The Clubhouse: Save your stuff!

fanhistorica by Linda Michaels

I had hoped to bring you a little photo journal of some of the fans I knew in Detroit and Ann Arbor in the ’70s and ’80s, but alas, such limited pictures as I had were lost in moving, and there is a shocking lack of material relating to Michigan fandom online.

I promise to get to the end of my ConFusion report soon, but this is instead a call for those of you who have fannish materials — photos, fanzines, artifacts — to take steps to get them digitized and preserved and if you are so inclined, posted online for the rest of us to share.

If you don’t want to do the work yourself, there are tons of fans out there willing to help. Most notably, the Florida Association for Nucleation And Conventions (F.A.N.A.C.), Inc., has a wonderful collection of scanned photos and printed materials and a small but dedicated cadre of volunteers devoted to putting things online.

If you already do have things online somewhere, please drop me a line with the URL. I’m compiling a list of resources. Also please let me know if your materials are freely sharable among other fans.

If you need to downsize and are wondering what to do with your stuff, a number of university libraries, including the University of California-Riverside and the University of Iowa are amassing collections of fanzines and papers, and some of the larger sf clubs maintain libraries, too. Fellow fans bitten with the Kolektinbug may take them off your hands, as well — every Worldcon and many regionals have fan-fund auctions that take donations.

But, whatever you do with your things, please don’t throw anything out!

Years ago, many fans had to worry about their collections being tossed by their parents when they went to college. Now, we need to take steps to be sure they aren’t tossed by our heirs when we die. That’s happened to a heartbreaking number of collections in recent years.

If you have old fan stuff, please make sure it’s not going to be discarded when you die. So put it in your will and make sure the people who’ll be going through your belongings after you’re gone know that what looks like piles of old papers aren’t to be put on the trash heap or used to fuel your funeral pyre.

Cartoon by Linda Michaels.

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  1. From the owner of stuff point of view, and, I believe, Chris, you own stuff, stay with me: if your stuff was your children, and you could not keep them, would you want them to go to someone who would love them and cherish them? or would you want them to go to an orphanage?

    Good to know that I can visit your stuff (and you can visit my stuff) however we live, inconveniently, three time zones apart, in different countries.

  2. I dunno. While yeah, having stuff in the hands of people who love the stuff is great, but that means that far fewer people have access to them. Anyone can make a request to see stuff from the major libraries (admittedly, only to a degree due to expenses and such) but the same can't be said of individuals…

    … except for me, of course!


  3. Better fannish kipple to be in an institutional collection than in the garbage, yes, but best it to be in the hands of another fan who wants and appreciates it.

    I am slowly sorting and organizing the fanzines which I have accumulated since 1968. The slow part is the spreadsheet with its Notes column. I am organizing by the editor's last name. I have finished the As. Many more fanzine editors last names begin with B than begin with A. I am up to Bowers, Bill, so Yerke, Bruce, is months in the future.

    At some point I will make my spreadsheet visible on-line.



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