Theodore Sturgeon's Papers Donated
A treasure trove of private letters, manuscripts and other papers by one of the most influential writers of the Golden Age of science fiction who is credited with inventing with Leonard Nimoy the live long and prosper Vulcan phrase for Star Trek has been donated to the University of Kansas.
The definitive collection of late author Theodore Sturgeon's books, papers, manuscripts, and correspondence have been placed at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at KU, home to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Sturgeon Award for the best short science fiction is given annually at the Campbell Conference.
This acquisition greatly enhances an already-strong KU Libraries Special Science Fiction Collection of papers, manuscripts, and other important research materials available for researchers working in science fiction.
The collection (catalogued here) includes:
Best known for transforming the pulp magazine short story into an art form, Sturgeon's writing strongly influenced 60s counterculture, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. His lyrical and varied style represented a turn from the hard science fiction of the 1940s to the socially conscious topics more common in contemporary science fiction, including sexuality, gender, pacifism, and the individual cost of social conventions. His short stories ranged from science fiction and fantasy to comedy and horror.
During his career, Sturgeon (1918-85) won virtually every major award in his field, including the Hugo, the Nebula, the World Fantasy Achievement Award, and the Gaylactica/Spectrum Award for his groundbreaking story about homosexuality, "The World Well Lost." He also was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
The Sturgeon collection, valued at $600,000, had been privately held in two parts: the Woodstock collection, from his widow, Marion, and the Sturgeon Literary Trust collection managed by daughter Noël. Additional support came from KUs Center for the Study of Science Fiction, English department, and Spencer Research Library.
In making the donation, Noël Sturgeon credits the work of CSSF Founding
Director James Gunn.
Beth Whittaker, head of Spencer Research Library, said, "This extraordinary gift ensures that Sturgeon's profound literary and cultural legacy will be available to new generations of scholars, writers and readers."
Keith Stokes, well-known fan and photographer, posted a wonderful photo-essay of the event here.
To listen to the NPR interview with James Gunn, Noël Sturgeon, and Elspeth Healey about the acquisition, see the AboutSF audio archive here.
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