The 1939 Worldcon simply called itself the "World Science Fiction Convention". It has subsequently been called "Nycon I" (a nickname initially tagged on it by detractors) and "The 1939 Worldcon".
The convention was controlled by a so-called 'Ruling Triumvirate' of Moskowitz, William S. Sykora and James V. Taurasi. In the Exclusion Act (which see), they attempted to keep some members of the Futurians from attending after a long history of feuding between the club and the concom, exacerbated when Dave Kyle (who wasn’t banned) anonymously created A Warning!, a somewhat incendiary pamphlet. He had hidden the copies, but the Triumvirs found it.
NYCon did not select a site for the next Worldcon — it had not occurred to the NYCon committee that it could possibly be an annual event. But fandom loved it, and a few months later, at Philcon 1939, the fans present voted to hold another Worldcon in 1940 in Chicago. See 1940 Worldcon Site Selection.
It is difficult these days when there are fans of all ages to appreciate how young fandom was in 1939. Here is a table of ages of major figures during the First Worldcon:
|Sam Moskowitz (the chairman!)||19|
|Donald A. Wollheim||25|
|John W. Campbell, Jr.||29|
|Robert A. Heinlein||32|
|James V. Taurasi||22|
|E. E. Smith (the old man!)||49|
Nycon had a list of members, but it was neither accurate nor complete. Not accurate, because many people signed up with pseudonyms — in some cases more than one. Not complete in that an estimated fifty people didn't sign in at all! But here is the Nycon 1 Membership List.
A conference on Tuesday, July 4, 1939, the third day of the Nycon, while many of the attendees were playing a softball game on Flushing Flats. The Futurians, most of whom had been banned from the Worldcon, and their sympathizers held their own free mini-con in Brooklyn. They discussed the Exclusion Act and Michelism.
- Forrest J Ackerman
- Julius Schwartz
- Lloyd Eshbach
- Harry Harrison
- John Baltadonis
- Milt Rothman
- Dave Kyle
- Charles Hornig
- Sam Moskowitz
Other con reports:
- New Fandom #6 p4, online here.
- “The Great Exclusion Act of 1939” by Dave Kyle.
- “Caravan to the Stars” by Dave Kyle.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959|
|from Convention NYCon I was held in New York 2-4 July under the auspices of New Fandom as the World Science Fiction Convention, "First" being added later. (Annual Worldcons were not at first contemplated; idea and site for the ChiCon were not formally approved by fans till the PhilCo later this year.) With a total attendance of 200, it was the largest before World War II ended major conventions. It set the pattern for subsequent conventions lasting more than one day, but was marred by the Exclusion Act. The name of NYCon (or "Fifth Eastern") was tagged on it by the Wollheimists to downgrade the claim implicit in "World", but after the ChiCon such portmanteau-names were always used.|
|From Fancyclopedia 1 ca 1944|
|The First World Science-Fiction Convention in New York in 1939; called originally by its enemies who denied that it was a "world" convention, the name was generally adopted after the Chicon. The enemies of WSFC committee also called it the World's Fair Science-Fiction Convention, 1939 being the first year of the NY Worlds fair.|
|first||Worldcon Bidding, Hugos||Chicon I|
|This is a convention page. Please extend it by adding information about the convention, including dates, GoHs, convention chairman, locale, sponsoring organization, external links to convention pages, awards given, the program, notable events, anecdotes, pictures, scans of publications, pictures of T-shirts, con reports, etc.|