Fantasy Advertiser. Los Angeles [Calif.]: G. Willmorth
Recently added to the Special Collections Zine Collection are a variety of science fiction fanzines. Zines are typically small and independently published booklets popular in different subcultures, such as the punk rock, riot grrrl and animal rights movements. They have a long history and association with the science fiction community, and some of the first publications that can be considered zines were in fact fanzines written by followers of the genre in the first half of the 20th century. These publications were often produced using a mimeograph machine, a predecessor to the photocopy machines that would play such a pivotal role in the “zine revolution” of the 1970s-1990s. The small publication runs of certain titles can mark them as exceedingly rare, and the fragile nature of some of the earliest science fiction zines demand special attention for preservation.
Peon. Alameda, Calif. : Charles Lee Riddle, 1948-
Newly added to our Zine Collection are titles such as Fantasy Trader, Science-Fiction Advertiser and Peon. The new items cover a ten year period, from 1944-1954, and represent the emergence of a fan driven subculture during the golden age of science fiction. They join other science fiction titles such as Boing Boing and the Hidden World as part of our growing collection of zines. If you are looking for a space for your own zines, consider donating them to the University of Miami Special Collections, an emerging home for zines and other self-published materials.
Dispatches from Special Collections Reference
Portrait of Spicer-Simson
Some of the more unique items in Special Collections are the Spicer-Simson medallions, held as part of the Theodore Spicer-Simson collection. Spicer-Simson was a well-known sculptor who worked in the first half of the 20th century. He was also a part time resident of Coconut Grove, lured to the sunny south by his friend, the botanist David Fairchild.
Spicer-Simson medallion of James Joyce, 1922
Spicer-Simson crafted many portrait medallions, and in fact considered himself a “collector of characters”, a term he’d use as the title for his autobiography, published posthumously by the University of Miami Press in 1962. Many people sat for Spicer-Simson, including world leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, famous authors such as James Joyce, and powerful industrialists like Andrew Carnegie. These medallions can all be found in the Theodore Spicer-Simson collection.
Spicer-Simson medallion of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, 1912
Not all of Spicer-Simson’s “characters” however, are household names. Last year, a reference request was sent in seeking a digital image of the medallion of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, completed by Spicer-Simson in 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Baha was the second leader of the Bahá’í Faith, succeeding his father and the religion’s founder, Bahá’u’lláh. In 1912, ‘Abdu’l-Baha came to the United States, and subsequently found himself immortalized in bronze by Spicer-Simson.
One can see many more bronze medallions of well-known and not so well-known world figures, along with correspondence and photographs, by exploring the Theodore Spicer-Simson collection at the University of Miami Libraries.
Dispatches from Special Collections Reference
Steve Hersh is Research Services Assistant: Book Whisperer, Archival Archeologist, and Fact-Finder Extraordinaire
In my position, I am lucky enough to be able to dig through our manuscript collections in order to help patrons with their reference requests. As I help patrons interested in a variety of our materials, I can’t help but learn more about these collections, picking up knowledge of some truly extraordinary individuals and events along the way. One of the most striking examples of this was when a reference request led me to learn about a remarkable but inadvertent early flight around the world. A patron had sent in an email in reference to our Pan American World Airways collection, asking if we had ever heard of an incident shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, where a Pan Am flight in New Zealand was forced to fly back to the United States via Asia, Africa and South America as opposed to the planned Pacific Route that Clippers at the time were taking. After some quick research, I was able to find an account of the journey our patron was referring to. In an amazing example of courage and ingenuity in the face of great danger, Captain Robert Ford explains how he and his crew made the unplanned aerial trek from New Zealand all the way to New York City, on a route that took them from Pakistan and India, into the Middle East and Africa, over the Atlantic Ocean into South America, and finally back to the United States. This is just one of many great stories that can be found living in the documents of the Pan Am collection, and it was a great experience to help the patron and learn about the flight at the same time.
Because of the volume of reference questions answered by the staff in Special Collections, we must limit research time associated with each query to twenty minutes. Should your request take more time to answer, and if you can’t visit us in person, please call the front desk at 305-284-3247, or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in contact with qualified independent researchers.