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Chicon Program Book heading by Dick Calkins, featuring Buck Rogers scientificomics characters, courtesy of the John F. Dille Co., a Chicago-based newspaper syndicate.

The second Worldcon, and first in Chicago, Chicon was held in the Hotel Chicagoan in Chicago, IL, September 1–2, 1940. The GoH was E. E. "Doc" Smith.

The tradition of nicknaming Worldcons was still not settled, and nobody had thought about choosing a site for another Worldcon the year before; Forry Ackerman nicknamed this one. The 1940 Worldcon Site Selection that chose Chicago took place at Philcon 1939, not at the First Worldcon, but this Worldcon cemented the tradition of choosing the upcoming site during the con. Denver in 1941 won the right to host the 1941 Worldcon over a New York in 1941 bid in the 1941 Worldcon Site Selection at Chicon.

The Chicon was sponsored by the Illini Fantasy Fictioneers, a club set up for the purpose, and run by a triumvirate. Mark Reinsberg held the title of chairman (he'd won that title in a "bitter struggle" with W. Lawrence Hamling, who claimed to have been elected), with Erle Korshak (secretary and executive advisor) and Bob Tucker (treasurer and Director of the IFF) as equal partners who did 90% of the work. Sully Roberds did publications and Richard Meyer also helped. Korshak presided over the opening day of the con, when Reinsberg fell ill.

Although the official membership count was 128, Tucker reported that Ray Palmer signed the membership book five times, using his own name and four of his pseudonyms. (This appears to have been common in the early days.) Admission was free. See the list of pre-registered members below.

The Chicon may have been the place where Claude Degler made his first public appearance at a fannish event, unless it was the Denvention.

The first masquerade took place at the Chicon at the suggestion of Jack Speer and Milt Rothman.

Erle Korshak claimed that after Chicon, he and Bob Tucker met and divvied up the couple of hundred dollars that was left after paying the bills. Korshak, Tucker and Reinsberg each got a share and Sully Roberds and Richard Meyer split a share.

From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
from Convention ChiCon I was in Chicago about Labor Day 1940 under the auspices of the Illinois Fantasy Fictioneers (a con-promoting organization specially organized by Reinsburg, Tucker, and others for the event; it later merged with the MWFFF). The ChiCon I was significant of the new harmony in fandom resulting from the suppression of feuding, and took place in the plushest surroundings yet. A suggestion by Speer and Rothman led to institution of the Costume Party at this con; Dave Kyle won it as Ming the Merciless.
From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944
(Ackerman) - The Chicago 1940 World Science-Fiction Convention


Ad for TWS, Startling Stories and Captain Future featuring Hans Wesso art from the Chicon program book.

SUNDAY, SEPT. 1[edit]

  • MORNING SESSION: 10:00 A.M to 12:00 Noon.
  1. Informal gathering at Convention Hall.
  2. Acceptance of Resolutions Petitions.
  3. Sale of Official Convention Fan Publications
  4. Luncheon Recess.
  • AFTERNOON SESSION: 1:00 to 6:00 P.M.
  1. Registration in Foyer
    1. Sale of Chicon Program Booklet.
    2. Distribution of Chicon souvenirs.
  2. Formal Opening of Chicon by Temporary Chairman.
  3. Address of Welcome, by Bob Tucker.
  4. Report of the Program Committee: Richard I. Meyer, Chairman.
  5. Installment of Mark Reinsberg as Permanent Chairman.
  6. "One Year of Fan Progress," by Mark Reinsberg.
  7. Report of the Resolutions Committee: Erle Korshak, Chairman.
  8. "What Does This Convention Mean?" by E. E. Smith, Ph. D.
  9. Motion Picture-Premier Showing of Monsters of the Moon, a scientific fantasy of the future. Introductory remarks by Forrest J Ackerman.
  10. Recess for Refreshments (30 minutes).
  11. "What Science Fiction Really Is," Raymond A. Palmer.
  12. This is Fandom! Introductions of:
    1. The Convention Committee.
    2. The Fans and Pros of Chicago: the Nation.
  13. Supper Recess-preparation for costume party.
  • EVENING SESSION: 8:00 P.M. to Midnight.
  1. The Science Fiction Masquerade Party: Speer & Rothman, co-Masters of Ceremony.
  2. The Science Fiction Auction: Erle Korshak, Auctioneer.
  3. Adjournment to Monday Sept. 2nd.

MONDAY, SEPT. 2nd.[edit]

  • MORNING SESSION: 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon. (Closed)
  1. Business Meeting of the Illini Fantasy Fictioneers-IFF members only.
  • AFTERNOON SESSION: 1:00 to 6:00 P.M.
  1. Call to order
  2. Reading of the Minutes of previous day: George Tullis, Recording Secretary.
  3. Director's Report on the IFF.
  4. Report of the Resolutions Committee.
  5. Individual presentation of proposed Resolutions by sponsors.
    1. Individual debate.
    2. Assembly votes for or against adoption of individual proposed Resolutions in Chicon Platform.
  6. Reading of Chicon Platform for Fandom.
  7. New or unfinished business.
  8. Dinner Recess.
  • EVENING SESSION: 8:00 P.M. to Midnight.
  1. The E. E. Smith Honor Banquet. Celebrating the Chicon's GoH, the Colossus of all writers of Science Fiction---Edward E. ("Skylark") Smith, Ph. D.
  2. After dinner talks and general discussion.
  3. Final adjournment and --Farewell.
  • SPECIAL EVENTS (Tuesday, Sept 3rd).
  1. The Science Fiction Softball Game. Two select All-Fan Teams battle for the Championship.
  2. General Open House. Chicago fans "fling wide the portals" of their homes for visiting fans.
  3. General Tours of Chicago. Escorted trips to Chicago's points of interest, in and out of the fan world.

Hotel Chicagoan[edit]

Located at 67 W. Madison Street in Chicago and built in 1932 as an addition to the adjacent Hotel Morrison (site of Chicon 2), this hotel featured 450 rooms. The site of both hotels is now taken up by the Chase Tower.

List of Chicon Members[edit]

This list of members, labeled “Fantasy Fictioneers,” was taken from the program book, so it includes only those who signed up in advance. A number of names are obviously fakes, several fans are listed more than once under pseudonyms, and the goh and some committee members are missing. In short, it can’t be relied on as a list of who actually attended.

Other Lists[edit]

In 1965, Bob Tucker did a retrospective on the Chicon which included an analysis of the membership records.

Illini Fantasy Fictioneers[edit]

The Illini Fantasy Fictioneers were organized to put on the Chicon. It was an Illinois group, but accepted members nationally. It was organized in mid-1939 in Bloomington, IL. Bob Tucker was Director, Richard Meyer was Secretary-Treasurer, Erle Korshak was Adviser, Mark Reinsberg was Chairman of the convention, and Sully Roberds was Publicity Director. (Most of them were still in High School. Tucker, at 25, was the Old Man.)

Sully Roberds published the Fantasy Fictioneer as their Official Organ, and they organized meetings (calling them the Chicago Conferences.)

From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944
IFF – The Illini Fantasy Fictioneers, formed by Reinsberg, Tucker, et al, as the publicity organization for the Chicon; afterwards continued as a state organization, finally joining the Mid-West Fantasy Fan Federation.

Members of the Illini Fantasy Fictioneers, 1939–40 (in order of registration)

Guest Book[edit]

Chicon attendees, in the order registered in the Guest Book, (beware of pseudonyms)

There are eight known pseudonyms in the above list; it is anyone’s guess how many more there be.

(those who neglected to sign:)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Forrest J Ackerman registered under a slew of pseudonyms, including 4sJ, Erdstelulov, Jack Erman, Mirta Forsto, Claire Voyant and Weaver Wright.
  2. Probably another Forrynym.
  3. Also listed as Jack F Speer.
  4. Morojo and Forrest J Ackerman, also listed separately.
  5. This might be Lynn Hickman, who published a fanzine called Gooseberries.
  6. Also listed as Cyril Kornbluth and Ivar Towers.
  7. Probably another Forrynym.
  8. Also listed as Samson Delilah Gottesman and Ivar Towers.
  9. Also listed as Melvin Korshak.
  10. Also listed as Erle Korshak.
  11. Erle Korshak’s parents.
  12. Also listed as Mark Reinsberg.
  13. Also listed as Mirta Forsto.
  14. Was this old-time L.A. pro, a friend of Forry Ackerman’s, really a member or just another 4sJ pseudonym?
  15. Also listed as Bob Tucker.
  16. Also listed as Ray J. Sienkiewicz.
  17. Also listed as Midwest Marky.
  18. Also listed as Rajocz.
  19. Also listed as John A. Bristol.
  20. Cyril Kornbluth and Dick Wilson also listed separately.
  21. Also listed as Hoy Ping Pong.
  22. Also listed as Donald A. Wollheim.
  23. Also listed as Ivar Towers.
  24. Also listed as Braxton Wells.
  25. Forrest J Ackerman’s grandmother — was she really a member or did he use her name as yet another pseudonym?
  26. Typo for Normal, IL.
  27. Probably a pseudonym for Mary Corinne “Patti” Gray aka Pogo.
  28. Likely an error for West Bend, Wisconsin.
  29. Typo for Oskaloosa, Iowa.
  30. Also listed as Mary Corinne Gray.
  31. Mark Reinsberg’s mother, also listed as Bertha Reinsberg.
  32. Mark Reinsberg’s mother, also listed as Mrs. Ad Reinsberg.
  33. Misspelling of Helene ReinsbergMark Reinsberg’s sister.
  34. Also listed as Pogo.
  35. The Meyers were possibly related to concom member Richard Meyer.

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