History of the Hugos

The Hugo Award started out in 1953 as a one-step process; there was no separate nominations phase prior to voting, but, instead, simply a vote among all the works that were considered eligible.

Starting in 1959, there was a separate nominations ballot, and then a vote among the nominees for the final ballot. The nominators weren't required to be members of the Worldcon (or any Worldcon) — ballots were freely distributed. In fact, on pg 167 of the May 1962 Analog, there's an open solicitation for nominations as part of P. Schuyler Miller's "The Reference Library" column (the book reviews section of Analog).

And voting was also open, until 1961, when the rules were changed to limit it to current Worldcon members.

The rules adopted in 1981 limited nominations to the members of the current Worldcon, although that procedure had been followed by several prior Worldcons. The procedure stayed unchanged until 1988, when Worldcon members from the previous year were added to the group that could nominate.

And so the current two-step process wasn't fully in place until 1963 (although parts were in place starting in 1959).

The WSFS Constitution didn't exist until 1963. There were a set of WSFS Business Meeting resolutions, but they hadn't all been collected, or determined as to which were binding, and how, prior to then. The WSFS Constitution was put together by a committee appointed by the 1962 (Chicon III) WSFS Business Meeting, headed by George Scithers, and was adopted by the 1963 Worldcon.

From 1963 on, the WSFS Constitution indicated what the categories were.