(August 8, 1920 – June 28, 2008)
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.
Speer became became a fan around 1935 and was responsible for a long series of firsts:
- Besides writing Up to Now, he developed a system of Numerical Fandoms, which was later expanded by other fan historians such as Robert Silverberg and Ted White.
- He followed Up to Now with Fancyclopedia 1 (updated in the late 1950s by Dick Eney as Fancyclopedia 2 and subsequently by this site). Harry Warner, Jr., also a fan historian, said that Speer was "the first to stress (fandom's) subcultural aspects."
- With Dan McPhail, he introduced "mailing comments" in the third mailing of FAPA.
- At Chicon I, the second Worldcon, Speer distributed a set of science fiction songs he had written, now called filk, as the Science Fiction Song Sheet. They were reprinted under the pseudonym John Bristol in Xenofilkia, as "Various Songs", and "Twilight Prelude".
- Also at Chicon, Speer and Milt Rothman suggested a costume party or masquerade, which is still part of Worldcon today.
- He popularized FooFoo.
- He popularized mailing comments.
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.
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.
- His short history Up To Now on early fandom — and on Jack Speer.
- Jack Speer -- Elder God by Bob Tucker.
- The first issue of Lee Hoffman's Fan History in February 1956 was the Jack Speer issue.
- Jack Speer & Fandom, a rant by Claude Degler.
- Obituary in New Series #18, 3rd quarter, 2008, issue of Scientifiction: The First Fandom Report
- Founding Members article in .
- An early short biography in Who's Who in Fandom 1940, page 12.
- Noreascon 4 articles about Speer.
- His photograph appears on page 128 of Harry Warner, Jr.'s All Our Yesterdays (1969) and on page 19 of Harry Warner's A Wealth of Fable (1992).
- Albuquerque Journal obituary.
- A [early ’40s] (for FAPA)
- Black and White  (with Forrest J Ackerman for FAPA)
- Blitzkrieg (with Elmer Perdue and Milt Rothman for FAPA)
- The Cosmic Circle & Fandom  (for FAPA)
- Decimal Classification for Fantasy Fiction  (for FAPA)
- Fancyclopedia 1
- Full Length Articles [1938-60s] (for FAPA)
- Investigation in Newcastle  (for FAPA)
- Konan  (for FAPA)
- Matters of Opinion [1940s] (for FAPA)
- One Fingers Number Four Fingers Number One (with F. T. Laney, Charles Burbee, and Walt Leibscher)
- Please Lay This Aside  (for FAPA)
- Ramblings [1938-42] (for FAPA)
- Science Fiction Forum
- The SF Democrat 
- Stefnews/The Stefnews
- Stf and Nonsense (with Dan MacPhail)
- Sustaining Program
- To Relive Ten Years!  (for FAPA)
- Up to Now
- War in Heaven  (for FAPA, with Milt Rothman and Elmer Perdue)
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1961 -- Baycon
- 1984 -- Norwescon VII
- 1994 -- Past president of the FWA
- 1995 -- First Fandom Hall of Fame
- 2001 -- Don Ford Fund guest at Ditto 14/FanHistoriCon 11
- 2004 -- Noreascon 4
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