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.

Announcing: The Fan Culture Preservation Project!

The OTW is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with the University of Iowa to create a Fan Culture Preservation Project.

The Special Collections department at the University of Iowa already has a strong interest in zines, and is making a concerted effort to collect zines and other artifact of fan culture (con programs and flyers, for instance) in order to preserve them and make them accessible to wider popular and research audiences. Iowa is home to a huge (250,000) collection of science fiction and fantasy zines and APA zines, as well as a collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines. Media fandom is not as well represented, and they are eager to collect many aspects of fan culture, including all types of fanfiction.

The first major donation brokered by OTW is the Fanzine Archive, a collection of over 3,000 classic zines previously housed in Santa Barbara–over 62 boxes! The OTW was able to help the retiring archivist, Ming Wathne, save and protect this valuable collection. Special Collections is currently in the process of sorting and boxing Ming’s zines. Soon after that is finished, titles in the Fanzine Archive collection will be listed in a finding aid on the Special Collections website. We are currently helping other long time fans donate their collections to the library.

OTW and Iowa are eventually hoping to explore ways to digitize some of these materials, so that fans who want to see them will have access, even if they can’t get to Iowa. (We are only talking about works where we have legal clearance; both the University of Iowa and the OTW are concerned about fan privacy first and foremost.) The Special Collections department at the University of Iowa is also willing to photocopy materials for a price of about $.25 cents a page, according to their standard procedures.

Moving? Apartment getting too small? If you have zines you no longer want (or more than you can manage!) but want to know they’ll find a good home, please contact the OTW. We can arrange for postage to be paid and for UPS to come to your house to pick up the boxes. You might also consider leaving your collection to the Fan Culture Preservation Project or making arrangements through a friend.

Please help us preserve this important part of fannish history!

ETA: And hey, if you’re in the area, check out the Star Trek exhibition curated by our FCPP partners at the University of Iowa! Where Many Have Gone Before: Re-launching Star Trek, on display only until July 1, 2009.