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David A. Kyle Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Kyle, David A.
Title: David A. Kyle Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1947-1974
Quantity: 1.5 linear ft.
Abstract: Memorabilia, subject files, and writings of the American science fiction fan, author, publisher, and co-founder of Gnome Press
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

David A. Kyle (1919-2016) was an American author, science fiction short story writer, publisher and co-founder of Gnome Press. He also wrote under the name Kyle Ackerman (Ackerman was his middle name).

Born in Monticello, New York, Kyle's lifelong involvement with science fiction spans more than seven decades. Beginning as a fan in the early 1930s, he became a writer and illustrator for pulp magazines. Later he worked as publisher, anthologist, illustrator, book designer, editor, and literary agent. In 1947 he and Martin Greenberg co-founded Gnome Press, the imprint that pioneered the first hardcover editions of works by such authors as Isaac Asimov, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Howard. Kyle's own works include the award-winning A Pictorial History of Science Fiction and The Illustrated Book of Science Fiction Ideas and Dreams as well as three novels set in the Lensman universe (originated by E.E. "Doc" Smith in 1934) and many articles for various fanzines. Kyle was also an Air Force Reserve officer (Lt. Col.), working as a reporter and writer on civil defense topics, and founded radio station WPDM in Potsdam, New York in 1955.

At the 1955 WorldCon he met Ruth Evalin Landis, another science fiction fan; the two married in 1957 and had a son and daughter.

He has received several honors, among them First Fandom's Science Fiction Hall of Fame; a special award from the British Science Fiction Association; and an award for Outstanding Achievement from The International Society of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy. He was included in Starlog's list of the "100 Most Important People in Science Fiction and Fantasy." Kyle chaired NyCon II, the 1956 WorldCon, and was the Guest of Honor at CONstellation, the 1983 WorldCon.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The David A. Kyle Papers consists of correspondence, memorabilia, subject files, and writings.

Correspondence consists of a single folder with a few postcards and brief notes. Correspondents include Keith Laumer and Jim Warren.

Memorabilia is also a single folder with just a few items. These include a brochure put out by Isaac Asimov's publisher regarding his first visit to England in 1974, and a clipping of a newspaper article on the movie 2001, in which Kyle is quoted.

Subject files are as arranged and labeled by Kyle. Much of it relates to his work as a reporter and public information officer for the U.S. Air Force Reserves; topics include psychological warfare, television, and the Apollo 16 mission, which launch Kyle attended. Also in this series are several folders of material related to Gnome Press, of which Kyle was a co-founder. This includes business items (e.g., brochures and catalogs), manuscripts (drafts of blurbs, book summaries, and so on), and production material (printer's proofs, etc.).

Writings contains some Air Force material, but mostly consists of drafts of short stories by Kyle. Almost all are heavily revised and edited; some include Kyle's own later opinions ("Not much worthwhile here"). There are also a few items by others, filed at the end. Many of the stories are numbered; this, with the last folder of "working papers #59 and #60", suggests that Kyle sequentially numbered all his writing projects.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Series are arranged in alphabetical order. Within each series, material is alphabetical by title or topic.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Kyle, David A.
Pohl, Frederik.

Corporate Bodies

Apollo 11 (Spacecraft)
Apollo 16 (Spacecraft)
Gnome Press.
United States. -- Air Force -- Public relations.
United States. -- Air Force Reserve.
WPDM (Radio station : Potsdam, N.Y.)


American literature -- 20th century.
Authors, American.
Civil defense -- New York (State)
Novelists, American.
Publishers and publishing -- United States.
Science fiction fans.
Science fiction, American.

Genres and Forms

Book jackets.
Illustrations (layout features)
Manuscripts for publication.
Printers' proofs.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

David A. Kyle Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: Jan 1967
Revision history: 17 Aug 2005 - EAD file created (MRR); 29 Sep 2006 - inventory updated (MRR); 14 Oct 2021 - additions processed (MRC)

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Box 1 Miscellaneous 1962, undated - includes postcard from Keith Laumer, note from Jim Warren, form letter from Shasta Press
Box 1 Miscellaneous 1953, 1966, 1969, 1974 - DD Form 93 (emergency contact information), "Who's Who" entry, publisher's brochure for Asimov's first visit to Britain, clipping
Oversize 1 Flight: From the Pages of Encyclopedia Britannica 1768-1968 / R.R. Donnelley and Sons Jan 1968 - photo-book, on the occasion of EB's 200th anniversary
Oversize 1 A Footprint on the Moon / R.R. Donnelley and Sons 1969 - Apollo 11 commemorative photo-book, oversize
Subject files
Box 1 Air reserve reporter 1961-1964 - topics include civil defense, home fallout shelters, recruitment, aeronautics, role of public information officer; formats include press releases from Air Force News Service, program bulletins, radio spots, fact sheets, transcription of speech by Major General William Yarborough, etc. (2 folders)
Box 1 Apollo 16 project 1972 - Kyle attended the launch; material includes official flight plan, press kit, clippings, press releases, etc. (4 folders)
Box 1 Armed Forces Day 1956 - Kyle was involved in planning local events (2 folders)
Box 1 Community relations of Air Force bases 1948-1950 - includes Air Force guidelines as well as several drafts of a report, possibly by Kyle
Gnome Press
Box 1 Business records - publicity (brochures, letters, blurbs); correspondence with printers; etc.
Box 2 Manuscripts - drafts for blurbs, jacket copy, book summaries, etc.
Box 2 Production material - includes printer's proofs of title and half-title pages, a few illustrations, book jacket for C.L. Moore book, etc. (2 folders)
Oversize 1 Production material - printer's proofs of title pages, half-titles
Box 2 Psychological warfare 1953 - Naval Reserve seminar; notes and draft of paper, possibly by Kyle, which may have been presented at the seminar
Box 2 Television project circa 1955 - notes, drafts, etc. relating to Air Force project on the uses of television in connection with national defense (2 folders)
See also Writings : Air Force : Television survey.
Air Force work
Box 2 Air Force Reserve radio spots 1953 - includes letters to various stations soliciting their participation
Box 2 Handbook for Air Force public information officers in the field of television circa 1955
Box 2 Television survey circa 1955 (2 folders)
Box 2 Base ten 1966-1967 - drafts
Box 2 Be it ever so humble 1950 - draft
Box 2 Beanball bugaboo 1949 - draft
Box 2 Blood relations - draft
Box 2 Corpse for sale 1948, 1951 - drafts
Box 2 Count ten - drafts
Box 2 Cupid wore a mustache - drafts
Box 2 Damn you, Max (alt title: My love is blind) - drafts
Box 2 Death thumbs a ride 1948 - drafts
Box 3 Devil planet jailbreak - draft, noted as "an early story"
Box 3 The ferryman on the river 1966-1967 - drafts
Box 3 Observation tower 1949 - drafts and two critiques by author Dorothy McCleary, for whose class the story was written
Oversize 1 A pictorial history of science fiction - jacket for British edition
Box 3 Some dreams come in packages 1967-1970[?] - drafts
Box 3 Ten-pin tycoon (alt title: Keyman Kegler) 1947 or 1948 - co-written with James MacCreigh (pen name for Frederik Pohl); drafts
Box 3 The tender trap 1947 or 1948 - "working papers"; includes notes, clippings, outlines, charts, several drafts
Box 3 The third moon of Mars 1967-1968 - drafts, related clipping
Box 3 Three to get buried 1966 - drafts
Box 3 Too many heroes 1948 or 1949 - draft
Box 3 Touchdown tyrant - drafts
Box 3 Miscellaneous - "working papers #59 and #60"; fragment of essay about science fiction publishing
Writings by others
Box 3 Greenberg, Martin / Dictionary of Science Fiction - compiled by Greenberg, edited by Kyle; original first draft manuscript, with words and definitions stapled to pages
Box 3 Peeples, Samuel / Introduction to Dictionary of Science Fiction - draft
Box 3 Pohl, Frederik / Keynote speech from Discon II Aug 1974 - carbon typescript

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