Is The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Danger?

Author and UC Riverside Professor Nalo Hopkinson reports that the Eaton Collection is being endangered by mismanagement. This is quite troubling, as the Eaton Collection is essentially the Library of Alexandria for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, and has a vast collection, including the 1517 edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, first editions of Dracula, The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, Frankenstein, Fantastic Four #1, and Action Comics #1, and nearly 100,000 fanzines. The collection was gathered over decades by Dr. J. Lloyd Eaton before being aquired by UC Riverside’s University Librarian, Donald Wilson, in 1969. The Collection has also hosted the Eaton Science Fiction Conference since 1979, producing over twenty volumes of critical essays.

Professor Hopkinson is reporting that the new library administration plans “to split up the collection and change priorities for what to collect (eg, e-text over print) without consulting scholars in the field“ which is alarming enough, but they have also engaged in ”what we’d characterize as harassment of staff, who’ve demonstrated extreme competence over the years.” More information on the situation can be found on Professor Hopkinson’s blog, where she also quotes her colleague, Dr. Rob Latham, at length. Obviously this news is worrisome to anyone who cares about the preservation and study of SFF and horror, and we hope to bring you positive updates soon.


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