Chicon II

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Chicon II,” the 10th Worldcon and second in Chicago, was held at the Hotel Morrison in Chicago, Illinois, from August 30–September 1, 1952. GoH: Hugo Gernsback.

The committee attempted to call the convention the “TASFiC” (for "Tenth Annual Science Fiction Convention"), but this was ignored by fandom.

Chaired by Julian C. May, the first female chairman of a Worldcon, who took four months off work to focus on it. The convention was run by a "Committee of Seven," consisting of May, Mark Reinsberg, Erle Korshak, William Lawrence Hamling, Ted Dikty, Oliver Saari and Bea Mahaffey. It was criticized for being largely a committee of professionals and there were concerns that the pros had taken over Worldcon.

The con was officially sponsored by the Chicon II Society, also known as the Chicago Science Fiction Society.

In the 1952 Worldcon Site Selection at Nolacon in 1951, there were six bids to host it: Chicago in 1952, San Francisco in 1952, Niagara Falls in 1952, New York in 1952, Atlanta in 1952, and Detroit in 1952.

Other notable points[edit]

From left, Walter Willis as Southern Fan, Lee Hoffman as Quandry (she printed her fanzine on her dress), and Max Keasler as a fan from Missouri, at the Chicon 2 masquerade, 1952.

GoH Hugo Gernsback received long ovations before and after his GoH speech. Walt Willis was a special guest, courtesy of WAW With the Crew in '52, the first fan fund; he wrote about it in The Harp Stateside.

The third night featured fans and pros performing music, skits, plays and other entertainment, including the first science-fiction ballet, “Asteroid,” the story of one spaceman meeting his fate in outer space, with original music composed especially for it, danced by the Univer­sity of Chicago Knights of the Ballet, under the direction of Guy Bassett. Cos­tumes, designed by Perdita Nelson, were fluorescent, and the ballet was danced under ultraviolet light.

The con issued Moon Deeds on the back of its membership cards.


There was significant criticism of registration, which apparently took several hours. Attendance was an all-time high of over 1,100.

Erle Korshak has questioned the attendance figure. His recollection is that 1,350 members were present, a figure that would not be equaled or surpassed until the 1970s. In a contemporary report by Sam Moskowitz in Fantasy Times, (V7 #17, First September 1952), Moskowitz estimates that "over 1,000 [pre-]registered, 1,050 attended, and over 1,500 members had been enrolled." Harry Warner reports in A Wealth of Fable that registration approached 900 and an estimated 175 persons crashed the gates. (Regardless, this was by far the largest convention to date even without the numerous ghosts.)

Moon Deeds[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959

Moon Deeds On the back of your membership card in the ChiCon II Society was a deed reading like this: "The Chicago Science Fiction Society assigns you exclusive colonization right to the property on the Moon encompassed by the crater Herschel, which is located in the Second Quadrant of said body. Valid in perpetuity." [This was Lee Hoffman's.] The deed was not really valid, despite the last sentence, tho George Washington University once gave out Moon Deeds that were legally effective. Quitclaims, they were.

Hotel Morrison[edit]

Hotel Morrison

Located at 15 S. Clark Street in Chicago and built in 1925, this was the first building outside New York City to have 40 floors and was the tallest hotel at the time. At the time of its demolition in 1965, it was the tallest building ever destroyed.

It was located next to the Hotel Chicagoan, which hosted Chicon I and was built as an addition to the Hotel Morrison. The site of both hotels is now taken up by the Chase Tower.

More reading[edit]

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
TASFIC The ChiCon II (1952). The committee wanted to call it this -- initialese from Tenth Annual Science Fiction International Convention -- but fen wouldn't have it, since the tradition of naming the con for the town was strong; and anyway, the Worldcon notion began with the NYCon I in 1939, not in 1942 when the planned Pacificon was canceled, so "Tenth Annual" was incorrect.
From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
from Convention ChiCon II went to the other extreme, being the largest since the war with over 1100 attendees. Walt Willis was brought over by Shelby Vick's WAW With the Crew in '52 campaign and the Little Men held a fabulous penthouse party (which, however, didn't get the con for Frisco in '53); John Pomeroy told everyone How To Be An Expert Without Actually Knowing Anything, and Gernsback introduced the peculiar idea that writers should claim a sort of patent or copyright on ideas they introduced in stfyarns.

Nolacon I Worldcon - Bidding - Hugos Philcon II
Chicon I Chicago Worldcons Chicon III
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