Robert Briggs (1930-2013)

Robert Briggs, who was present when the Washington Science Fiction Association “formed in a coal cellar”, died February 5 in Sarasota, FL.

He was one of seven DC fans who met at the Philadelphia Worldcon in 1947 and decided to start the Washington Science Fiction Society. Another founder, Franklin Kerkhof, recalls:

We progressed fairly well; we attracted some new and valuable members: Willy Ley attended a couple of meetings and once we had both Mr. Ley and Seabury Quinn. Then disaster threatened. Russell Swanson, who had been acting president, was discharged from the Army and left Ft. Myer for his home in Haddam, Connecticut sometime in December 1947.

Fortunately, Louis E. Garner, Jr., an energetic newcomer with a flair for organization, attended one meeting then came to the next full of plans and with the rough draft of a new constitution. The group changed its name to WSFA and elected officers. Briggs became WSFA’s first vice-president.   

The group soon decided to start a convention and Briggs chaired the first three Disclaves — 1950, 1951, and 1953 (they skipped 1952).

In recent years Briggs’ fan activity has been limited to membership in SAPS, an amateur press association, which he rejoined in 1978 after having briefly been a member in the early 1950s.

Wally Weber learned of Briggs’ death from Lutheran Services in Sarasota.

[Thanks to Robert Lichtman for the story.]