LASFS Sends a Platoon to the Storage Wars

Color photo. Taken outside storage unit. Four people looking into cardboard storage box.
LASFSians hard at work: What’s in this box?

[INTRODUCTION. I got a little misty reading Heath Row’s article in The Stf Amateur about LASFS divesting some of its fanzine files. Since the clubhouse was sold in 2016 these decades-old legacies have been in a storage unit, and the club is no longer willing to bear the cost. The good news is part of them will end up filling gaps in the Eaton Collection at UC Riverside, with the remainder hopefully accepted by the University of Iowa’s collection, so the materials will live on. While people were pulling stuff out of the unit they also found some club heirlooms. Heath Row gave File 770 permission to run his account of the work party.]

By Heath Row: Fun with Fanzines. Last weekend, I went to Sylmar to join a handful of LASFSans in cleaning out one of the club’s storage units. At the December board meeting, Elayne Pelz informed the board that the unit’s monthly cost had increased substantially, and the board voted to divest the club of the filing cabinets holding the club’s archives and various clubzine back issues, including De Profundis, APA-L, and LASFAPA.

I went to see how much of those I could salvage, box, and fit in our car, for donation to the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy at the University of California, Riverside, and the Iowa Archives of the Avant-Garde at the University of Iowa, which has a sizable holding of apae material, including my previous donations. Pelz had previously reached out to potential homes, finding no takers, but I was able to identify and secure interest. The storage unit in question is not one we have ready access to. Materials are stored in large, wooden walk-in crates—pods—that are then warehoused. With a work group involving Pelz, Christian B. McGuire, Cathy and Dean Johnson, Gavin Claypool, and myself, we were able to empty three of five such crates, cutting the club’s storage costs substantially.

Color photo. 14 "banker's" storage boxes stacked against an iron paling fence.
The resulting Banker’s boxes, now in my storage.

Over the course of several hours, I was able to prepare almost 20 Banker’s boxes of De Profundis dating back to 1957 (three boxes), APA-L #1-360 (five boxes), and LASFAPA #1-487 (11 boxes). While no archive wants the hard copy APA-Ls—they’re scanned and available online—the other materials will eventually go to Eaton. Duplicates from their holdings will hopefully go to Iowa.

Color photo of 5 three-drawner steel filing cabinets and 1 two-drawer filing cabinet. Gavin Claypool in background.
Gavin Claypool and some of the filing cabinets for disposal.

Pelz plans to donate early materials from the 1940s and 1950s to Fanac. Cathy Johnson assessed the club archives, and as far as I know, only clubzine and apae materials were set aside for disposal. (I didn’t see any back issues of Shangri L’Affaires, but there weren’t any in the cabinets we got rid of, so they’re still in storage.) After I’d boxed the materials I wanted to salvage, I got a chance to see some other prime holdings of the club. That included William Rotsler’s 1997 Hugo for Best Fan Artist and the urn that held his ashes after cremation. His ashes were subsequently spread by his family; the urn is empty.

I also learned about a new—to me—LASFS-oriented apa, SSAPA, or the Second Sunday APA. It debuted April 14, 2002, and didn’t seem to last long. Does anyone remember anything about the SSAPA? (Joe Zeff, perhaps? You were in #1!) One additional vignette: When we identified the filing cabinets containing LASFAPA, they were locked. There was an assortment of keys and padlocks on hand, but none of the keys worked for those cabinets. I was worried we wouldn’t even be able to open them. I tried to jimmy it open with a flat key ring attachment, and Dean Johnson used what few tools he’d brought. Then we had the storage unit staff drill the lock bolts out! That did the trick.

17 thoughts on “LASFS Sends a Platoon to the Storage Wars

  1. LASFS will have 30 linear feet of sale table space at the Vintage Paperback Show on March 17th. (Another shameless plug for the show.)

  2. I’d be interested to know where online you can go to view scanned APA-L Distributions from 1 to 360, having been a contributor to the first hundred of those, myself. Heath Row, are you reading this?

  3. Seeing William Rotsler’s urn is a poignant surprise. I kind of expected there to be some doodles.

    What is LASFS going to do with his 1997 Hugo Award?

  4. Chris. once I fill the gaps for Eaton and Iowa, I’ll assess what to do with the remainder. I’ll keep you in mind.

    Lenny, I’ll email you individually. We’re only granting access to current and former contributors, so you fit the bill! We actually have almost the full run scanned — except for a small relatively recent gap that I’ll eventually scan.

    Rcade, I don’t presume to speak on behalf of the club, but we put those items back into storage. They’re keepers and will hopefully go back on display in a future clubhouse.

    If anyone would like to receive my fanzine monthly, let me know and I can add you to the distribution list.

  5. Lenny, I snagged it from your Web site. Let me know if you don’t get the folder share notice.

    I regularly donate fannish materials to Eaton and Iowa, and mundane fanzines to DePaul University in Chicago. I can help broker connections if needed.

  6. Heath Row wrote, in regard to the APA-L mailings: “We’re only granting access to current and former contributors”

    I’m wondering if this approach might be a way to handle the early mailings of A WOMEN’S APA that are still in a box out in the garage, from the early years when my wife Hilde was a member. The problem has always been that, while it started out with both male and female members, in 1978 it went women-only and expelled the male members. It was also a pretty strong rule that the contents were not to be shared among publicly. (I gather — never looked beyond the mailings’ front covers myself — that some very personal things were discussed in the mailings.)

    BUT . . . I just can’t bring myself to toss an important part of fannish history in the dumpster. I’ve asked for advice or suggestions in years past, but never got much in response.

    The other idea I’ve had is to seal the mailings in a tight box with something (silica gel?) to help preserve them, and arrange to have it kept unopened until all the members are deceased. But how to arrange for that? (Any archivists reading, please chime in.)

  7. Years ago I gave Kelly Freas’s ASF copies with his cover art from the early 60s to LASFS library. Wonder whatever happened to them.

  8. I would also like to know where the scanned APA-Ls are available – I have a number I used to post some of Fred Patten’s Rabanos Radiactivos zines to post to his website, but these were only Fred’s zines, not the whole apas..

  9. Heath has been true to his word, now giving me access to the whole sixty years worth of APA-L disties. He’ll probably notice your post and contact you soon.

  10. Bruce, we’ve found the current-and-former member access to be palatable to folks who are involved, even if I haven’t secured everyone’s permission (current or former) to make them more publicly available.

    Kay, I’ve emailed you to confirm your participation.

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