Harry Schmarje

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Harris M. Schmarje was a thin-skinned Midwestern fan active in the early 1940s. He published the fanzine Starlit Fantasy and founded the Midwest Fan Society with Charles McNutt, but the two had a falling out over money.

He attended the 1942 Michiconference and behaved gauchely enough to disgust Walt Liebscher, who already didn’t think much of him — Schmarje embellished his letters with self-important green stickers reading “Harris M. Schmarje, Author, Columnist, Critique,” his Midwest Fan Society proposed to run a “Chicon,” he smoked with pretentious mannerisms and, unasked, he availed himself of a ride to Chicago with Jane Tucker, annoying Jane.

In Le Zombie 50 (December 1942), Liebscher wrote a smartassed conrep full of mild and not-so-mild insults about those in attendance; about Schmarje, he was especially cutting: “Harris M. Schmarje (Author, Columnist, Critique) is the great grandfather of all jerks.”

Schmarje took it badly and wrote angst-filled letters to both Bob Tucker (the faned) and Liebscher. Tucker replied in the following issue’s lettercol with well-meant direct advice (“be extrovert enough not to care what fans think of you”), while Liebscher wrote at length about what he did think.

Schmarje seems to have gafiated after that. In Le Zombie 53 (June 1943), Tucker reported, “Harry Schmarje resigns from the FAPA, and probably the rest of fandom.”

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