(August 8, 1920 — June 28, 2008)
John Bristol Speer was one of the fathers of fandom and perhaps 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 Guest of Honor at Noreascon 4 in Boston.
Jack Speer became became a fan around 1935 and was responsible for a long series of firsts:
- Besides writing Up to Now, he developed a system of Numerical Fandoms, which was later expanded by other fan historians such as Robert Silverberg.
- He followed Up to Now with Fancyclopedia 1 (updated in the late 50s by Dick Eney as Fancyclopedia 2). Harry Warner, Jr., also a fan historian said that Speer was "the first to stress (fandom's) subcultural aspects. Single-handedly, he made fandom's AJs something entirely different from the mundane amateur journalism groups" by introducing the "mailing comment."
- At Chicon I, the second Worldcon, Speer distributed a set of science fiction songs, now called filk, as the Science Fiction Song Sheet. They were reprinted under the pseudonym John Bristol in Xenofilkia, as "Various Songs", and "Twilight Prelude".
- At Chicon, Speer and Milt Rothman suggested a costume party or masquerade which are still part of Worldcon today.
- 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.
Other Speer zines included Ramblings, Stefnews, Sustaining Program, Black & White, Antaios, Black and White, Investigation in Newcastle, Allegory, Science Fiction Forum, and Synapse. See also Jack Speer -- Elder God
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. 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.