1949 Worldcon Site Selection
Site Selection for the 1949 Worldcon was conducted by Torcon, the 1948 Worldcon. As was the custom at the time, it was done entirely at the convention at the WSFS Business Meeting. We do not have any official details, but Lloyd Arthur Eshbach wrote a Torcon Reminiscence for the Noreascon Three Souvenir Book wherein he describes site selection:
But one somewhat unusual phase of convention planning began at Torcon I -- "the smoke-filled room." With the present orderly method for the selection of world convention sites, today's fans may be surprised to learn about the wheeling and dealing that went on behind the scenes in earlier days. It started at the Torcon. I was there and observed it. Will Sykora, who had been one of the leaders in putting on the 1939 Worldcon, came to Toronto determined to have New York named for the 1949 convention [See New York in '49.] The feuding behind the first Worldcon still lingered in many memories; New York fandom was divided into opposing factions; and many fans felt that since Philadelphia, an East Coast city, had had it in 1947 it should go to another part of the country. Smoke-filled rooms became the order of the day. Influential fans tried to talk Sykora out of his bid, but he was adamant. Since there was no other substantial bid in view, it looked as though New York would be selected by default. At this point Jim Williams of Prime Press, one of the small-press book publishers of the day, swung into action. The so-called "smoke-filled rooms" came into being. One of these included Dr. C. L. Barrett, leading collector and fan from Bellefontaine, Ohio; and Don Ford of Cincinnati. Some fast phone calls were made to Cincy -- and a Cincinnati bid was made for 1949. In the voting New York lost and Cincinnati won.
|Worldcon Site Selection
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