(June 30, 1920 – April 15, 1997)
Samuel Moskowitz, aka SaM, was one of the creators of fandom, a member of First Fandom, chairman of the first Worldcon, writer, critic, book and fanzine collector, and historian of the field. Physically, he was large man -- one friend described him as "physically massive" -- with a booming voice.
His most popular work is undoubtedly The Immortal Storm, a historical review of internecine warfare within fandom in the 1930s. It was written with so much over-the-top seriousness that, as fellow fan historian Harry Warner, Jr. said, "If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax." In spite of that, it remains the essential record of the invention of fandom.
In 1938, after leading the First National SF Convention in Newark, NJ, he organized New Fandom, while at the same time Donald A. Wollheim and others were organizing the Futurians. The Futurians' Marxism conflicted with Moskowitz's focus on sf and fandom and he, Will Sykora and Jimmy Taurasi (the Triumvirs) feuded with the Wollheimists. At age 19, when Sam became chairman of the First Worldcon held in New York City in 1939, he barred several Futurians from the convention for fear they would disrupt it, an event usually called the Exclusion Act.
He was Mystery Guest at the Clevention in 1955. The Mystery Guest was one of the GoHs, but the identity was not announced in advance of the convention. Moskowitz was not informed in advance, either, and many people feel that this was a sort of second-rate Worldcon GoHship which was surely less than his due.
Starting in 1953 Moskowitz edited Science-Fiction Plus, a prozine owned by Hugo Gernsback. In the 1960s and ’70s, he edited two dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, but his most enduring work is likely to be his writing on the history of science fiction, in particular two collections of short author biographies, Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow, as well as Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of "The Scientific Romance" in the Munsey Magazines.
He was married to fellow fan Dr. Christine Haycock (Chris Moskowitz). SaM’s siblings Pearl, Morris and Herman "Harry" Moskowitz attended the first Worldcon, possibly only in support of their brother, as we’ve so far found no evidence of their continuing fanac.
A few years before his death, he had throat cancer, which required the surgical removal of his larynx. He was able to speak via an electronic voice-box held against his throat, and continued to appear at cons.
- Entry in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia.
- A short, early biography: Who's Who in Fandom 1940, page 11.
- 2017 Hal W. Hall bibliography/guide to the writings of Moskowitz including a profile of SaM as a fan.
- Brief biography of SaM in .
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1955 -- Clevention
- 1956 -- Philcon 1956
- 1971 -- DeepSouthCon 9
- 1974 -- First Fandom Hall of Fame Award
- 1981 -- Pilgrim Award
- 1990 -- Raymond Z. Gallun Award
- 1982 -- MystiCon II
- 1987 -- VCON 15
- 1995 -- Archon 19
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