Hydra Club

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Text by Judith Merril, art by Harry Harrison, from Marvel Science Fiction (November 1951).

A mostly-pro New York City club organized in 1947 by Fred Pohl, Dave Kyle, and Lester del Rey. The nine (hence the Hydra) charter members included Fletcher Pratt, Dave Kyle, Marty Greenberg, Judith Merril, and some members who reportedly never showed up again. Later members included Isaac Asimov, Groff Conklin, Horace L. Gold, L. Sprague de Camp, Jerome Bixby, Damon Knight, Willy Ley, George O. Smith, Daniel Keyes, and Fredric Brown.

A drawing of a club meeting by Harry Harrison appeared in the November, 1951, issue of Marvel Science Fiction along with an article about the club by Judith Merril. At the time, there were more than 60 SF fans and pros who were members. Pictured are: Lois Miles Gillespie, H. Beam Piper, David A. Kyle, Judith Merril, Frederik Pohl, Philip Klass, Richard Wilson, Isaac Asimov, James A. Williams, Sam Merwin, Jr., Martin Greenberg, Walter I. Bradbury, Bruce Elliott, L. Jerome Stanton, Jerome Bixby, Basil Davenport, Robert W. Lowndes, Olga Ley, Oswald Train, Charles Dye, Frank Belknap Long, Damon Knight, Thomas S. Gardner, Harry Harrison, Sam Bowne, Groff Conklin, Larry T. Shaw, Lester del Rey, Fredric Brown, Margaret Bertrand, Evelyn Harrison, L. Sprague de Camp, Theodore Sturgeon, George O. Smith, Hans Stefan Santesson, Fletcher Pratt, Willy Ley, Katherine MacLean Dye, Daniel Keyes, H. L. Gold, and Walter Kubilius.

The Hydra Club organized Hydracon in 1950 and in conjunction with the ESFA, put on the 1959 Eastern Science Fiction Conference. One of its projects was the stillborn Fantasy Writers Group, something of an intellectual predecessor to SFWA. The Hydra Club seems to have become less active in the early ’60s, but existed until at least 1971.

Its official organ, the Hydra Club Bulletin, was edited by L. Jerome Stanton and Larry T. Shaw. There may have been only one issue. Stanton was the club’s Chief Operations Officer.

An old press release says, "The Hydra Club was founded in 1947. A New York club, it was founded in Philadelphia, at that year's Worldcon, when Lester del Rey said to Frederik Pohl, talking about spending time with fellow sf people, a novelty, since the recently ended war had broken up established sf groups, "This was fun. We ought to do it more often." Back in New York, they did. They each rounded up some friends — totaling nine in all, which accounts for the name, which was borrowed from that of a legendary Greek monster with nine heads — and the club was formed."

Club 19471970s
This is a club page. Please extend it by adding information about when and where the club met, when and by whom it was founded, how long it was active, notable accomplishments, well-known members, clubzines, any conventions it ran, external links to the club's website, other club pages, etc.

When there's a floreat (Fl.), this indicates the time or times for which we have found evidence that the club existed. This is probably not going to represent the club's full lifetime, so please update it if you can!