Howard DeVore

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Howard DeVore, 1958. From the collection of Earl Kemp, courtesy of Rob Hansen.

(May 26, 1925 – December 31, 2005)

Howard DeVore (aka Big Hearted Howard) was a longtime Detroit-area fan, collector and huckster, who started collecting in 1936, making him a member of First Fandom. He was scheduled to be the Fan GoH at L.A.con IV, the 2006 Worldcon, but died before the convention.

Howard became active in fandom in 1948. When he went off to fight in World War II, he padlocked his collection in a room in his parents' house to ensure it would be safe, and took the key with him. (Smart man...)

His infamous garage in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, a den of fannish splendor, was jammed full of fanzines, books, pulps, repro equipment and fannish memorabilia. He stored the inventory of the Fanzine Foundation and the WSFS Banner.

Ro Nagey said of DeVore, "His garage was a mecca for fans. It was floor-ceiling isles of fanzines, old Amazings and other rare magazines and this large collection of books, some of which he'd take to conventions to sell. Being invited to the garage was a rite of passage for many fans in Michigan and elsewhere. He was a great adviser to me when I was setting up the A2 Relax Icon and then the Confusions that followed. I owe him a huge debt I can not repay."

He described himself as a "huckster, first-class" and was known as Big Hearted Howard ... but don't let the name fool you... (He was called “Dirty-Trick DeVore” in The Game of Fandom.)

Howard DeVore and Margaret Ford Keifer at Midwestcon 50 in 1999 — the two fans who’d attended all 50.

Starting in 1948, Howard was a member of the Michigan Science Fiction Society (The Misfits). He founded the Morgan Botts Foundation. He attended every Midwestcon held in his lifetime. His wake was held at Midwestcon.

Active member and sometime Official Editor of the Spectator Amateur Press Society (SAPS), and also an active member of the FAPA and the Pulp Era Amateur Press Society (PEAPS). Until 2005, he was the Election Results Teller and fanzine mailer for N3F. He received a Neffy Award in 2006. He was also a longtime member of CAPA.

He was head of publicity for the 1959 Worldcon, Detention, after announcing that "there will be a Worldcon in Detroit over my dead body." At opening ceremonies, they dragged his apparently lifeless “corpse” across the stage.

From left, Bill Rickhardt, Howard DeVore and Fred Prophet promoting the Detroit in '59 Worldcon bid at Solacon.

A few years later, he was Associate Chairman for Detroit for the 1966 Worldcon, Tricon, a joint bid by Cleveland (where it was held), Detroit, and Cincinnati. He was one of the founders of Marcon. He was a member of the Detroit in '82 Worldcon bid and then Detroit in '85 NASFiC bid.

He regularly attended meetings of the W3F in the 1970s, despite being decades older than most of the college club’s members.

He owned a letterpress and used it to print various gag calling cards and placards, including Tucker’s infamous cards, and some chapbooks.

With Donald Franson, he produced several editions of their book on SF/fantasy awards, the latest (The Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards) was published by Advent in 1998. Earlier editions were published by Howard’s small press Misfit Press. The book was a nominated for 1999 Best Related Book Hugo. He published the fanzines Collector, Grandfather Stories and Harpies. He co-edited Ompalog for OMPA.

He was active in the Science Fiction Oral History Association. He appeared in the video Faans.

In mundane life, Howard worked for the U.S. Postal Service. He was married to Sybil DeVore. They had three daughters. Karol DeVore Sissom is somewhat active in fandom. His daughters put together a historical display about Howard for L.A.con IV and Detcon1.

Big-Hearted Howard[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
Big Hearted Howard Howard DeVore, of Detroit. Don't let the name fool you.
From Fancyclopedia 2 Supplement, ca. 1960
"Why do they call him Big-Hearted Howard?"

"Simple, because he'd give you the shirt off his back for a copy of Unknown. That is, if it was a tattered shirt and a mint Unknown].

Howard got his nickname due to a prank he played on another Detroit fan. In Mimosa 10 (July 1991), he recalled:

I, Roger, and Agnes Harook were all in SAPS for a while — I had talked Agnes into joining. I was the only one with a mimeograph, and I was doing all the work. Agnes would cut a few stencils, and she would leave very wide margins. So after she turned the stencils over to me to print, I would proceed to add comments down the margins of her stencils — about how nice I was, about how big-hearted I was for doing all this. Then, at some point, I admitted that there wasn’t any Agnes, and I was carrying two memberships under different names. This upset Agnes — she at least wanted to get credit for what she was doing. So, next time she brought the stencils, she waited while I printed them, and then took the finished pages with her to mail them to the Official Editor. At that point, I ran off a cover with my comments, mailed it off to the OE and said we’d forgot to put a cover on Aggie’s fanzine, and would he staple it on? Two or three weeks later, the SAPS mailing came and here was a new cover on her fanzine.

More reading:[edit]

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Misfit Press[edit]

Person 19252005
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