A Fannish Field Trip – Spotlight on the FCPP, Part of Open Doors

Fan darksnowfalling recently took a day-long field trip to visit some of the archived Kirk/Spock zines included in the Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP), and generously shared the experience here, on their LiveJournal.

The FCPP is a joint venture between the OTW’s Open Doors project and the Special Collections department at the University of Iowa that archives and preserves fanzines and other non-digital forms of fan culture. It includes a growing number of individual collections, as well as a general OTW Collection made up of single items donated by individual fans. You can take a look at a list of holdings here, on the University of Iowa’s website.

darksnowfalling’s whole post is great reading, but we particularly loved the way they described the sheaf of different forms required to access the collection. One form asked for a statement of purpose:

(…) a “description of research and reason for wishing to examine the manuscripts in this department”.

Here’s a direct transcription of what I wrote: “I am a huge Star Trek fan; specifically, I am a fan of the idea of a romantic relationship between Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock. I’m here to read old fanzines in order to gain a better understanding of my fandom’s history in the days before the Internet.”

My fandom’s history. That’s what Open Doors and the Fan Culture Preservation Project are all about: our history, lovingly celebrated, preserved, and made available to fans near and far, now and into the future.

Photo of a box filled with fanzines.
Photo of an archival storage box filled with fanzines.

For information about donating zines or other artifacts of fan culture to the FCPP, please contact the Open Doors committee.

Interested in more fandom history? Transformative Works and Cultures will release their special History issue in a few short days, on 15 March.

Memorial Fund for Ming Wathne Established at the University of Iowa

Ming Wathne, long time archivist of the Fanzine Archives, passed away on December 17, 2010 at the age of 84. Before she died, the OTW helped her transfer the entire archive – over 3,000 zines – to the Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa, where it became the founding collection of the OTW’s Fan Culture Preservation Project.

Ming’s husband has been receiving queries about memorial donations, and so has established a fund in support of the Fanzine Archives at Iowa. Gifts in memory of Ming Wathne may be made by sending a check made out to The University of Iowa Foundation to:

The University of Iowa Foundation
Levitt Center for University Advancement
One West Park Road
P.O. Box 4550
Iowa City IA 52244-4550

Please note on your check “In memory of Ming Wathne.”

These gifts will be credited to The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections Fund, account number 30-762-054, for the growth and maintenance of her fanzine collection, and to support joint activities with the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), whose Open Doors project to preserve fanzine history assisted in bringing Ming’s collection to the University of Iowa Libraries.

March Drive – Spotlight On Open Doors!

Open Doors is about heartbreak.

No, really. Bear with me for a minute. Remember that first ‘zine you picked up at a con, the first fansite you discovered, the first archive you gained access to. The first time you thought, “Hey. This speaks to me; these people are like me.”

It’s an important moment: that revelation that there exists a community of fans, a culture that we create — the revelation of what we are and what we become when we are doing what we love.

Does that ‘zine still exist? That fansite? That fanwork that defied expectation and dared you to do the same, that archive that defined a moment in your fannish life, that resource you used to build a world — are they still there? Or have they been washed away by moves and deaths and apathy, by belt-tightening and corrupted files and lack of spoons?

It’s one thing if we make these decisions ourselves. It’s another entirely to not have a choice, and to watch our work — our words and art and resources, our collaborations and experiments and conversations, the proofs of our existence as communities — be erased.

Open Doors is about creating a refuge for those works, about helping fans who want to preserve those ‘zines and collections and con programs and archives and resources. Those moments of fannish epiphany. It’s about keeping our hearts unbroken.

Supporting the OTW means support for Open Doors, and Open Doors, in turn, supports fandom. Donate, and keep the decisions in the hands of the fans. Help us help to preserve endangered fanworks. Help fight the battle to keep your heart safe.