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David A. Kyle Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Jan 1967

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.

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.

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

Related Material

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.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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

Table of Contents



Subject files