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Robert A. W. Lowndes Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 19 Apr 2010

Biographical History

Robert Augustine Ward "Doc" Lowndes (1916-1998), also known by the nicknames "Rawl," was an American science fiction and horror author, editor and fan. He was a notable member of the Futurians, a group influential in the development and recognition of science fiction, and received the First Fandom Hall of Fame award in 1991.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robert A. W. Lowndes Papers consists of biographical material, correspondence, financial material, memorabilia, printed material and writings.

Biographical material consists of the Spring 2000 issue of Fantasy Commentator; published shortly after Lowndes' death, it contains numerous tributes to Lowndes by science fiction authors and colleagues, as well as one of Lowndes' poems.

Correspondence spans nearly forty years and includes both incoming and outgoing letters. Represented are some of the best-known names in science fiction, including Isaac Asimov, John Brunner, Lin Carter, Stanton Coblentz, L. Sprague de Camp, Lester del Rey, Damon Knight, Frederik Pohl, Donald Wollheim and others. Also present is correspondence with Lowndes' agent Virginia Kiddl; a few from noted Neopagan Leo Martello, and a copious (though short-lived) correspondence with astrologer Jerryl Keane.

Financial material consist of a few years of tax information.

Memorabilia includes Lowndes' baptism and confirmation records, a genealogy of the Lowndes family, a horoscope prepared for Lowndes by Jerryl Keane, report cards, and a scrapbook of Walt Kelly's Pogo cartoons.

Printed material consists of issues of various publications, for some of which Lowndes was the editor. Most relate to science fiction but there are also submissions and issues of The Scandal Sheet, a zine published by the Scandalous Bohemians of New Jersey who appear to have been a Sherlock Holmes fan club.

Writings includes typescripts, carbons, notes and other material relating to articles, books, short stories, zines and other assorted genres. Of particular interest is the relatively complete draft of a book on Hugo Gernsback and typescripts of two of Lowndes' novels. The miscellaneous material includes a summary of a sermon and the rules for a game called "Seven Seas" based around the idea of insurance for ships on the high seas.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondence; material within each folder is arranged chronologically with the exception of the miscellaneous letter files, which are arranged A-Z by surname, and the unidentified items, which are arranged A-Z by first name. Writings are subdivided by type and then alphabetical by title. All other series are arranged alphabetically by type or title.


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

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of a numner of important authors, editors and publishers of early science fiction, including Mercury Press, Spiral Press, Street and Smith, Hugo Gernsback, Forrest Ackerman, and more. For a complete listing, please refer to our the SCRC Subject Index .

Subject Headings


Ashley, Michael.
Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992.
Bergeron, Richard.
Blish, James.
Coblentz, Stanton A. (Stanton Arthur), 1896-1982.
De Camp, L. Sprague (Lyon Sprague), 1907-2000.
Del Rey, Lester, 1915-1993.
Dziemianowicz, Stefan R.
Geis, Richard.
Gernsback, Hugo, 1884-1967.
Keane, Jerryl L.
Knight, Damon, 1922-2002.
Lowndes, Robert W.
Martello, Leo Louis.
Moskovitz, Sam.
Payes, Rachel Cosgrove.
Pohl, Frederik.
Searles, A. Langley.
Weinberg, Robert E.
Wollheim, Donald A.

Associated Titles

Believer's worlds.
Fantasy Commentator.
Mystery of the third mine.


Holmes, Sherlock (Fictitious character) -- Societies, etc.
Science fiction fans.
Science fiction, American -- History and criticism.
Science fiction, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Robert A. W. Lowndes Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ruth Lowndes, 2000.

Table of Contents

Biographical material


Financial material


Printed material