Fred Brown

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(Did you mean the American pro Fredric Brown?)

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Frederick C. Brown, almost always referred to as Fred Brown, was a British fan and collector from London active from at least 1944 and into the 1960s. He attended the earliest meetings at The White Horse and the first post-War convention in the UK, Whitcon, in 1948. He also served on the committees of Festivention, Coroncon and Loncon I. At Festivention he was part of the 'S-F Soap Opera Company' who performed the play 'Who Goes Where'.

Brown was originally from London and is mentioned in Futurian War Digest from 1944 but he is listed in J. Michael Rosenblum's Directory of Anglo-Fandom (January 1945) with an address in Birmingham where he was a member of the Police War Reserve. At some point no later than 1946 he returned to London. He was present at the March 1946 meeting of the London fans at The Shamrock pub after which the group relocated to The White Horse.

He was often described as a collector-dealer and Vin¢ Clarke reported that at Whitcon 'Some of us got a glimpse of the fabulous Weird Tales No. 1, owned by Fred Brown'. He was announced as a member of the adjudicating panel for the International Fantasy Award in 1952, its second year, where he was described as 'noted London bibliophile'.

George Locke described Brown in an article in Prolapse #11 in May 2008:

A word about Fred Brown, who was one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. As a book collector, however, he had a couple of quirks. The first was that he loved to construct dust-jackets for his books, and would create colourful montages (which included cuttings from the original jackets themselves). Modern collectors, obsessed as they are with jackets in their original condition, would throw up their hands in horror at Fred's artistic efforts. These were, however, simple to spot, unlike the results of Fred’s other quirk.
I remember popping into Bell, Book & Radmall, the cutting-edge dealers in Modern First Editions in Cecil Court, and John Bell proudly handing me a couple of Arkham House first editions signed 'Clark Ashton Smith'. I took one look at them and said: 'Those signatures aren’t genuine. They're fakes.' And I explained that Fred Brown had the habit, when he had a copy of a book inscribed by the author, of copying that signature into other books by the same author. Fred's handwriting style was very distinctive and his 'signatures' usually so different from the genuine ones that anyone familiar with his handwriting would recognise them immediately. But there might well be unrecognised examples drifting round the world of SF even today. I don't think Fred ever intended to deceive anyone by deliberately forging those signatures; he just liked to write the authors' names in their books. But two or three owners down the line, when all provenance has been forgotten – be warned! 

A Fred Brown with an address in Essex is listed as a member of Loncon II in 1965.

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