Oldest, Largest SFF Collection

Jeremy Brett: SFF archivist
Lauren Schiller: cataloger

Cushing Library at Texas A&M Library, now special collactions
Cushing Library built in 1930, 2nd oldest building on campus
in the 60s and 70s built Evans, regular library

22,000 linear feet of archival manuscripts
200,000+ books
250,000+ photographs
100s of art

military collection is also a large collection at Cushing
literature is another collection emphasis, so WWI and literature

Cushing M-F 8 am to 6 pm, can make arrangements to be open on weekends, have occasionally made arrangements to show in evenings
For grad students, you can arrange.
For a single person, you can arrange to look at stacks. If you make arrangements early and show reason.
NOTE: Arrangements need to be made a few weeks in advance.

Reading room has been restored.

Brought books that were picked up at street fairs and old antique shops in Europe for the purpose of being shown and handled. This is a teaching collection. You are allowed to touch and pick them up.

Cool Stuff
Starting with non sff

Playing cards from 1577—German set: leaves, hearts, acorns, XXX—didn’t have numbers on there
Interesting thing about cards, rare to have complete sets—This is only library with complete set.
1561 copy of Gallic and the cards were in the binding.
Way books were sometimes bound, piece of wood, then attached/sewn in to pages, book fo that era would have had bound in vellum, pages sewn into cords on back edge
Cards found between end paper and cover
Things definitely get reused.
They may have been put in to hide the cards… contraband?
Plenty of mystery in the collection.

What shield? Family crest. Looks like a D or a moon. On card with unicorn and acorn tree. Leipzig municipal seal.

Antoine Despeisses
1685, beautiful law book
one of more beautiful

preservation projects, gloves if want them, but will break the pages and tear, so they don’t usually make wear gloves
Only exception is photographs.
Can’t use hand cream in the building.

Book, lined with marble paper, Partie L de L’Achept Section III
Cut out and replaced. Something proscribed inside it?
We don’t know why was it made.
Often done like this when books were being censored. So a big book would be used.
Or bring in the “slightly” illegal books in and bribe, with the very illegal

1808 by Sir Walter Scott, gilded on edges
but if pull on slope of edge, watercolor painting
Done the other way there’s a different image.

Ancient Mesopotamia, 2144-2124 BC ruler
Inscription to local deity asking him to bless building
Looks like a pointy thimble about 5 inches, the normal thimble area has hieroglyphic/runes
Finger print of the sculpture on the top edge

Collection of antiquarian books
mid-15C Flemish book of Hours
whole history of printing show (had scarab for seal)

brought vellum page, very thin, can feel the side with fur (That would be a GREAT teaching tool.)
from 1500 in great condition
in better condition than a book from 1940s, despite people are touching it all the time
can feel the fur (mostly in the writing section)

Wood pulp paper started around 1842, the bleaching process made it fragile

SFF Collection books
Thomas Moore
Utopian novel (set in 2040)… French story: no slavery, no poverty, no religion, no coffee or tea
Voltaire 1826 edition (written in 1722)
Oldest item in SFF Cyrano de Bergerac (real person) Comical History of the State Empires of the World of the Moon and the Sun written 1656-1662, first English edition, Copernican astonomy

Dracula1st american cover 1897Dracula first edition, 1838, and first American edition (boring cover–This is an image of the American edition.)
Frankenstein, first illustrated edition, 3rd printing, 1831
Mummy from 1838 written by woman, mummy wakes up in future, one of earliest SF books by woman, titled The Mummy! A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century

First edition of War of Worlds
First American addition of xxx to the Moon—characters talk about literature of folks going to the moon, don’t realize they are characters

HG Wells Invisible Man 1st ed
English 20,000 Leagues Under Sea 1st edition
1st addition of Jules Verne’s Le Superbe…

H Rider Haggard, most famous character was Allan Quartermaine (from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen)
Haggard collection was from a single person’s stuff—collected everything Haggard was ever involved in, including journals with reviews of his books, books about Africa at the time, book in mystery series where one character is book seller and mystery hinges on rare edition of Haggard book
Schiller worked on half of the Haggard collection for cataloging

Robert Howard, Howard collection—not a single collection
Lot of overlap with sff collection… and Haggard and SFF
Collections, intellectually overlaps
Letter Howard wrote, 1932?, from Worth Hotel, have you read my latest yarn in Strange Tales?
Strange Tales, two stories at least, “People of the Dark,” another a Conan story

Mishmash in good way, lots of Michael Moorcock’s material
Legends from the End of Time
Record The Great Rock and Roll Swindle

Building 111 or 112 different collections donated on authors

Amazing_Stories_June_1927 coverPulps
90% of all genre pulps published in US are in this article
continuity of themes:
slide as on “tubes”
Amazing Stories with people in tubes
one cover is puppy in tube and child in space suit
Have to be very careful. The pulps are getting bad. Flakes come off.

Things that we would like to digitize for preservation, but if did, would be utterly destroyed. More important to have scans or to keep the original thing? We are wondering. Some would have to have spine cut off. Pages are brittle. If you bend it flatter, then it cracks. Turning the page makes it crack.

Local and Texas authors. Have collector editions of books… Of Lansdale, Moon, etc.
Texas-Israeli War: 1999

Author-inscribed books
How interested in books as autographed items?
Makes them rare. Makes the better.
One was autographed for Anne MacCaffrey.

Own McCaffrey’s personal SFF library. Donated to library.
Everyone has her personal symbol on a little square that you put in your book as xxx libris. Says “Dragonhold” and her name. Center is a flying dragon.
(her romance one went to Trinity Library)

small personal library of Andrea Norton, but not all of her library (was broken up b/c nothing in her will about what to do)
friend of hers collected her copies of her books (which was from her library)—these donated

archive boxes of personal correspondence,
George R Martin—including his drafts, his own copies, and other things publishers’ made that are related
Moorecock
Other folks… can’t remember
Secure, can only see them through library staff
Accessible to researches

Library has finding aids and see what we have.
Can show original mss of Games of Thrones.

The electronic moving crank doesn’t always work.

How much of authors provide financial support? Little
Give us the collection and we take care of it.
A couple of collections where people gave money, can’t think of one in sff

Portion of letter from Arthur C. Clarke to his publisher.
5-6 boxes of his material
most of his stuff is held by his brother, closed till 30 years after he dies
small collection of his letters to his publisher in England

small snippet of material

like to stress, available for anyone to look at
usually the students come, researchers come
last year had a George R Martin exhibit and he came to the exhibit, so they have his picture looking at his stuff (We also have his caps.)

What things archivists want? Everything.
Anything would be significant.
Financial documents, no, but that’s the main exception. We do weed out those usually.

questioningQuestions:
Question:
Husband and I collected… right now 70,000 books. Mostly paperbacks. Lot of these are first editions. Some signed.
We’re trying to figure out what to do with these…
Mostly paperbacks, is this a place that would be interested in this? Have duplicates of a number of books. Have b/c different covers.
Edgar Rice Burroughs and XXX got destroyed in a flood. We’re not hoarders…

Answer:
Collection encompasses hardback and paperbacks.
We do collect multiple copies for covers.
Can’t think of anyone who would turn away books, even if paperback. But we would love to have them.

We do welcome donations, but sometimes we don’t take. Mold or mildew bad.
If ruined, won’t take usually.
Or if we have multiple duplicates of something.
First thing we do is offer them back to the donor.
Rarely happen to say we can’t use collection. We offer to send it back or suggest an institution.
We will keep multiple copies if: signed, unique feature, different covers.

U of Mississippi will sell it if they can’t use it.

Question:
Address that United Parcel could deliver?

Cushing Library
5000 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843

Suggestion:
Put the address on the ppt

Are there 501Cs? No, but can do as endowments…
What we need is a new building. We are very full and alternative storage options are getting full.

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