Collection encompasses 100 years of material.
The University of Iowa Libraries has acquired a significant collection of pulp magazines, fanzines, and science fiction books owned by the late James L. “Rusty” Hevelin. The collection encompasses nearly one hundred years of material, documenting in great detail the development of science fiction, popular culture, and participatory fan culture in the United States during the twentieth century.
Rusty Hevelin began collecting pulp magazines in the 1930s when they were a popular item on newsstands. Pulps were cheaply produced weekly fiction magazines. They were the training ground for many of the most famous science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. The collection contains thousands of pulps, ranging from the early Thrilling Wonder Stories, the eclectic Weird Tales, character titles such as The Shadow, The Spider, and Doc Savage, and many examples of mystery, western, and aviation pulps. “This vast collection of material rarely collected by traditional libraries is a goldmine for teachers and scholars,” said Corey Creekmur, UI Associate Professor of English and Film Studies. “Pulp magazines were central to mid- 20th century American popular culture, but their ephemerality has made them rare and inaccessible for later readers. The arrival of this collection makes Iowa a major archive for future research in this area.”
Fanzines push science fiction genre
Readers of pulps began communicating with one another through the letter columns in each issue, and this back-and-forth exchange soon developed into fanzines, which fans produced on home mimeograph or other printers, and distributed through the mail and at conventions. The collection is particularly rich in the early years of science fiction fanzines, including several titles that Hevelin produced.
Science fiction grew out of the pulps and into mainstream publishing, and the Hevelin collection documents this process in thousands of hardcover and paperback science fiction books. First editions of Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and other writers are included, along with many paperback novels. Together, these materials depict the great diversity of styles in science fiction as the genre evolved.
“The Hevelin collection presents a rare opportunity to study the development of this genre, as seen in many of its most important formats, through the lens of a single collector,” says Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives. “Fans like Rusty weren’t just fanzine writers, or pulp collectors, or science fiction readers, they were all of these things, and Rusty’s collection shows how these materials interact with one another.”
The University of Iowa Libraries is home to internationally significant science fiction collections. Holdings include the Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines, the Ming Wathne Fanzine Archive Collection, and a growing body of materials resulting from the Fan Culture Preservation Project, a partnership with the Organization for Transformative Works.