serving the convention community since 2007.

75 years of conventions

By Petrea Mitchell| October 22, 2011 | Comments Off on 75 years of conventions

75 years ago, on October 22, 1936, the first science fiction convention occurred when a group of fans from New York City travelled to Philadelphia to meet local fans at Milton A. Rothman’s house. This is now known as Philcon I.

Arguments rage today about whether this should be considered a real convention, since it was at someone’s house and not a purpose-built meeting venue. (That kind of convention would happen for the first time in 1937, in Leeds, UK.) But the word “convention” was used for this meeting at the time– in fact, this was where “science fiction convention” entered the English language. 1936 being an election year, the major parties had had their nominating conventions a few months before, and it was an analogy with those that led people to call this meeting a convention.

At least two people who were there are still with us and participating in fandom. David Kyle became a publisher, editor, illustrator, and author, and still goes to conventions. Frederik Pohl, who became best known for his writing and was named a Grand Master of Science Fiction, won his latest Hugo Award just last year for his blog on fan history.

[HT: Steve Silver]



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