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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Gertrude M. Carr papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1947-1981
Creator: Carr, Gertrude M. (1907-2005)
Extent: 3.20 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0865
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Noted science fiction fan and fanzine editor from Seattle, Washington. Correspondence, together with some additional ephemera.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials.


Preferred Citation: Gertrude M. Carr Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Gertrude Martha Wall Jacobson was born on April 18, 1907, and lived the majority of her life in the Seattle, Washington area. She was married to Frank Carr, also of Seattle. She worked for much of her life as a bookkeeper for the Western Refrigeration Company, although for a time she also operated Gem's Hobby, a used books and collectable shop. She entered fandom in 1949 after attending a mini science fiction convention in Oregon, and then the regional science fiction convention, NORWESCON in 1950, where she was recruited into both the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) and the Spectator Amateur Press Society (SAPS). She was one of the charter members, and Secretary, of the Seattle-area fan society The Nameless Ones, where she also co-edited the club fanzine The Cry of the Nameless.
Carr was a member of a number of other fan associations, including the Whimsical Amateur Press Association (WAPA), the British Science-Fiction Association (BSFA), the Little Monsters of America (TLMA), the Seattle SF Club, and the Puget Sound Star Trekkers.. She was most active as a member of the venerable National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F), in which she served in several administrative capacities.
In addition to Cry, Carr edited or co-edited a number of other fan publications, including Sinisterra, Carrzine, Gemzine, Gem Tones, Epistles and Egoboo, and Unasked Opinions. She submitted a number of stories for professional publication, but apparently only sold one, via Forrest J. Ackerman: in Carr's own words, she could not recall when, where, or if it was published.
Carr's involvement with fandom ebbed and flowed (she was prone to fits of gafia - Getting Away From It All), but never disappeared entirely. In the 1960s and 1970s, for example, she became a fan of the television series Star Trek, which seems to have reignited much of her interest in the fannish world. Carr's fannish and APA activities continued until 2003, and she died on March 6, 2005.

The collection consists almost entirely of correspondence to and from Carr, together with a few folders of additional material such as name tags from science fiction conventions, assorted fannish writings from Carr, and miscellaneous ephemera.

The correspondence documents Carr's long and extensive activity as a science fiction fan and fanzine editor. Included are letters between Carr and prominent fannish figures such as Forrest J. Ackerman, Redd Boggs, Terry Carr, Richard Eney, Donald Franson, Lynn Hickman, Ralph Holland, Seth Johnson, Janie Lamb, Vernon McCain, Orville Mosher, Bruce Pelz, Boyd Raeburn, Roy Tackett, Bjo Trimble, Harry Warner, Walter Weber, and Walter Willis. Many of Carr's letters, however, are to and from ordinary fans. Carr's fannish correspondence details her views on science fiction and fantasy media and fandom, convention attendance, the publication of her own fanzines, and her political and administrative involvement with such fan organizations as the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F). This portion of the collection contributes much to the understanding of the personalities, issues, and feuds that dotted mid 20th-century SF fandom.

Some of the correspondence consists of so-called "round robins", cyclical communications among a small number of fans.

The collection also contains letters that Carr exchanged with several well-known science fiction writers, including Gregory Benford, Robert Bloch, and Jack Chalker. Of particular interest and depth are three folders of correspondence between Carr and Marion Zimmer Bradley, in which both women discuss at length their religious and philosophical beliefs.

Much of Carr's correspondence concerns her political and social beliefs. Carr was a believing, practicing Roman Catholic and not shy about publicizing her religious views. She was also a deeply conservative Republican, and many of her letters detail her strong and often caustic opinions about U.S. presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower through Jimmy Carter, Communism, American liberals, the Cold War, the anticommunist crusade of Senator Joseph McCarthy (of whom she was a strong supporter) and other topics. Carr's right-wing views often provoked controversy and lasting arguments between herself and more liberal fans.
Horvat, M. The M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Apazines, 1935-1990, MsC 825.

Horvat, M. The M. Horvat Collection of Science Fiction Fanzines, 1935-1990, MsC 791.

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