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Richard Wilson Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 1968

Biographical History

Richard "Dick" Wilson (1920-1987) was an American journalist and science fiction author. His "Mother to the World" won the 1968 Nebula Award for best novelette.

Wilson graduated from high school at 15. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, stationed in the South Pacific with the 339th Fighter Squadron/347th Fighter Group of the XIII AAF (now the Thirteenth Air Force). Following the war he worked for Transradio Press (1946-1951) and then for Reuter's (1951-1964). Later, he was director of the News Bureau at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.

Wilson's involvement with science fiction spanned most of his life. He was an early member of the Futurian Society, the influential New York City-based fan club founded in 1938, edited or co-edited seven fanzines in the late 1930s, published his first professional story in 1940, won a Nebula Award in 1968, and was instrumental in helping Syracuse University Libraries acquire the papers of many important science fiction authors and publishers in the 1970s.

Wilson was married twice: to Jessica Gould (1941-1944) and to Leslie Perri (1950-1967). Both were among the first female members of The Futurians and active in science fiction circles. Perri, born Doris Baumgardt, had previously been married to Frederik Pohl; she was also an author and artist, and a founding member of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA). She and Wilson had one son, Richard David Wilson.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Richard Wilson Papers consists of correspondence, financial and legal material, memorabilia, printed material, subject files, and writings of the American science fiction author and journalist.

Correspondence contains incoming and outgoing correspondence, almost all of which pertains to some aspect of science fiction. Notable names represented in the collection include author and editor Frederik Pohl; author, agent, and "superfan" Forrest J Ackerman; author, editor, and publisher Don Wollheim; editor and agent E.J. Carnell; author and editor Tony Boucher; author, editor, critic, and writer's workshop creator Damon Knight; editor and publisher Leo Margulies and wife Cylvia; author and editor Robert A.W. Lowndes; authors Cyril Kornbluth, David Kyle, and Wilson "Bob" Tucker, among others. There is also a sizable amount of correspondence with publishers (Ace Books, Ballantine Books) and science fiction magazines (Amazing, Analog, Galaxy).

Financial and legal material consists of royalty statements from several publishers, and a few author's contracts. There is also a partnership agreement pertaining to the research and writing of a history of the 339th Fighter Squadron/347th Fighter Group.

Memorabilia includes awards, clippings about Wilson and about Syracuse University's science fiction collections, convention material (including eleven WorldCons), family papers and photographs, and scrapbooks. There is also a substantial amount of material relating to Wilson's service during World War II, including ship and squadron newspapers, photographs, and Japanese-issued scrip for several occupied regions. There is also a special issue of James V. Taurasi's fanzine "Fantasy Times" entitled "Fantasy Times in France" (Taurasi served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1946). There are also two toy ray-guns and a tiny plastic toy missile mounted on a ring.

Printed material consists primarily of fanzines, in most cases only a few issues of any given title. Titles represented include Algol, Lobster Tails, and the fanzines of Mae Strelkov (Tink, Tong, and The Tunkunaku Event).

Subject files relate primarily to potential or actual writing projects, such as the 347th/339th Fighter Group of the XIII Army Air Force and flying saucers/UFOs. There is also some Reuter's material and a folder of material about Frederik Pohl.

Writings, which makes up almost half the collection, contains articles, books (both novels and novellas), plays, reviews (film and theater), and short stories by Wilson. Formats for a given title may include notes, research material, early drafts, later drafts, final drafts, galleys, and published versions. In many cases there is a typed note from Wilson giving the dates during which a piece was written and worked on. Miscellaneous items include one issue of Wilson's own fanzine, "Escape", and notes from several trials that he covered while working for Transradio Press, including that of Mildred Gillars, known as "Axis Sally." At the end of this series are a few items by others, including the final manuscripts for two novels by Ken Bulmer and a typed draft of a piece by H.P. Lovecraft.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and within that chronologically. Writings are subdivided by type (articles, books, reviews, etc.) and within that are arranged alphabetically by title. Within each title, material is roughly in the order it would have been produced -- i.e., notes and research material, followed by earlier drafts, later drafts, galleys, and published version. All other series are arranged alphabetically by type 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.

Folders in boxes 13 and 14 pertaining to the 339th Fighter Squadron/347th Fighter Group are closed to researchers pending review.

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

A few published books and magazines have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Our holdings include papers from a number of well-known science fiction authors. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for more information.

Subject Headings


Ackerman, Forrest J.
Anderson, Poul, 1926-2001.
Blish, James.
Boucher, Anthony, 1911-1968.
Bulmer, Kenneth, 1921-2005.
Burbee, Charles.
Cannon, Thurlow O.
Carnell, John, 1912-1972.
Cogswell, Theodore R.
Gillars, Mildred, 1900-1988.
Greenberg, Martin Harry.
Gunn, James E., 1923-2020.
Harrison, Harry, 1925-2012.
Kidd, Virginia.
Knight, Damon Francis, 1922-2002.
Kornbluth, C. M. (Cyril M.), 1923-1958.
Krause, Julius.
Kyle, David A.
Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips), 1890-1937.
Lowndes, Robert A. W. (Robert Augustine Ward), 1916-1998.
Margulies, Leo, 1900-1975.
Merril, Judith, 1923-1997.
Moskowitz, Sam.
Pohl, Frederik.
Santessen, Hans.
Strelkov, Mae.
Tucker, Wilson, 1914-2006.
Vonnegut, Kurt.
Williamson, Jack, 1908-2006.
Wilson, Felicitas K.
Wilson, Richard, 1920-1987.
Wollheim, Donald A.

Corporate Bodies

Ace Books.
Ballantine Books (Firm)
Eastern Science Fiction Association.
First Fandom.
Reuters Limited.
Science Fiction Writers of America.
Syracuse University. -- Libraries.
Transradio Press.
United States. -- Army Air Forces. -- Air Force, 13th. -- Fighter Squadron, 339th.
World Science Fiction Convention.

Associated Titles

Magazine of fantasy and science fiction (Cornwall, Conn.)
Schlaraffia Zeyttungen.


American literature -- 20th century.
Authors, American.
Novelists, American.
Playwrights, American.
Science fiction -- Periodicals.
Science fiction conventions.
Science fiction films.
Science fiction, American.
Ship newspapers.
Unidentified flying objects.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Campaigns -- Pacific Ocean.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Aerial operations.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drafts (documents)
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.
Military maps.
Military records.
Press releases.
Reviews (documents)
Royalty statements.
Scrip (paper money)
Short stories.
Toys (recreational artifacts)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Richard Wilson Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Richard Wilson, 1967-1987.

Table of Contents


Financial and legal material


Printed material

Subject files