The University of Iowa has an extensive and growing archive of Science Fiction and Fantasy publications, and now, they’re beginning to digitize their collection of fanzines.

The University has been working to preserve the fan-printed publications, and under the supervision of curator Peter Balestrieri, archivists have begun to photograph each document. It’s no small task: the Rusty Hevelin collection contains over 10,000 individual items. The collection was donated in 2012.

“These fanzines paint an almost outrageously clear picture of early fandom,” said [Digital Project Librarian Laura] Hampton. “If you read through every single fanzine in our collection, you would have a pretty solid idea of all the goings-on that shaped early fandom—the major players, the dramas, the developments and changes, and who instigated and opposed them. There is an incredible cultural history here that cannot be replicated.”

This is an utterly fantastic project, and something which genre historians will undoubtedly examine closely in the years to come. You can check out some behind-the-scenes commentary and pictures over on the collection’s tumblr page, and you can read the full article here.

[Library Journal]