Monday, 24 November 2014

New Project to Digitise 10,000 Sci-Fi Zines from University of Iowa Libraries

Back in 2012, the University of Iowa Libraries announced its acquisition of the James L. 'Rusty' Hevelin Collection of pulps, fanzines, and science fiction books. Hevelin died at the end of 2011 but he was well known, particularly in US science fiction circles, as an avid SF fan, collector and dealer. His founding of Iowa state's Icon and DemiCon SF conventions made the Univeristy's purchase of the collection a fitting one.

The items in the collection attest to Hevelin's years as a fan, during the evolution of SF fandom, and the announcement in October of plans to digitise 10,000 fanzines was motivated by a growing interest in the history of this movement. Fanzines to be digised include titles such as the The Phantagraph published in the 1930s-1940s in New York and the Leeds-produced Futurian War Digest (covered in previous posts Futures Past: SF History in Leeds, P.2 and P.4, an issue of which can also be seen in the SF montage that forms a background to the blog). These were DIY materials produced for a growing SF community and often distributed by hand. They also provided a chance for aspiring SF writers to publish their stories, some of whom, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clarke to name a few, would go on to become icons of the genre. The University's Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture Collections, Peter Balestrieri, explained, 'some of the earliest works by these writers can be found in Rusty’s collection of fanzines, along with important writing from all of the major fans who created this new form of popular culture'.

There are plans to record the progress of the project to digitise the fanzines at the Hevelin Collection Tumblr, where updates will be posted.

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