H. C. Koenig
(November 28, 1893 – July 6, 1959)
Nicknamed Heck and The Old Hisser, Herman Charles Koenig was a New York fan and collector in the 1930s and ’40s. He was well-known enough to be named in The Battle That Ended the Century. He had been around so long that he had read All-Story and Argosy before they combined in 1920.
A member of the Lovecraft circle, Koenig also remained a fan and collected fanzines. When fans visited New York in the earlier days, Koenig and John W. Campbell used to toss a coin: the loser played host. He was a charter member of The National Fantasy Fan Federation in 1941.
He published The Reader and Collector for FAPA. Koenig's secretary did most of the work of publication. Koenig worked as an electrical engineer and the laboratory manager for Electrical Testing Laboratories, in New York. He would write "scathing comments on inane professional writing and stupid fannish opinions," and then turn the manuscript over to his secretary and let her do all the rest. Harry Warner reported that "Koenig was celebrated for his diligent campaign against prozine stories in which characters "hissed" statements that contained no sibilants."
According to Forry Ackerman in VOM 23 (June 1942, p. 2):
[An] outstanding characteristic of K. is his antihissing campain. He carrys this on thru the medium of his Fapub, Reader & Collector, an expertly varitypt periodical wherein he quarterly quotes the latest hisstrionic statements found in the pro’s. K’s objection is not to legitimate hissing but rather to the unhissable, unpermissible "Blackguard!" she hissed type of thing.
Koenig collected first editions (too expensive a hobby for most fans at the time) and used his office to store some of his fantasy collection. He also liked to restore neglected authors to favor. William Hope Hodgson was his biggest project: he persuaded Lovecraft to include him in Supernatural Horror in Literature, got Famous Fantastic Mysteries to reprint Hodgson stories, and helped convince Arkham House to publish Hodgson. He published articles on him in The Fantasy Fan and The Phantagraph as well as publishing an entire issue of The Reader and Collector to him in 1944.
Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of German immigrants, Koenig graduated magna cum laude from the Cooper Union. He was married to Lillian Cecilia Koenig (née Cronin).
- Profile on Koenig as a founding member of The National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) in September 2017 issue National Fantasy Fan.
- The Reader and Collector (for FAPA)
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