Jack Speer

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(August 8, 1920 – June 28, 2008)

Jack Speer, ca. 1938.

John Bristol Speer was one of the fathers of fandom and the first really important fanhistorian, writing Up to Now: A History of Science Fiction Fandom as well as the first Fancyclopedia in 1944. In 2004, he was Fan GoH at Noreascon 4 in Boston.

Speer became became a fan around 1935 and was responsible for a long series of firsts:

Jack Speer at Bucconeer; Photo by Mark Olson

Originally from Oklahoma, where he started reading sf in 1928 at age 8. He found fandom through the lettercolumns of Wonder in the early 1930s, where he started a correspondence with Don Wollheim. He lived in DC during the War and later moved to the Pacific Northwest before retiring to Albuquerque.

By inventing the John Bristol persona, he perpetrated one of the more successful hoaxes in the history of fandom. He was also known by the nicknames Juffus, Gakspiro and the Hily Magnified Woggle-Bug.

After founding editor E. E. Evans stepped down, Speer became the editor of the N3F's Official Organ, The National Fantasy Fan for the remainder of 1945. He was a recipient of the First Fandom Hall of Fame award. He was brought to Ditto 14/FanHistoriCon 11 by the Don Ford Fund.

His fanzines included A, Allegory, Antaios, Avalon, Demeter, Deukalion, Eos, Epimetheus, Hesper, Oduooeus, Olympus, One Fingers Number Four Fingers Number One (with F. T. Laney, Charles Burbee, and Walt Leibscher), Phosphor, Photon, Science Fiction Forum, Stefnews, The Stefnews (with John Bristol), Stf and Nonsense (with Dan MacPhail) Sustaining Program, Synapse.

He was a member of FAPA (and was a leading member of the Brain Trust) and served in many offices, including organizing a Blitzkrieg.

Jack was born in Comanche, Oklahoma. He became a lawyer and after WWII, he began practicing law in Washington State, where he was active in the Democratic Party and served a term in the State House of Representatives (1959–61). He later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He continued to practice law and served two terms as the judge of the Bernalillo County Small Claims Court.

While in New Mexico he was one of the founders of Bubonicon (though he protested the name, see Bubonicon 2), and was memorialized at Bubonicon 40.

  • Read his short history Up To Now for Jack Speer on early fandom -- and on Jack Speer.

More reading:[edit]

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person Search: Fanac, Fan, Pro, SFE, Wikipedia, Reasonator 19202008
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