University of Iowa Fanzine Archives
|Name:||University of Iowa, Special Collections, Fanzine Archives|
|Country based in:||USA|
|External Links:||Special Collections Department of the University of Iowa Libraries, Fandom Resources, Finding Aids, Twitter|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
"Fandom represents an important American (and, indeed, international) cultural phenomenon, one that encompasses the beliefs, concerns, dreams and fantasies of a culturally influential and distinct social community. Archiving the productions of fan culture - zines, convention materials, literary productions such as stories of fan fiction, and so on - means the preservation of the historical record of this subculture and its adherents. Special Collections at the University of Iowa is committed to documenting the history and development of fandom and fannish communities."
The University of Iowa maintains a Special Collection focused on media fanzine fandom. It is often referred to as the Fanzine Archives as a large portion of the collection contains materials from Ming Wathne's original Fanzine Archives. However, the collection consists of donations from multiple fans, including Sandy Herrold, Celeste Hotaling-Lyons, Morgan Dawn, Susan Hill, Debbie Hoover, Marian Mendez, and Laura Leach.
The Special Collections is currently involved in a major cooperative effort with the OTW's Fan Culture Preservation Project to receive donations of fanzines. Fans can donate their zines under either their real name or pseudonym. Fans wishing to make anonymous donations can do so by becoming part of the OTW fanzine collection.
The University began collecting general science fiction fanzines in 2004, but the first large donation of media fan fiction fanzines was made in 2008 by Sandy Herrold. Sandy had been searching for a suitable home for her Blake's 7 zine collection and researched several facilities before selecting the University of Iowa. When the time came for Ming's collection to be rehomed, the OTW followed suit and helped place her Fanzine Archives into the Special Collections.
In June 2009 the OTW announced a joint project with the University, the Fan Culture Preservation Project, to facilitate the donation of media fanzines. Donations are ongoing.
Fandoms currently represented in the archives: almost every TV and movie based fandom, along with a small amount of literary based fan fiction such as Sherlock Holmes and Tolkien. Media based fandoms range from the A-Team to Beauty and the Beast to Xena. All genres are represented:gen, het, slash, and a small amount of RPS fiction. There is a heavy focus on both Star Wars and Star Trek fandom. In 2010, Morgan Dawn contributed her Professionals slash Circuit Library collection. She also contributed donated songvids DVDs from multiple vidders along with a small amount of fan art.
The Fandom Collection is open to both the general public and researchers. Materials cannot be loaned via the Inter-Library loan program nor can they be checked out. Standard Special Collections precautions and access restrictions are in place to ensure the preservation of the materials. A limited number of copies can be made and mailed for a small fee, and anyone visiting the collections in person can use the scanners or their own cameras to make copies for personal use. None of the materials are currently available in digital format, however according to the Fan Culture Preservation Project FAQ: "OTW and Iowa will be exploring 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 hope to reach many of the authors of these stories to get their permission to share their work more widely online."
Due to early fandom's usage of full legal names on many of the fanzines, the Special Collection currently lists only zine titles in its online finding aids.
In 2015, the collection began digitizing fanzines
- The library’s digitization efforts are led by Digital Project Librarian Laura Hampton. She’s just a few weeks into the first leg of the project, digitizing some 10,000 titles from the collection of Rusty Hevelin, a collector and genre aficionado whose collection came to the library in 2012. You can follow along with Hampton’s work on the Hevelin Collection tumblr.
- Once the titles are digitized, they’ll become the basis of a searchable database that UI is counting on volunteers to develop through crowdsourced transcription, a method that has proven successful for other similar projects under the auspices of UI Libraries’ DIYHistory project.
Peter Balestrieri is the Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture Collections for UI Libraries
- That database, Balestrieri hopes, will be a valuable resource for the growing number of scholars interested in studying not just science fiction, but the way that fans interact with the genre and how those interactions have evolved over time.
- “These fandoms are increasingly impossible to ignore,” said Balestrieri “And the move to study them seriously grows with every PhD candidate that gains permission to write her dissertation on zombies.”
The majority of media fandom is supportive of the concept of archiving fanzines and supports the Special Collections:
I've been talking about this with a bunch of people on Zinelist, and just realized I never left a comment here to say how utterly cool I think this project is. I feel like I've been watching our history dribble away between our collective fingers for years, and finally we have a bucket underneath to catch it. This is just fantastic. Thank you for getting this set up! \o/"
I just heard about this, and really, I don't want my fanzines included in any way. I do them for fun and sharing with friends and like minded fans, I don't want them photocopied and sent to "researchers" and "students." I keep in print those I want to keep available, and some have purposefully have been taken out of print and allowed to quietly fade away. If I wanted them made public and accessible, I'd have done it. Just because someone got their hands on one of my books through whatever source, and it could have been out of a second hand box at some convention, does not mean it's OK to put it in some college library. If I wanted colleges to have my fanzines, I'd have sent them around. So, just how are you going to contact everyone, when so many of the fanzine folks are now dead, moved, in nursing homes, etc? What if something that was quietly underground, a few copies of a story for friends, suddenly comes to the attention of the Powers That Be, and suddenly some fan minding his/her own business with their quiet little hobby is now being sued, because your organization allowed some publisher or studio mogul masquerading as a researcher, to copy a lot of stuff? Personally, I think this is A Bad Idea, especially the part about allowing copying. 
Others point out that since the donations are coming from fellow fans that fandom communities should talk amongst themselves and reach a consensus as to how they'd like their corner of history to be preserved - while understanding that fandom is a world-wide community that consists of many people, many nations and cultures, many fandoms and many differing ideas of what it means to be a "fan" and part of a "fan community."
It seems to me that your best course of action is to encourage your zine subscribers NOT to donate, then. If your small fandom is composed of people who share your views, then you won't have a problem. You can even include a statement on your Table of Contents explaining your wishes for the ultimate fate of your zines.....[Special Collections is] relying solely on donations FROM FANS -- the fans who bought your zines however many years ago, the fans who share your history and are part of your community. Discuss these issues within your fan communities. You might find that the people you've been writing for all along genuinely desire a way for these writings to be preserved for the future, or you might find that they're happy to agree to your requests. Either way, that's for you and your fellow fans to figure out. 
Fan Road Trips To The Archives
Since the Special Collection has opened in 2009, several fans have taken road trips (one might even call them pilgrimages) to the Special Collections Fanzine Archives.
- March 2011: a detailed report by darksnowfalling can be found here. An excerpt: :"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." 
- May 2014: Aralias wrote a complementary report in 2014 about her trip to the archive. This report can be found here., Archived version
- OTW's announcement of the project, June 17, 2009.
- University of Iowa Libraries acquires thousands of science fiction 'fanzines', July 5, 2009, Associated Press (article is now fee only, accessed via the website's archives)
- UI Libraries acquire 'Star Trek,' 'Star Wars' fanzines, Iowa City Press Citizen, July 2, 2009. (article is now fee only, accessed via the website's archives)
- UI Acquires Science Fiction 'Fanzines' Collection, July 5, 2009
- Zine Month in July 2012 - The University hosted a zine month, specially featuring a look at select Star Trek, Doctor Who, and Star Wars. See also the tweets made on the zines BAFFLEGAB #2, and Daring Attempt.
Other Similar Academic Collections
- See also Fanzine Library.
The University of Iowa is not the first or the only institution to collect fanzines. Starting in the late 1990s and early to mid 2000s, universities began collecting fanzines and making them part of their Special Collections. Often these fan fiction fanzines are part of a larger collection focusing on popular culture. As such university 'fanzine libraries' are more like archives than lending/circulating libraries with access restrictions and limited or no circulation.
Examples of other academic fanzine libraries include
- Bowling Green State University's Browne Popular Culture Library
- University of California Riverside's Fanzine Collection
- Susan Smith-Clark's Fanzine Collection
- One National Gay and Lesbian Archive K/S Collection
- Temple University's Enterprising Women Collection
- Texas A&M Cushing Library Fanzine Collection has many print collections. TAMU is also home to the Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Media Fanzine Collection.
- ~ University of Iowa, Fandom-Related Collections at the University of Iowa.
- The media fanzine collection is part of a larger fandom-based collection maintained by the University of Iowa. The word 'Fandom' in this collection is used to encompass a wide range of not only media fandoms, but also science fiction- and fantasy-based fandoms. The collection also include the papers of Nicholas Myer, who directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The finding aid for the entire Fandom Special Collections can be found here.
- See Organization for Transformative Works Fanzine and Fan Fiction Collection. Some FCPP donations are housed as separate, named collections, according to the wishes of the person donating. For example, see Morgan Dawn The Professionals Circuit Library and Fanzine Collection.
- Predating Sandy's donation is M.Horvat's Science Fiction Fanzine Collection which consists of over 15,000 general sci-fi fanzines dating back to the 1920s. It is one of the largest collections of science-fiction fanzines in the world.
- Announcing: The Fan Culture Preservation Project!, Archived version
- ~FAQ from the OTW's Fan Culture Preservation Project.
- University of Iowa Libraries Begin to Digitize Decades of Fanzines Library Journal, July 2015
- Yay! by Arduinna, 18 June 2009
- ' ~'My fannish publications ' by Hindman, 18 June 2009
- ~'It seems to me that your best...' by Loligo, 22 June 2009
- backup URLs of darksnowfalling's visit here, here, and here , accessed March 23, 2013.
- darksnowfalling's statement on the admission forms as reported in her travelogue to the fanzine archives: backup URL.