Gardner Dozois Archive Goes On The Block

The science fiction archive of Gardner Dozois is being offered for sale by James Cummins Bookseller of New York. It’s not easy to put a price tag on history but, what the heck — you can have it for $150,000.

For that you get 35 linear feet of letters and notebooks — 17 standard archive boxes and 11 letter files – plus a digital archive of 35,000 e-mails (sent and received) and 2,250 electronic documents.

Dozois has enjoyed a long career as one of the field’s top writers and editors. Few have surpassed his influence as the editor of Asimov’s (1985 to 2004).

The letters reveal his working relationships with almost all the notable sf writers in recent decades, as well as his long friendships with George R. R. Martin, Jack Dann, Pat Cadigan, Eileen Gunn, Howard Waldrop, Mary Rosenblum, Joe Haldeman, and Jack Haldeman; and the long connection with agent Virginia Kidd.

The archive contains many unique items, such as a response from James Tiptree to Dozois’ introduction for the Gregg Press edition of her Ten Thousand Light-Years from Home (1976) and the letter in which Alice Sheldon revealed her identity to Dozois in advance of the public acknowledgment.

The Cummins website displays two letters from Tiptree/Sheldon, the revelation letter and another written in relief after getting Dozois’ reaction. And it reproduces a page from the letter Dozois wrote to recommend himself for the Asimov’s job. It ends —

If we create a “community of excitement”, the feeling that we are a creative focus, a showcase for leading-edge work, then we may well be able to get a look at some key material even before higher-paying markets like Omni. That’s what John W. Campbell did in his day with Astounding/Analog, and it’s what Terry Carr has done with his Universe anthology series – because of his reputation for artistic receptivity, Carr does get some material before Omni does, in spite of the fact that he cannot afford to pay anywehere near as much. I have a similar reputation for editorial integrity and artistic receptivity, and I think we can set IASFM up as a similar showcase for really major stories of the year. This is about the only real way we can compete with Omni, and I think it can be done.

Few predictions made by science fiction writers come true — but that one did.

6 thoughts on “Gardner Dozois Archive Goes On The Block

  1. Well, if Mr. Dozois throws in a complete set of The Year’s Best Science Fiction (first edition hardcovers, of course), we’ll talk…8-)

  2. Robert:

    I agree. Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely that any of the libraries specializing in SF/F archives can purchase this collection. If it doesn’t sell at that price (which is very likely), it’s also quite possible that it will be broken up. That will make it extremely difficult for fans and scholars to have access.

  3. I cannot do this from work but this evening I am going to send the File770 link to the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside and also to UCLA’s collection.

  4. If anybody is curious about SF/F archival collections that are already in libraries and available to fans and scholars, here is a wiki put together by the Science Fiction Collections Consortium (SFCC):

    (My wife, Lynne M. Thomas, is the Curator of the Northern Illinois University SFWA Collection that holds the archives of over 60 authors, editors, fans, and SFWA as an organization.)

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