John V. Baltadonis

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(February 7, 1921 – July 19, 1998)

John V. Baltadonis, left, and Ossie Train at Philcon 1983. Photo by and © Andrew I. Porter.

John Vytautas "Jack" Baltadonis (aka JVB and Balty) was a founding member of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society (PSFS) (and thus one of the Phillies) and of the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA) in the 1930s. He attended the First Convention.

He was described by Ossie Train as “A hulking brute of 6'2".”

One of the most active fans of the 1930s, he was an fanartist and served as art editor for the PSFS clubzine Imaginative Fiction. He also contributed art to other fanzines. At one time, he was known as the "Paul of the fan artists."

With others, he co-edited the second version of the Science Fiction Collector, beginning in 1937. He published Fantasy Fiction Pictorial and Fantasy Fiction Telegram. He was the last member of Comet Publications and invented Cosmic Monopoly. He attended the 1938 Philadelphia Conference, the Second Eastern States Science Fiction Convention, and Nycon (the first Worldcon).

Baltadonis was elected to the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1998 along with two of his fellow PSFS members: Jack Agnew and Milton Rothman.

Baltadonis was circumspect regarding his middle name. In a letter to Daniel McPhail (November 17, 1936), he wrote: "As far as I'm concerned, the 'V' will forever remain a secret. That is one thing I will never let out." John's son Steve recounts:

"So, the middle name. I was told it had to do with an ancestor. Great grandparents and previous family maintained inherited land — maybe from black plague days, 13th century — through 1910 or 1915. When the Bolsheviks took over? Anyway, my dad said an ancestor’s ‘giant sword’ was over the fireplace mantle, and that he used it to fight off invaders in the 13th, 14th century. Lithuania was apparently much larger then. So, thus the name Vytautas. In some records on the internet it is spelled Vytold."

He died of lung cancer on July 19, 1998, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Fanzines and Apazines:

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19211998
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