Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection: Cushing Memorial Library

Academic journal article Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection: Cushing Memorial Library

Article excerpt

Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection:

Cushing Memorial Library

Main Website: Library portal at

Select "Special & Archival Collections."

5000 TAMU Libraries

College Station, TX 77843-5000

Cushing Library Phone: (979) 845-1961

The Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University houses the special collections of the school, ranging from rare books and manuscripts to film and art media. All collections reflect the varied interests of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and Friends of the University. Altogether the collections comprise some 21,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 170,000 printed volumes, over 50,000 photographs, over 200 original works of art, and hundreds of individual artifacts. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection makes up a significant portion of the collection with some 44,800 pieces, including 26,844 monographs, the majority of the English-language magazines, 125 linear feet of manuscripts and author collections, and 40 linear feet of collected papers. In 1970 two A&M librarians--Vicki Anders and Hal Hall--became aware of a science fiction collection being offered at a low price to the library. After conferring with faculty in the English Department and the Engineering Department (where there resided additional aficionados), it was agreed that there would be quite a bit of interest from faculty and students in using the collection, and it was purchased. In the years since, the collection has grown to be one of the larger collections in the United States and one of the most used collections at Cushing Library.


Books and Monographs: The strength of the monograph collection is in the novels and collections published from 1960 to the present. The collection contains important historical items such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, represented by the 1932 third edition, and a first edition of H. G. Wells's Time Machine. The collection includes hard cover editions, trade paperbacks, and mass market paperbacks. Although predominantly in English, representative materials in French, German, and Italian are included. In addition to the fiction, a substantial portion of the collection consists of history and criticism volumes. History volumes discuss classical precursors from ancient Greece and the storytelling practices of ancient peoples through science fiction's inception (as we know it today) in the 1920s. Literary criticism by its nature covers a multitude of topics, but particular themes of criticism include studies of utopias and dystopias, gender studies, and critical companions to various authors and their works. Some groundbreaking works in the field include J. O. Bailey's Pilgrims Through Space and Time and Stanislaw Lem's Fantastyka i Futurologia.

An additional strength of the collection is a focus on anthologies. By the nature of the genre, the predominant fictional form is that of short story, novelette, or novella. In the early part of the twentieth century, many stories made their debut appearances in magazines that would later be either rebound or reprinted into books. More recent anthologies focus on "themed" collections such as alternate history stories, time travel stories, and pretty much any other topic one can think of! In addition, many popular authors now have volumes collecting their shorter works together in one volume as well.

The monograph collection now contains over 26,500 titles.

Periodicals: The periodicals section is a major strength of the collection as a whole. It includes about 90% of the English-language science fiction and fantasy magazines, primarily from 1923 to the present. Notable are the complete runs of Amazing Stories, Astounding/Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy, and a near complete run of Weird Tales. The scarce first issues of Amazing, Astounding, and Weird Tales are in the collection. …

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