Jack Speer

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(August 8, 1920 – June 28, 2008)

Jack Speer, ca. 1938.

John Bristol Speer, aka “Jack F. Speer,” “the F” and “John A. Bristol,” was one of the fathers of fandom and the first really important fanhistorian, writing Up to Now: A History of Science Fiction Fandom as well as the first Fancyclopedia in 1944. In 2004, he was Fan GoH at Noreascon 4 in Boston.

He was also known by the nicknamesJuffus,” “Ĝakspiro,” “the Hily Magnified Woggle-Bug” and “Fascist Speer.”

Speer became became a fan around 1935 and was responsible for a long series of firsts:

Jack Speer at Bucconeer in 1998.
(Photo by Mark Olson.)

Originally from Oklahoma, where he started reading sf in 1928 at age 8, Speer found fandom through the lettercolumns of Wonder in the early 1930s, where he started a correspondence with Don Wollheim. He lived in DC during the War and later moved to the Pacific Northwest before retiring to Albuquerque.

By inventing the John Bristol persona, he perpetrated one of the earliest and most successful hoaxes in the history of fandom, going to the extent of pubbing Fancyclopedia 1 under that pseudonym, and using F as a fake middle initial to hide his real second name.

After founding editor E. E. Evans stepped down, Speer became the editor of the N3F's Official Organ, The National Fantasy Fan for the remainder of 1945. He was a recipient of the First Fandom Hall of Fame award. He was brought to Ditto 14/FanHistoriCon 11 by the Don Ford Fund.

He was a member of FAPA (and was a leading member of the Brain Trust) and served in many offices, including organizing a Blitzkrieg. He went to Newcastle to personally look into the bonafides and background of Claude Degler.

In the 1940s, he was quite embarrassingly racist, to the point that FAPA had a special election in 1944 to try to keep him from writing about his offensive opinions (this was also bound up in his ongoing feud with the liberal Wollheimists). See Black & White. However, he seems to have grown out of it after World War II.

Fascist Speer,” 1938.

Jack was born in Comanche, Oklahoma. He became a lawyer, and after WWII, he began practicing law in Washington State, where he was active in the Democratic Party and served a term in the State House of Representatives (1959–61). He later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He continued to practice law and served two terms as the judge of the Bernalillo County Small Claims Court.

In New Mexico, he was one of the founders of Bubonicon (though he protested the name, see Bubonicon 2), and was memorialized at Bubonicon 40.

His older brother, Jim Speer, published a school fanzine with Dan McPhail, but never became active in wider fandom.

More reading:[edit]

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19202008
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