Celia Keller

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(November 29, 1891 – November 1969)

Celia Keller, by all accounts a strong personality, was active in the late 1940s. The third wife of sf writer Lt. Col. David H. Keller, M.D., of Philadelphia, she was a tireless promoter of her husband and his work.

Chad Oliver wrote in a letter to Andy Lyon, printed in Fanomena 2 (March 1948):

For you cannot forget Mrs. Celia Keller, once you have met her. She is a remarkable woman, and was by no means eclipsed by the colonel -- who is not exactly an unobtrusive personality.

Lyon wrote in the same issue:

No article about David Keller would be complete without mentioning his wife, Celia; the two are inseparable. Of the two, I am inclined to think that she is the more practical, intelligent, engaging, quick witted, aggressive --- these adjectives seem inadequate to describe her, although her idea of aggressiveness and mine may differ. I do not subscribe to her belief that an argumentative nature denotes aggressiveness. Mrs. Keller is a delightful conversationalist and never seems to grow tired of discussing anything. She is perfectly at home in a fan gab, and keeps well abreast of the news in fandom; she likes nothing better than reading and discussing fanzines. Her address book includes almost all of the well-known fans as well as dozens she has personally ferreted out of their hiding places. She enjoys reading all science fiction and fantasy, and is familiar with almost all the works of the better writers. Woe to the author that leaves a loose thread somewhere in the story; her quick eye will catch it. Mrs. K. has an uncanny aptness in detecting flaws in a tale, but sometimes exhibits a lack of this same talent regarding David's work that is almost phenomenal.

In his conrep on Torcon, the 1948 Worldcon, in Light 36 (August 1948), Leslie Croutch wrote:

Celia Keller -- Mrs. David H. -- was much in evidence. She is nice but had a tendency to be the confidential sort. She is Doc’s press agent. She can tout Doc’s wares terrifically and it is impossible to be annoyed. You can tell that she feels her husband is the only man on earth. It either must be love or hero worship. Mrs. Keller is the motherly sort and would mother you if you didn’t watch out, I am sure.

Robert Bloch recalled her at Torcon in What About Us Grils? 2, 1969:

TORONTO, 1948. I was involved rather heavily in the proceedings here, but not quite as heavily as David H. Keller, M.D. The good doctor really took over -- or, rather, his wife took over for him. Whenever he came into the meeting-hall during a session, Mrs. Keller preceded him and loudly announced, "The Doctor is coming!" whereupon the program halted until David H. Keller was seated. During various panel discussions, Mrs. Keller would get up and proclaim from the floor, "I'm sure the Doctor has something of interest to say about the subject" -- and, sure enough, he always did. Bob Tucker, George O. Smith and I were drafted to help the Canadian contingent with banquet entertainment and we worked hard at setting up a last-minute program. We needn't have bothered. Midway through the affair, Mrs. Keller rose to her feet and said, "I have persuaded the Doctor to tell us an amusing Shakespearean anecdote he has often related." Whereupon the program halted once more while the Doctor delivered a lengthy monologue concerning that eminent sf writer, Wm. Shakespeare. Today, in all fairness, I realize that if anyone was entitled to be Guest of Honor at that convention, it was David H. Keller. But at the time I was just a wee bit sorry for the actual pro Guest of Honor, who happened to be -- me.

Celia attended her husband through his last illnesses in 1966 at Underwood, their home in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. She died in Stroudsburg in November 1969.

Person 18911969
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