Huett: 1954 Worldcon Archive on Block

By Kim Huett: While looking for something else on the ABE website I discovered that The Fine Books Company is offering for sale what it claims is the paperwork for the 1954 San Francisco Worldcon. For a lazy $12,218.50 they will provide the following:

Included in this massive archive is everything that one might want to know about running a convention: Hotel rates for rooms, banquets, buffet menus, rentals, carpenters, electricians, etc. There are letters from attendees and those who wished to attend but could not; paid invoices from photo shops, printers, etc.; canceled checks (along with some unused ones as well) and check stubs; Radio scripts from local stations and press clippings and pictures from local papers; letters from major Motion Picture Studios answering requests about film availability; SIGNED letters from advertizers (including all the small presses); the entire convention mailing list; black & white photos picturing singularly or in group Ackerman, Anderson, Boucher, Bloch, Campbell, Clifton, Dick, Ellison, Evans, Gold, Mayne, Ley, Moskowitz, Nourse, E.E. Smith, Williamson, Van Vogt, Vampira, et. al. But of course the major importance of this archive has yet to be mentioned. And that’s simply the great abundance of SIGNED letters, post-cards and notes from authors and artists. To wit: Anderson, Asimov (3), Blaisdell, Blish, Bond, Bonestell (4), Boucher (3), Bradbury (4), Bretnor, F. Brown, Howard Browne, Budrys, Campbell (5), Clement, Clifton (2), Collier, Conklin, DeCamp, DeFord, Dick, Dickson, Dollens (8), Emshwiller (2), Eshbach (2), Evans, Farmer, Freas (3), Greenberg (2), Gunn, Heinlein, Hunter (5), Kuttner, Ley (5), Moskowitz, Neville, Nolan (3), Nourse, Obler, Orban (3), Palmer, Pratt, Simak, E.E. Smith (2), Tucker, Williamson (3), Wylie, Finally, also included is a set of audio tapes which were taken at this convention. Now for the first time (depending on your age I guess) you can not only be privy to what went on at this convention, but also hear the actual voices of Boucher, Campbell, Smith and others too numerous to mention.

Under any circumstances this would be a fascinating trove to pick through but more so at the moment given that the 1954 Worldcon has been central to several discussions I’ve been involved with of late.

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12 thoughts on “Huett: 1954 Worldcon Archive on Block

  1. Outstanding suggestion!

    And while it would be better off in the hand of any fan devoted to preserving the archive, I would also be interested in knowing if the Eaton Collection would take such a donation and keep it intact.

  2. SanSFiS (San Diego; World Fantasy 2011, Conjecture) is willing to donate ~$750 to obtain and preserve these materials. Regardless of final destination — Eaton would be wonderful of course! — these items should probably make an appearance in the Worldcon History Exhibit, and also be scanned/uploaded to

  3. Same dealer has these items for sale:
    “VARIOUS WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION BADGES in very good to fine condition being Nolacon (#9 in New Orleans -2 badges); TASFIC (#10 in Chicago -2 badges); SFCon (#12 in San Francisco The Chairman’s own badge); Clevention (#13 in Cleveland) & Solacon (#16 in South Gate, Ca. -2 badges). Also included are badges for Westercon 8 in Los Angeles in July, 1955 & Festivention, The International Science-Fiction Festival Convention (2 badges) in London, England, in effect the first World-Con held outside the U.S. and predating the first official World-Con in London in 1957. The attendance of this 1951 convention was about 200. Scarce artifacts of science fiction fandom.” $290 plus shipping.

  4. I think the Eaton is the best place for it, but I think that even better would be to get it into the hands of someone who would be willing to scan and photograph them first, then give them over to the Eaton so that they could be made available to more than those who can make it to UCRiverside.

    Heck, if someone can get the money together, I’ll be happy to do the work before handing it over to teh Eaton.

  5. Just a quick note to say that THE FINE BOOKS COMPANY does much more than claim it has this archive. It states that it DOES have this archive !!! And it DOES !!!

    Statements involving claims are better found on EBAY!

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