located in the north wing of the Knight Library (second floor), SCUA is open to scholars and researchers regardless of institutional affiliation. Public service hours, access and reference service information are available at https://library.uoregon.edu/special-collections .
—Linda Long, Curator of Manuscripts, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Paskow Science Fiction Collection at Temple University Libraries was established in 1972 through the efforts of several Physics and English Department faculty who believed that collegiate libraries underrepresented the genre. The early death of alumnus and collector David C. Paskow resulted in the donation of his library—fragile pulp magazines and paperbacks—to the University’s Special Collections Department.
Curators decided to expand the holdings, making the collection a priority of Special Collections. Staff established relationships with local and regional collectors and authors and solicited gifts and entered into standing-order agreements with distributors for current titles. In addition, relationships with European sf clubs resulted in additions of continental and foreign-language sf as well as club publications.
For fifteen years, the collection focused strictly on science fiction. Then, in 1986, another major donation, the Roger Knuth Collection, enlarged its scope, changing its designation to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection. Adding many new sf first editions and runs of pulp magazines, the gift also contained extensive holdings of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and other horror/fantasy writers, as well as imprints of Arkham House and other publishers and a strong run of Weird Tales magazine.
In addition to monographs and pulp magazines, acquisitions have concentrated on fanzines, convention booklets, fan photography, manuscripts, and reference works. Literary holdings emphasize first editions, reprints and translations, textual variants, and editions with new introductions, as well as new illustrators (paperback cover artists and dust-jacket artists are noted in the cataloging). Author holdings begin with Verne and nineteenth-century writers, buttressed by the holdings of imaginary voyages in the Rare Book and Manuscript Collections, and continue with contemporary authors. Fanzines were collected from an early date and as the holdings have grown, so has the use of the zines. Fanzines and early American club publications start in the 1930s and continue through the Star Trek years to the present.
Interest in primary sources also began early, with deposits of files of younger authors, with the collection offering safe-keeping and organizational attention. Later, with the help of Conde Nast, Isaac Asimov, and others, early manuscripts were added to the collection: the archives of Fantasy Press and Lloyd Eshbach, and the papers of Stanley G. Weinbaum, Ben Bova, Tom Purdom, and John Varley, among others. The “Enterprising Women Fan Fiction” collection contains amateur fiction based on mass media shows, characters, and actors, both published and unpublished.
Please consult our website https://library.temple.edu/collections/paskow-science-fiction-collection-science-fiction-and-fantasy for more information. In recent years the collection has de-emphasized fantasy and continues to add items by purchase and gift, focusing on specific subject areas of interest to faculty and students such as climate fiction.
—Margery Sly, Director of Special Collections, Temple University Libraries, email@example.com
Texas A&M University
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection at Cushing Memorial Library & Archives, Texas A&M University, dates its origins to 1970, when two librarians, Hal Hall and Vicki Anders, purchased a collection of 200 sf magazines for the main library. In 1974, the collection was large enough in size and scope to be recognized publicly at a formal event. Over time, additional print and manuscript material was purchased by Hall or donated to the collection, with collection development focusing primarily on completing serial runs and documenting the history and criticism of the genre. In 1998, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives became the home of special collections, and the collection’s rare and fragile material was housed there, while more contemporary material remained in the circulating stacks in Evans Library. Additions to the collection are placed in both libraries to effectively build a research collection for the study of the genre. In 2001, Professor Hall officially became the curator for the collection, and served in that role until 2010.
The collection currently houses tens of thousands of pieces, including over 30,000 monographs and more than 110 manuscript and archival collections. The periodicals collection collects over 90 percent of English-language genre serials (pulps) from 1923 to the present, with complete or near-complete runs of all the major ones (including what may be the only complete run of the British journal New Worlds in the US). The collection is devoted to preserving editions of the classic works of the sf and fantasy genres, as well as works of pre-1818 “proto-sf” from authors such as John Wilkins, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Lucian of Samosata; yet our mandate is not limited to the distant past. Also collected are many thousands of works from the 19th-21st centuries, including material published as recently as this year (2022, the year of the publication of this piece). Cushing is making an effort to ensure that it is capturing the narrative and creative efforts of voices that have in the past often been underrepresented, marginalized, or ignored—including women authors, authors of color, LGBT authors, and authors of diverse cultural, religious, and national backgrounds.
Interesting and/or important subcollections in the collection include the personal SF/F libraries of Anne McCaffrey and Andre Norton, the “Daughter of the Night” Bibliography collection of the works of Tanith Lee, and the Maps of Imaginary Places Collection. This last, a curatorial partnership between the SF&F Collection and Cushing’s Maps Collection, is the most extensive collection of imaginative cartographies in the world, and it continues to grow.
Holdings of archival materials are also expanding. One collecting specialty involves the papers of authors from Texas and the Southwest, including such writers as Martha Wells, George R.R. Martin, Chad Oliver, Elizabeth Moon, Ardeth Mayhar, Howard Waldrop, Steven Gould, Laura Mixon Gould, Stina Leicht, Joe R. Lansdale, Rachel Caine, Walter Jon Williams, Marshall Ryan Maresca, and British transplant Michael Moorcock. There are notable small collections of such luminaries as Robert E. Howard, Robert A. Heinlein, John Sladek, and Isaac Asimov, as well as larger archival collections from creators including Otto Binder, Avram Davidson, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Silverberg, Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, Kay Kenyon, and Faith Hunter. A particular jewel is a very large group of material from Andre Norton that includes her genre awards and a complete set of her diaries. Cushing is also striving to collect and preserve the papers of newer creators such as Elsa Sjunneson, Lawrence M. Schoen, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Kelly Robson, A.M. Dellamonica (Lex Beckett), Ada Palmer, Django Wexler, Brenda Cooper, Kristen Britain, Beth Cato, Jeffe Kennedy, and Marie Brennan. The collection also holds the papers of sf researchers including Thomas Clareson, Everett F. Bleiler, and Sam Moskowitz.
Several components of the collection specifically document the everyday operations of sf editing and publishing, including relevant papers from Arthur C. Clarke, William Gibson, and Underwood-Miller’s relationship with Philip K. Dick.
Going forward, Cushing is actively working to increase the presence in the collection of previously underrepresented or marginalized voices in the field, including creators of color and those from diverse genders, sexual orientations, and national origins. The library will also continue and increase its partnerships with the TAMU Department of English, which has recently established a Minor program in Science Fiction and Fantasy Studies.
A growing portion of the collection is devoted to fanworks, including fanzines, fanvids and filk-song books, and recordings. Among these materials are large numbers of ‘zines devoted to twentieth-century fanfiction, including slash fic in particular. Large fanworks collections include donations from fans and ‘zine creators such as Carol Lynn (of Kraith fame), Pat Virzi, Sheila Clark, Judith Yuenger, Guy Lillian (Southern Fandom Press Alliance), and Mike Hall. A digital presence for many fanzines can be found in the Sandy Hereld Collection, at http://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/149935.
Publicity efforts have expanded greatly in recent years, through a strategy that encompasses public exhibits of varying sizes and one-time outreach events. Since the first sf-centered exhibit, “One Hundred Years Hence” (2010), the collection has been featured in several additional exhibits on themes including “Deeper Than Swords: Celebrating the Work of George R.R. Martin” (2013-2014), “Worlds Imagined: The Maps of Imaginary Places Collection” (2017-2018), “The Stars Are Ours: Infinite Diversities in Science Fiction & Fantasy”(2019), and “Live to Build A Better World: Despair, Survival, and Hope in SF’s Response to Environmental Change” (2021). Important genre creators have been brought to campus for speaking engagements, including Jeff VanderMeer, Rebecca Roanhorse, Tananarive Due, Martha Wells, and Monica Byrne. Some of these are part of the ongoing and irregularly scheduled Hal W. Hall Speakers Series on Science Fiction & Fantasy, while others are more specifically event-based for exhibit openings or closings. In addition, the SF&F curator and/or Cushing colleagues make regular appearances at events such as ArmadilloCon, WorldCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and others, acting as roving ambassadors for the Cushing. Access the collection at: https://cushing.library.tamu.edu/.
—Jeremy Brett, Curator of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Research Collection, firstname.lastname@example.org
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
The William J. Heron Speculative Fiction Collection was acquired over the course of 1989-94 from William J. Heron, a private collector from North Carolina. At the heart of the collection is a group of pulp magazines—some 4600 strong and representing over 200 titles published primarily in the United States, but also in Britain and Australia. Beginning in the late 1920s with issues of Hugo Gernsback’s Science and Invention, all twelve issues of Science Wonder Stories, and nine of the eleven issues of Air Wonder Stories, the collection features nearly complete runs through 1987 of Amazing Stories and Astounding/Analog. With long runs of Galaxy (1950–80) and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (1949–87), the collection strongly represents the postwar era. Complementing these well-known publications are many more with shorter life spans, such as all issues of Infinity Science-Fiction (1955–58), Dynamic Science Fiction (1952–54), and Space Science Fiction Magazine (1957), among others. The Heron Collection also includes over forty sf reference works and a gathering of more than 11,000 American sf paperbacks representing nearly the entire published output within the genre from 1941 to 1986. Approximately 8000 of these paperbacks are unique individual titles, with the rest being variant editions collected by Heron for their distinctive cover art. While most already appear in the general library’s circulating stacks, many continue to await further disposition.
Access to the serial portion of the collection is presently limited by two factors: the condition of the issues themselves and, with regard to online presentation, their copyright status. While many are in fine condition, many more, particularly the older issues, are very fragile. Regrettably, interlibrary loan requests for copies of these are not possible. An early digitization effort, begun in the mid-1990s, came to a quick halt over copyright concerns, but a new effort is now being considered. At the very least, digital “preservation copies” are needed and action in this regard is being discussed, as is electronic presentation of those publications that have passed into the public domain. Greater electronic access to this valuable collection will undoubtedly be provided in the coming years. Please visit https://spec.lib.vt.edu/collections/index.html to find out more about the collection.
—Marc Brodsky, Public Service and Reference Archivist, Special Collections, email@example.com
University of Wyoming
Officially established in 1945, the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming now holds over 95,000 cubic feet of historic documents and artifacts in more than 4000 collections across twelve collecting areas, and also approximately 50000 rare books (across many subjects). The vast entertainment/popular culture collections include more than forty manuscript collections in the sf field and its various sub-genres, plus rare books.
Authors, composers, screenwriters, directors, and collectors’ papers are represented. Multiple formats including screenplays, musical scores, fiction, correspondence, printed materials, artifacts, motion-picture film, subject files, newspaper clippings, photos, audio-visual materials, movie posters, and rare books are included.
Visit the AHC website to learn more about the holdings: http://www.uwyo.edu/ahc/. Explore the catalogs of our cataloged manuscript collections and rare books, schedule an on-site appointment for research in Laramie, or contact us for assistance with page counts, scan orders, or booking a remote research session with an archivist, when we can show collections by zoom to help facilitate your research. Reference Services: 307-766-3756, firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with us on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Virmuze) and our blog, ahcwyo.org/, where we are #ALWAYS ARCHIVING. A sampling of some of the American Heritage Center Manuscript collections includes:
Forest J. Ackerman Papers, 1920-1987. 94.04 cubic ft. (184 boxes). Ackerman was a collector, editor, and writer of works on sf, fantasy and horror. He published the first sf fanzine in 1932, and he helped create the “fandom” subculture by starting the first sf fan club in 1930. He claimed to have coined the term “sci-fi.” The collection contains materials relating to Ackerman’s long career in science fiction (1941-1987) plus a portion of his memorabilia collection (ca. 1920-1987).
Robert Bloch Papers, holdings mainly between 1962-1994. 284.52 cubic ft. (394 boxes). Robert Bloch primarily wrote fantasy and suspense fiction: his most famous book was “Psycho,” but he also wrote Straitjacket, The Psychopath, Out of the Mouths of Graves, and Psycho II. He published hundreds of stories in the pulp magazines, and he wrote scripts for television programs including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, and Star Trek. These papers consist of materials related to his personal life and professional career, as well as to the development of the horror and science fiction genres.
Robert Bloch’s Letters to Sprague Vonier, 1964-1994. 61 letters sent by Bloch to his friend Sprague Vonier regarding his writings.
Martin Caidin Papers, 1940-1992.
Caidin was an American author who wrote for magazines as well as writing non-fiction and novels. Caidin’s Cyborg was the basis for two 1970s television series, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. The collection contains manuscripts (originals and copies) of Caidin’s non-fiction books as well as manuscripts (originals and copies) of a number of novels, personal and business correspondence, subject files, galley proofs of Caidin’s books, unpublished manuscripts, and unproduced motion picture and television screenplays.
Gene L. Coon Papers, 1956-1973 13.95 cubic ft. (31 boxes).
Coon was a television writer and producer who later wrote novels, screenplays, and a play. The collection consists mainly of television scripts written by Coon with accompanying outlines and treatments. There are also a small collection of correspondence, screenplays, a play, and miscellaneous other writings, including a memoir of the television series Star Trek, authored by fellow Star Trek writer David Gerrold.
Brian Daley Papers, 1979-1987. 3.40 cubic ft. (8 boxes).
Daley wrote sf novels. He worked on the National Public Radio adaptations of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and was a scriptwriter for the television series Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. The collection includes scripts for radio plays, publicity information, and manuscripts of his novels.
Philip Jose Farmer Papers, 1954-1984. 7 cubic ft. (7 boxes).
Farmer wrote nearly 60 novels and over 100 short stories and novellas. He won the first of three Hugo Awards for the novella-length story “The Lovers.” He later won Hugo Awards for “Riders of the Purple Wage” and To Your Scattered Bodies Go. The collection contains three boxes of Farmer’s published work and many manuscripts, story notes, and character sketches as well as correspondence and printed material related to his involvement in the sf community.
George Pal Papers, 1961-1979. 4.7 cubic ft. (9 boxes).
Pal was a motion-picture producer and director and winner of eight Academy Awards, five of them for special effects. The collection is chiefly materials related to the films Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze, and Logan’s Run, including scripts, production materials, correspondence, and printed materials.
Jerry Sohl Papers, 1958-1983. 11.1 cubic ft. (21 boxes).
Sohl was an author and script writer for television and film. He wrote for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek, among others. The papers include manuscripts for books, television, and film titles as well as manuscripts and galley proofs for novels Sohl authored under the pen names Nathan Butler and Roberta Jean Mountjoy.
—Ginny Kilander, Manager, Reference Services, American Heritage Center, Ginny.Kilander@uwyo.edu
University of Calgary
The Bob Gibson Collection of Speculative Fiction at the University of Calgary charts the remarkable reading, collecting, bibliographic, and creative activities of William Robert (Bob) Gibson (1908-2001) of Calgary, Alberta. The collection was donated to the University of Calgary in 2002 by Gibson’s son Andrew.
Bob Gibson was a lifelong reader and collector of speculative fiction. As a boy growing up in the outskirts of Calgary, he would come into town on a wagon to borrow books from the public library. Sometimes he made the long journey on foot. He experienced a few lengthy illnesses as a child, which gave him ample opportunity to read a wide range of materials. He served in the Second World War, where he was injured and spent time convalescing (and reading) in an Italian hospital. Gibson, who studied and taught fine arts in Calgary, was beginning to embark on large contracts to produce ceramic works when he was injured by a car while riding his bike in Calgary. The injuries he sustained prevented him from continuing heavy physical work with clay and kilns. He instead worked part time as a commissionaire, and devoted himself to extensive reading and collecting of what we would now call science fiction. Gibson’s wife was born in England. Their visits to see her family in England provided him opportunities to scour for ever more magazines and books each time they traveled.
Bob Gibson’s collection consists of nearly 2,000 hardcover titles, more than 24,000 paperbacks, and runs of over 400 pulp magazines. Gibson was interested in collecting Canadian materials such as Les Adventures Futuristes (1949), Tesseracts (1985-1992), and Aboriginal Science Fiction (1986-2000), as well as Canadian printings of American pulp magazines such as Astonishing Stories, Doc Savage, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Out of This World Adventures, Planet Stories, Science Fiction, Startling Stories, Super Science Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Uncanny Tales, and Weird Tales. Book and serial titles are predominantly in English, and include Canadian, American, and British imprints. Mr. Gibson had a modest income, and while his collection includes some older and more rare items of high monetary value, affordable paperbacks form the largest component of his collection. The cataloguing and processing of Gibson’s donation has been a lengthy undertaking for library staff. Hardcovers, serial runs, and the homemade anthologies were initially prioritized in groups for cataloguing and description; then the long task of cataloguing and adding all the paperbacks began. The catalogued items now number over 13,000. The catalogued items in the collection can be explored at https://asc.ucalgary.ca/book-collection/bob-gibson/. Gibson’s archival materials are described at https://searcharchives.ucalgary.ca/bob-gibson-fonds.
Beyond reading and collecting published stories and books, Gibson created a remarkable index of stories and works that he read. He fashioned his own wooden card catalogue, consisting of seven linear feet of index sheets where, with miniscule printing, he tracked all stories and works he had come across. He indexed his entire collection by title and author, and developed a system of symbols that he used to denote various aspects of the thousands of stories he read. Unfortunately, library staff have never been able to locate any kind of master “legend” to the various symbols he assigned to these stories. He created 888 hand-bound and hand-illustrated anthologies featuring stories he clipped from 19th and 20th century magazines. As an amateur and early anthologist of stories, he had an expansive and idiosyncratic sense of the “fantastical” and of what constituted “science fiction.” Fifty of Gibson’s handmade anthologies have been digitized and are freely available in the University of Calgary’s Digital Collections. Due to the multitude of rights holders and copyright statuses of the thousands of stories contained within the anthology collection, many more individual anthologies have been imaged but are not openly available. Researchers interested in these anthologies are welcome to contact Special Collections.
Researchers have been particularly drawn to Gibson’s anthologies and his collecting practices. University of Calgary researcher Dr. Stefania Forlini embarked with colleagues Dr. Uta Hinirchs and (then) graduate student Bridget Moynihan on a federally funded, multi-year research project “The Stuff of Science Fiction: An Experiment in Literary History.” This project’s aims were to explore The Bob Gibson Collection for its potential to revise the history of the sf genre using both traditional and recent digital-humanities methods, using the collection to develop more generous ways to present digitized collections, both for specialist and non-specialist audiences. Dr. Forlini and her team developed “The Anthology Explorer” as well as “The Speculative W@nderverse” to facilitate exploration of the anthologies. Forlini and her team decoded many of Gibson’s symbols, but some still remain a mystery. Gibson’s collection was also the focus of doctoral research and creative writing by Jess Nicol, a former graduate student at the University of Calgary.
Though a collector of modest means, Bob Gibson tenaciously and assiduously amassed a huge and impressive array of materials documenting the emergence and flourishing of speculative fiction as a genre. Most of his collecting took place in a pre-Internet world. He relied on the physical scouring of book shops, estate, and “boot” sales in Canada and England, and on sharing information and seeking out materials by corresponding with fellow collectors in his circle. He was highly organized, maintaining careful inventories and notebooks of his holdings. The records he kept and card indexes he built testify to his creativity and resourcefulness as a collector. Throughout his life, Gibson made every effort to locate and preserve as much sf as could fit into his small family home; and although he made his own contributions as an anthologist and bibliographer, he had no notion that his collection would one day become an active hub for researchers at a university library. Thanks to his son Andrew, this collection is available to any reader, student, or researcher with appreciation for and interest in Gibson’s devoted and inclusive notion of “the fantastical.”
—Annie Murray, Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian, email@example.com
Toronto Public Library
The Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy was founded in 1970 when sf author and editor Judith Merril donated her personal collection of approximately 5000 novels, anthologies, and periodicals to the Toronto Public Library. Originally named the Spaced Out Library, the name was changed to honour Judith Merril in 1991. The collection, located on the 3rd floor of the Lillian H. Smith Branch at 239 College Street, is a publicly accessible research archive. Housed in temperature and humidity-controlled stacks, the Merril Collection is a major resource for research in sf, fantasy, horror, utopian and dystopian literature, pulp fiction, and graphic novels. It holds over 80,000 items. The majority are hardcover and paperback novels and anthologies and make up the primary focus of the collection. In addition, there are pulp magazines, periodicals, fanzines, graphic novels, fantasy role-playing games, art, manuscripts, and realia. On an ongoing basis, nonfiction materials pertaining to sf and fantasy are added to support current holdings and acquisition of graphic novels and fantasy role-playing games.
Most holdings are listed in the Toronto Public Library’s online catalogue. Additional finding aids maintained and updated by staff can be found listed on the Merril Collection website at tpl.ca/merril. These include a series list (holdings that are part of a series) in both chronological and suggested reading order; a list of role-playing games (to which accession numbers were recently assigned to promote faster retrieval); and an alphabetical listing by title of of graphic novels. The collection’s development policy proposes one copy of all current English-language sf and fantasy titles be added to the Collection, with an emphasis on Canadian materials. In addition, the Merril Collection buys out-of-print and small press material from specialized vendors. All materials purchased are kept intact, complete with original dust jackets.
Donations that build upon the strengths of the collection are considered and accepted periodically. Many Canadian authors deposit their manuscripts at the Merril Collection, and current holdings include Guy Gavriel Kay’s early fantasy manuscripts and Phyllis Gotlieb’s sf manuscripts.
The collection of sf art books is heavily used by the public, and the Merril Collection also collects original sf and fantasy art. An internal finding aid of the art in the collection was created in 2020. Items out of copyright and in suitable condition for digitization are scanned and added to the Digital Archive of Toronto Public Library each year and can be viewed at https://digitalarchive.tpl.ca/
The Merril Collection is open 48 hours a week and has four professional staff. Collection materials are not available for circulation or interlibrary loan. Some may be photocopied or scanned, depending on the fragility of the items. Researchers make frequent requests to reproduce materials in both print and online publications, and Toronto Public Library offers both print and digital reproduction services. The Merril Collection follows standard conservation practices for books, periodicals, and art; its materials are listed in the Toronto Public Library’s catalogue, bringing questions in from all over the world. Questions are received and answered by phone and e-mail, as well as in person. The Merril Collection phone number is 416-393-7748 (fax is 416-393-7741); e-mail queries should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quarterly, thematic exhibitions are curated by staff and presented in display cases in the Merril Collection reading room. Class visits are offered to grades 7-12 and to university students, as well as special interest groups. Every other year, the Merril Collection hosts the Academic Conference on Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy, and several distinguished researchers have used the collection for their research, Margaret Atwood and John Clute among them. In 2021 the staff collaborated on a grand-scale exhibit, “Spaced Out: 50 Years of the Merril Collection,” on display at the Toronto Reference Library TD Gallery. A virtual tour can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lip4UL1Xes.
The Merril Collection hosts several programs during the course of the year and began to offer online programs in 2021. We have been fortunate to host many of the luminaries of the genre over the years.
The Friends of the Merril Collection is an organization of volunteers who assist in outreach and fundraising. Every year, the Friends sponsor programs including book launches, readings, and lectures. They also publish a biannual newsletter, SOL Rising, and maintain a web page to publicize Merril Collection events and holdings: friendsofmerril.org/. They maintain a Facebook page on which Events pages are created to publicize the events sponsored by the Friends of the Merril Collection.
The Merril Collection will continue to function as a gateway and community hub, supporting research into speculative fiction and responding to changes in technology.
—Sephora Henderson, Senior Department Head, email@example.com
New South Wales
University of Sydney
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection at the University of Sydney, established in 1974, is one of the largest institutional collections of sf and fantasy in the Pacific region. The collection includes hard covers and paperbacks, reference works, indexes, journals, fan material, artwork, film posters and stills, manuscripts, memorabilia, and a large collection of early comics. It measures 1678 linear metres (5505 feet) and is a prime resource for teaching and research.
A sample of works held includes one of Australia’s earliest science-fiction titles, the 1892 edition of The Germ Growers: an Australian Story of Adventure and Mystery by Robert Easterley. We hold the 1898 publication of H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. Novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs include A Princess of Mars (1917) and At the Earth’s Core (1914), and the collection also includes the first publication of Arkham House, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider (1939).
Many works came to the library in formed collections, most significantly those created by Ron Graham and Colin Steele. In 1979 the Ron Graham Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection was acquired, significantly enlarging our holdings. A private collection, it was carefully amassed over a 45-year period by the Sydney collector Ron Graham, who died in 1979. Science-fiction novels dominate the collection, but it is also rich in manuscripts, typescripts, notes, and correspondence with such authors as Brian Aldiss, Richard Cowper, Fritz Leiber, Kate Wilhelm, and Donald Wollheim.
Other significant components in the Graham collection are the complete or near-complete runs of famous early magazines, including Amazing, Astounding, and Weird Tales. There is also a sub-collection of comics consisting of 1257 titles, with over 12,000 issues collected to the end of 1978. Graham purchased comics to supplement his sf collection, so that horror, lost race, science fiction, and superhero titles predominate. Most is American material from 1960 on, but there is a good sample of titles from the 1950s and the Golden Age of American comics (1938-1945). Australian comics are haphazardly represented with 188 titles, many runs consisting of only one or two issues, although there are some substantial holdings, such as Century and Fivescore.
Fanzines are well represented, both from Australia and overseas, plus some Australian sf convention material (flyers, program booklets, etc.). Donald Wollheim’s collection of early fanzines (1930-1940s) was included in Graham’s donation.
A large Cultural Gift from Colin Steele in 2004 complemented and extended the holdings of the Science Fiction and Fantasy collection. An Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University, Steele donated his significant private collection of sf, fantasy, horror, and periodicals. He had built up this comprehensive collection over many years in England and Australia, and it includes complete works of leading Australian and international authors, as well as anthologies and journals.
The collections have been consulted by students from the University of Sydney and other Australian universities undertaking postgraduate research. The author Justine Larbalestier used the collections extensively for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Sydney, later published under the title The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction (2002).
Smaller collections include a collection of manuscripts, artwork, memorabilia, and prizes relating to the work of A. Bertram Chandler; material from Dr. Antony Howe relating to the Sydney University SF Association (1976-1980), the Australasian Dr. Who Fan Club (1976-1984) and Howe’s fanzine Zerinza (1976-1986); collections capturing the creative work of Australian sf and fantasy authors such as Traci Harding, Ian Irvine, Margo Lanagan, and Justine Larbalestier; and ANZAPA mailings #1 (October 1968) to #28 (April 1973), #209 (October 2002), #211 (February 2003), #213 (June 2003), #215 (October 2003) to #265 (February 2012). (ANZAPA is the acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association).
Graham Stone’s sf collection came to the library following his death in 2013. The collection reflects his commitment to the genre, with samples of novels, fanzines, and indexes he created, produced, and published. Stone’s knowledge of and contribution to the genre is evidenced as author/compiler of Australian Science Fiction Index in 1964 and 1968, the Journal of the Australian Science Fiction Association (1965-1970), the first edition of the Index to British Science Fiction Magazines 1934-1953 (in seven parts, 1968-1975), and an index of book reviews (1973).
The University of Sydney Library’s website https://www.library.sydney.edu.au/ provides access to search the Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection.
A list of the magazines (adventure, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the weird) from the Ron Graham Collection is available at https://library.sydney.edu.au/collections/rare-books/graham.html
Plans are underway for the preservation scanning of brittle fanzines and early Australian fanzine material. Projects such as these reaffirm the importance and strength of the University of Sydney Library’s nationally and internationally recognized Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection.
—Julie Price, Liaison Librarian, Rare Books and Special Collections, https://library.sydney.edu.au/collections/rare-books/
University of Oslo
The Science Fiction Collection at the Science Library at the University of Oslo is the largest sf collection in Norway and probably the largest collection in Scandinavia that is openly available to the public. As of 2021, the collection holds about ten thousand indexed books in hard cover or paperback, with printed editions dating from 2021 back to 1920. The timespan of the origin of the works, however, begins well before that, with examples of proto-science fiction including Thomas More’s 1516 Utopia and contributions from 19th century authors such as Mary Shelley, Edwin Abbott, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. The main holdings consist of items from the 1970s and 1980s, which comprise almost half the titles; there are also many holdings in early twentieth-century sf. “Golden Age” and “New Wave” storytellers are both well represented, along with cyberpunk sf and more recent contributions. The collection can be divided into four main parts: the main book section, the meta science-fiction section, the multimedia section, and the magazine and fanzine section. Contemporary and older television series, movies, and other av material make up about 5% of the collection, approximately 500 items. Magazines and local fanzines are in the process of being catalogued, with the fanzines also being scanned for better availability and future preservation. The magazine/fanzine part of the collection is estimated to be somewhere between 500-1000 individual items. Over 90% of the collection is in English, but publications and translated works in the Scandinavian languages also have an important place and are an important part of the collections mandate. The overall sf collection is growing at a steady pace, with a backlog of around 5000 items waiting to be cataloged.
The collection had its start in 2012 at the then newly formed Science Library. The main contributions came in form of donations from organizations and individuals, rather than traditional purchases, with less than 10% of the items purchased by the library, mainly the Meta Science Fiction collection and newer books. We do not announce that we are looking for donations, so support seems to come mostly through word of mouth and information from other libraries unwilling or otherwise unable to accept such donations.
A special feature of the collection is its placement in the Science library. This acknowledges the close relationship between Science and Science Fiction in both theme and culture.
Our vision for the collection is that the books should be used and enjoyed for their own value and not just for academic study. The University Library of Oslo is a public library open not only to scholars and students but to the general public. The academic libraries in Norway are connected through a shared catalog available for search and administration of inter-library lending. In addition to local on-campus use, items are also borrowed by users from other academic libraries, common municipal libraries, and institutions like high schools, hospitals, and prisons. The collection is open for national and international collaboration, and items have been loaned as far as England, Germany, and the Svalbard islands, in addition to the Norwegian mainland and the Nordic countries. Around 300 items are out on circulation at any given time.
The main part of the collection is placed in a user-friendly and self-serve environment that users can browse and explore, either sitting down and enjoying a book in the library or registering a loan on the self-service terminals for taking books off campus.
Having a large, dedicated sf collection and enthusiastic staff at a central access-point on campus creates a lot of opportunity for the direct and indirect use of items from the collection in research projects, collaboration, and academic discourse across different academic disciplines. The collection has been an item of study in traditional literature studies as well as user-interface programming and design and collection management studies; it has been featured in Bachelor, Master, and PhD projects. The UiO library has many visiting researchers and students on shorter research assignments, and the sf collection is a popular item of study. The collection is also a popular go-to source of inspiration for events and exhibitions, as the sf genre holds such a rich discourse over a variety of topics concerning natural and social sciences, philosophy and art.
—Tone C. Gadmar & Kyrre Traavik Låberg, Library of Medicine and Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech)
The Science Fiction Collection at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona Tech or UPC) began in 1991 as part of a range of sf-related activities: the UPC Science Fiction International Award, a new Science Fiction Collection in the university library, and a new students’ association, United by Science Fiction (Units Per la Ciència-Ficció, in Catalan, or UPCF). The main idea behind these efforts was that science fiction was the genre best suited for introducing students to a literary field at a technical university.
Sponsored by the University Board of Trustees, the UPC SF International Award is geared towards unpublished sf novellas (manuscripts between 70 and 115 pages), written in Spanish, Catalan, French, or English. An award of 2,000 Euros is presented to the winner. Based on the opinion of the jury, a prize of 2,000 euros will be awarded and, if deemed appropriate, a special honorable mention. Optionally, an honorable mention may also be given to the best narration presented by a member of the UPC.
Outstanding personalities in the field of science or science fiction have been invited to give a talk at the awards ceremony; past guests have included Marvin Minsky, Brian W. Aldiss, John Gribbin, Alan Dean Foster, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford, Connie Willis, Stephen Baxter, Robert J. Sawyer, David Brin, José Miguel Aguilera (Spanish sf writer and screenwriter), Vernor Vinge, Orson Scott Card, Miquel de Palol (Catalan writer), Elizabeth Moon, Brandon Sanderson, Jasper Fforde, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Neal Stephenson. The winning novels were published in an annual volume by Ediciones B in its sf-line Nova from 1991 to 2008. From 2009 to 2014 they were published by the University’s publishing house (Iniciativa Digital Politècnica). And from 2016, the year in which the award became biannual, the publisher is Apache Libros. After nineteen years, the award has become a big success, drawing more than a hundred entries per year, a third from outside Spain. At the same time, with the help of Luis Anglada, director of the UPC Library, and based on a proposal by Professor Miquel Barceló, editor, writer, and specialist in the genre, the UPC began a new Science Fiction collection in the library, which today houses more than 9500 volumes, including novels, essays, and other books, and featuring practically every sf publication that appeared in Spain during the 1950s and 1960s. Some of this material is very rare.
The Science Fiction Collection has been a huge success among the university community. The collection has expanded over the years to include not only sf literature, but also comics, graphic novels, films, and television series. News updates, recommendations for reading, and further information may be found on our website at https://bibliotecnica.upc.edu/brgf/cienciaficcio (in Catalan). The rules of the award are also available in English.
—Montse Aragüés Sánchez, Librarian, Biblioteca Rector Gabriel Ferraté (BRGF), email@example.com
University of Liverpool
The Science Fiction Foundation at the University of Liverpool was originally established as the research library of the Science Fiction Foundation. It was built through the generosity of writers, publishers, and fans, and is now the largest collection of material relating to science fiction in the European Community, and one of the two or three most important outside the US.
The Foundation itself was a loose organization of academics and writers who, thanks to George Hay, Ellis Hillman, and others, found a home at North East London Polytechnic (now the University of East London) in 1971. Arthur C. Clarke and, later, Ursula K. Le Guin became patrons. At date of publication, the current patrons are authors Neil Gaiman and Nalo Hopkinson. The Foundation’s main objectives are fourfold: 1) to provide research facilities for anyone wishing to study sf; 2) to investigate and promote the usefulness of sf in education; 3) to disseminate information about sf; and 4) to promote a discriminating understanding of the nature of sf.
Initially, with Peter Nicholls as its first Administrator, the Foundation was involved in a number of major projects, including a Book Exhibition in conjunction with the National Book League and a series of public lectures at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1975, which became the book Science Fiction at Large (1976). It has since sponsored conferences, published books, and established a high-profile series of lectures at the annual British sf convention, Eastercon. Its main activities, however, have centered on the critical journal Foundation and the establishment and promotion of its library.
Foundation began in 1972, edited by Charles Barren and then Peter Nicholls, who left in 1977 and was succeeded by Malcolm Edwards, who himself later moved on to the world of publishing. These days were followed by national cuts in education funding. The structure of the Foundation as an organization, with a Council of academics and sf professionals and a body of invited Members, remained, yet the lack of a full-time administrator meant that much of its outreach work was scaled down. Joyce Day, a part-time secretary, became its only (and much-valued) salaried worker. Nevertheless, the unpaid work of Foundation Chairs Charles Barren and John Redford, and Honorary Administrators Ian McPherson and Ted Chapman (Ted was also Honorary Librarian), and especially the “Friends of the Foundation” support group, kept things going and consolidated the Library’s importance.
In 1993, the University of East London decided to cease supporting the Library. It was placed in the care of the University of Liverpool, which was beginning an MA in Science Fiction Studies and had appointed a librarian to take charge of the library and achieve its potential. In January 1995, a formal agreement was signed between the Friends of Foundation (represented by John Clute) and the University of Liverpool. At this ceremony Arthur C. Clarke, for many years a patron of the SFF, received an honorary doctorate for his services to literature. The Foundation is now an educational charity whose aims remain the support and encouragement of the study, teaching, research, and reading of science fiction.
The Foundation Collection arrived with an extensive card catalogue, but without any form of electronic records. Funding from the Higher Education Council of England in 1995 allowed two staff members to work on electronically cataloguing the collection for two years. Over 19,000 records of English-language fiction, 2,000 records of non-fiction monographs, and over 1,000 records for periodicals (magazines, critical journals, and fanzines) were created, and an index was compiled of 5,500 articles, reviews, and other relevant materials appearing in critical journals and fanzines. This material was made available via the Library’s Online Public Access Catalogue. Major funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board in 2002 allowed a three-year project to enhance the existing catalogue and develop both the journal index and the listings of archive materials. The fruits of this work are now available as the Science Fiction Hub (http://www.sfhub.ac.uk), a web-based subject portal for sf scholars.
The collection now consists of over 30,000 books and extensive runs of most of the major sf magazines. This is supplemented by an extensive stock of critical works, both books and journals, with a number of sub-collections, including the British Science Fiction Association Library and the Myers Collection of Russian SF, which complements growing and increasingly important collections of material from the countries of Eastern Europe. Manuscripts, correspondence, legal papers, and other documents of a number of prominent sf writers are on deposit with, or on loan to, the collection. These include John Brunner’s awards and manuscripts, as well as the manuscripts of Liverpool horror writer Ramsey Campbell. In addition, a large collection of fanzines and sf convention materials, including audio tapes of talks and panel discussions, spotlight the genre’s history.
Liverpool University also holds other material of interest to sf readers and scholars. The Olaf Stapledon Archive and the archive of the Liverpool sf writer Eric Frank Russell have particular local connections, while the John Wyndham Archive was purchased with the aid of a grant from the National Heritage Lottery Fund. The most recent acquisitions include the Brian W. Aldiss Library (purchased by the University in 2018 and complementing the Brian W. Aldiss Papers, held at Oxford’s Bodleian Library) as well as the personal library of Arthur C. Clarke. The latter is comprised of printed works, video recordings, photographs and objects from Clarke’s collection—including a personal typewriter on which he wrote the famous article “Extra-Terrestrial Relays” for Wireless World in 1945, describing soon-to-be-realized geostationary satellite communications. The Clarke Library supplements the ‘Clarkive’ housed at the Smithsonian Institute in the US. The library’s collection of children’s fiction likewise offers much for the investigator of early sf. The Foundation Collection is seen as part of its resources in this field, but very much the jewel in its crown that offers context to these archival holdings.
Over the years since the move to Liverpool, donations and bequests have extended the collection’s depth and scope. Following a financial bequest from the British book dealer and fan Ken Slater, it was decided to fill gaps in the holdings of early science fiction, particularly British material, and a more recent very generous donation of books has enabled to us to consolidate our holdings in this area and to replace much material in poor physical condition. Recent acquisitions, through the Slater bequest, include a copy of the scarce 1950 first edition of Edwin Lester Arnold’s Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation on Mars. Another recent, large donation of books ensured that the Foundation Collection is fully up to date on sf publications.
The collection remains very much a working library attuned to the needs of academics and fan researchers, and to enquiries from the public and the media. It is well-used by undergraduate and graduate students at Liverpool and elsewhere, and by both national and international scholars. It has loaned materials and provided consultation for exhibitions and displays across the country.
Most recently, the collection has sought to expand its online presence via blog posts, collection websites (such as the website for the Arthur C. Clarke Library), and an ongoing digitization project involving the archival materials of Olaf Stapledon. These materials (and others) are intellectual loci for the Olaf Stapledon Centre for Speculative Futures: an interdisciplinary research centre based in the University of Liverpool, bringing together researchers from various disciplines but focused primarily on English, Philosophy, and Special Collections & Archives. The Collection has also, through collaborative projects, conference presences, symposia and so on, more firmly established itself as an international center for science fiction in both its creative and critical aspects.
Future plans involve actively seeking out—and sensitively processing—materials from under-represented writers, including women, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, and disabled people, as well as undertaking an ongoing assessment and updating of cataloguing and metadata standards as part of wider initiatives to “decolonize” the University. The Science Fiction Foundation Collection is in strong shape in the 21st Century; and through its attachment to a major research university, its potential as a resource has become realized.
—Andy Sawyer, Science Fiction Collections Librarian (1993-2018) and Phoenix Alexander, SF Collections Librarian (2019-2022), firstname.lastname@example.org
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