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Frederik Pohl Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by:
Date: 1965

Biographical History

Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (1919-2013) was an American science fiction writer, editor, publisher, and agent.

Born on 26 November 1919 in Queens, New York, the son of Frederik G. and Anna J. (Mason) Pohl, he attended public schools in Brooklyn and was otherwise self-educated. In 1938 he became a charter member, with Cyril Kornbluth and others, of Isaac Asimov's Futurian Literary Society, founded in Brooklyn. From 1939 to 1943 he was the first editor of Astounding Stories and Super Science Stories.

After serving with the U. S. Army Air Force during World War II he briefly worked as an advertising copywriter in New York, but he soon resumed his career in publishing. At Popular Science between 1946 and 1949 he was an editor in the book department and the assistant circulation manager. From 1946-1953 he was also a literary agent for many of the leading science fiction writers of the period, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Robert Heinlein. By 1953 he had decided to devote himself full time to writing and continued as a freelance writer in science fiction until 1960.

From 1959-1969 Pohl worked at Galaxy Publishing Corporation as editor of Galaxy Science Fiction, If, Magabook, and World of Tomorrow. In 1971 and 1972 he was executive editor of Ace Books in New York, and in 1973 he became science fiction editor at Bantam Books. In the mid-1970s he returned to writing; his best-known work from this period is his Heechee series, the first of which (Gateway) won both the Nebula and the Hugo for best novel. He was a frequent guest on Long John Nebel's radio show from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and an international lecturer.

He served as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) from 1974 to 1976. He served on the jury for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award from 1995-2013, and presented numerous lectures at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction (University of Kansas)

His awards include four Hugos, three Nebulas, the National Book Award (1980), the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award (1993), and the J. W. Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction (2009). In 1998 he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Frederik Pohl Papers consists of correspondence, legal and financial material, writings in manuscript form, and miscellaneous material. Included at the end is Pohl's collection of fanzines and convention material.

Correspondence constitutes the largest part of the papers. Science fiction authors represented in the papers by a more than twenty-year span of correspondence include Forrest J Ackerman, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Ray Bradbury, L. Sprague DeCamp, Lester Del Rey, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, Cyril Kornbluth, David Kyle, Willy Ley, Judith Merril, Clifford Simak, E.E. (Doc) Smith, Wilson Tucker, Jack Williamson, Richard Wilson, and Donald Wollheim. Other notable correspondents are Poul Anderson, Alfred Bester, Algis Budrys, John Beynon Harris, Keith Laumer, Fritz Leiber, Robert Silverberg, and Theodore Sturgeon.

Correspondents are sometimes identified on the letters by initials, nicknames, or coded signatures. A list of these initials - along with some pseudonyms - follows.

BB Betty Ballantine
CK Cyril Kornbluth (Cyril Judd, when writing with Judith Merril)
DK Damon Knight
DL Dorothy Lessing
FJA Forrest J Ackerman
FL Fritz Leiber
FP Frederik Pohl
IA Isaac Asimov
IB Ian Ballantine
JB James Blish
JBH John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham)
JL Jacques Lacroix-Harcourt
KL Keith Laumer
PK Philip Klass (William Tenn)
RAH Robert A. Heinlein (Lyle Monroe)
RL Robert Lowndes (also Lavond, Dirk, Doc, AE)
RW Rosalind Wylie
WS Wallace Stevens (possibly Robert W. Lowndes)

There are also some date abbreviations/pseudonyms: Ghour = September, Agh 3 = 1937

Also prominently represented are agents, publishers, illustrators, and members of the Pohl family. A folder of letters exchanged with unidentified correspondents is located at the end of the alphabetical sequence.

Legal and financial material relates mostly to Frederik Pohl's careers as writer, editor, and agent. Included here are contracts and memoranda of agreement with publishers, as well as general business papers and personal legal files.

Writings contains manuscripts and miscellaneous material by Pohl and other. This include manuscripts of three novelettes and four short stories by Frederik Pohl. There are also manuscripts of short stories by Isaac Asimov, as well as story outlines and proposals by James Bl1sh, Fritz Leiber, Fletcher Pratt, and Dirk Wylie.

A small section of Miscellanea relating to Frederik Pohl, the contents of which are itemized in the shelf list, completes the collection. There are tear sheets of stories written by his clients, newspaper clippings, advertising that he designed, photographs, and other memorabilia.

Filed at the end of the collection are Fanzines, conference material, other fan publications. The bulk are amateur fan publications, known as fanzines; other types of material include bibliographies, indexes, fan organization newsletters, and conference reports and proceedings.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and chronologically within each folder. Legal and financial material is arranged alphabetically by type. Writings are arranged alphabetically by author. Miscellaneous is arranged alphabetically by type. Fanzines, conference material, other fan publications are arranged alphabetically by 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

Fanzine collection, comprising 8 linear ft., has been transferred to cataloging and integrated with the science fiction periodicals.

Subject Headings


Ackerman, Forrest J.
Aldiss, Brian W. (Brian Wilson), 1925-2017.
Anderson, Poul, 1926-2001.
Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992.
Ballantine, Betty.
Ballantine, Ian.
Bester, Alfred.
Bixby, Jerome, 1923-1998.
Blish, James.
Bok, Hannes, 1914-1964.
Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968.
Bradbury, Ray, 1920-2012.
Brunner, John, 1934-1995.
Budrys, Algis, 1931-2008.
Busby, F. M.
Campbell, John W., Jr. (John Wood), 1910-1971.
Carnell, Edward John, 1919-1967.
Davidson, Avram.
De Camp, L. Sprague (Lyon Sprague), 1907-2000.
Del Rey, Lester, 1915-1993.
Dick, Philip K.
Dickson, Gordon R.
Disch, Thomas M.
Ellison, Harlan.
Farmer, Philip José.
Galouye, Daniel F.
Greenberg, Martin, 1918-
Harrison, Harry, 1925-2012.
Heinlein, Robert A. (Robert Anson), 1907-1988.
Herbert, Frank.
Jenkins, Will, 1896-1975.
Kauffmann, Stanley, 1916-
Klass, Philip J.
Knight, Damon Francis, 1922-2002.
Kornbluth, C. M. (Cyril M.), 1923-1958.
Kubilius, Walter.
Kummer, Frederic Arnold, 1873-1943.
Kuttner, Henry.
Lafferty, R. A.
Laumer, Keith, 1925-1993.
Leiber, Fritz, 1910-1992.
Les Tina, Dorothy.
Ley, Willy, 1906-1969.
Long, Frank Belknap, 1901-1994.
Lowndes, Robert W.
Meredith, Scott.
Merril, Judith, 1923-1997.
Michel, John B., 1917-1968.
Moskowitz, Sam.
Niven, Larry.
Padgett, Lewis.
Panshin, Alexei, 1940-
Perl, Arnold.
Pohl, Frederik.
Pratt, Fletcher, 1897-1956.
Rambelli, Roberta.
Reed, Kit.
Rothman, Milton A.
Samachson, Joseph, 1906-1980.
Schmitz, James H., 1911-1981.
Sheckley, Robert, 1928-2005.
Silverberg, Robert.
Simak, Clifford D., 1904-1988.
Smith, E. E. (Edward Elmer), 1890-1965.
Smith, George O. (George Oliver), 1911-1981.
Sturgeon, Theodore.
Thomas, Theodore L.
Van Vogt, A. E. (Alfred Elton), 1912-2000.
Vance, Jack, 1916-2013.
Wilson, Richard, 1920-1987.
Wollheim, Donald A.
Wyndham, John, 1903-1969.
Zelazny, Roger.

Corporate Bodies

World Science Fiction Convention.


American literature -- 20th century.
Authors, American.
Editors -- United States.
Novelists, American.
Science fiction -- Societies, etc.
Science fiction fans.
Science fiction, American.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.
Programs (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Frederik Pohl Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Frederik Pohl Jr., 1965, 1967, 1969

Table of Contents


Legal and financial material



Fanzines, conference material, other fan publications