Chig, here is the article that I was referring to above. If you want to see the entire original, go here
. This copy is excised, and the emphasis is mine.
SCIENCE FICTION IN THE FULLERTON LIBRARY
by Dr. Willis E. McNelly
Professor of English, Emeritus
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Frank Herbert's Dune was a new book in the late 1960s. Already a major popular success, it was beginning to attract readers from the mainstream who were interested in the ecological precepts Herbert championed. During our first meeting in 1967, he asked if we were interested in acquiring the various manuscripts of Dune, the novel which eventually became the first in what Herbert later termed "The Dune Chronicles." Interested? I fairly jumped at the opportunity. Thus a few months later I visited Herbert in the Bay area where he was then living, spent several days with him and his wife Beverly, and returned to Cal State with a car trunk full of manuscripts. I was exultant. We had the complete original manuscript of Dune and a carbon copy of his typescript of the then unpublished "Dune II," later called Dune Messiah.
Most notable among the many boxes of his papers which I brought back to Fullerton was not only the first draft of Dune, that fine novel, but the second, third, and fourth drafts as well. Originally typewritten on yellow 8x14 foolscap, the first draft was complete with typed strikeovers, bold x's deleting entire paragraphs, penciled notations, marginalia of all kinds--questions marks, notes to himself in various colored inks--suggestions for change, expansion or emendation, and so on. It would be invaluable to scholars. (A close examination of his planning notes revealed that early in the planning stages of the book, Herbert intended that the hero of the novel be Liet-Kynes, the planetary ecologist of Arrakis, the planet known as Dune. Only later did he change Paul Atreides from the relatively minor role of a 12-year-old boy to the off-world messiah-hero of the novel). We were given setting copies, galley proofs, page proofs--all the notes and plans of what many critics consider to be the best SF novel ever written. In addition, Herbert gave us the carefully preserved manuscripts of all of his fiction and much of his non-fiction writing from the beginning of his career. Altogether, it was a magnificent contribution.
Most interesting of all was the file of rejection letters from publishers who though Dune too long, too complicated, or too intricately plotted to publish. Indeed, one publisher, who must remain nameless, was quite correct when he wrote to Herbert, "I may be making a serious mistake, perhaps the mistake of the decade, but . . ." and then rejected the book. One wonders what he feels today. In contrast, editor John W. Campbell's eight or ten page single-spaced acceptance letter of Dune for "Analog" is remarkable for its insights into the problems faced by Herbert in creating a teen-age superhero. Such fascinating tidbits abound in the boxes of papers we acquired.
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All of the writing from the nearly 50 authors whose work we had acquired had to be preserved. Some of it was in precarious condition and certainly none of it had been written on acid-free paper. Even the 8 x 14 yellowed pages of the first draft of Dune had been crumpled and folded to fit an 8 1/2 x 11 folder. The problem of preservation was eventually solved, at least temporarily, with acid-proof document boxes. Even pulp paper kept in one of these boxes would last for many decades, perhaps for centuries. However, using plastic envelopes to safeguard each individual issue of each pulp magazine can be only a temporary expedient. In other words, the question of microfilming the entire very extensive SF collection must still be addressed.
In order to solve one of the problems--overall classification--connected with the Herbert collection, Frank's wife, Beverly Herbert (who died in 1984) worked with Linda Herman to catalog and classify this marvelous donation. Together they decided to assign Opus numbers for ready reference and access, as well as making easier the question of their contents. Thus, Dune is Opus 25, for example, and the total extends to Opus 82.
In later years, before his untimely death in 1986, Frank Herbert continued sending Special Collections similar material for all of his later writings, working closely with Sharon Perry, now head of Special Collections. It is an extraordinary collection, and recent major donations by his widow, Theresa Shackleford, have amplified it considerably. For example, not only did she send us all of Herbert's personal copies of his books, both hardback and paperback, including The Dune Chronicles in every language in which they have been published, but in early 1991 she shipped to Fullerton 34 large boxes which contain, among many valuable items, Herbert's business correspondence, as well as his research for and copies of the many essays he wrote for "California Living" when he was a working journalist in the Bay area.
It can safely be said that no scholar will ever be able to write anything substantive about Herbert's career without consulting the Herbert Archives. Two books about Herbert utilizing the materials in Special Collections have already been published, and more are on the way.
One of The Dune Encyclopedia which I compiled for Berkeley/Putnam in 1983, and the other was William Touponce's Frank Herbert written for the Twayne American Authors Series and published in 1988. Touponce spent considerable time in Fullerton working with the Archives. One young man came all the way from Singapore to consult the Herbert collection in preparation for writing his Ph.D. dissertation. With copies of the screenplay of the filmed version of the novel now safely in the vault, together with dozens of audio tapes of interviews and lectures, the Herbert Archives can now accurately be termed definitive.
While the Herbert Archives at Fullerton are the "star of the show," so to speak, they are followed in importance by the Philip K. Dick collection.
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Fortunately, we had no similar problems with the extensive Herbert papers also sent to us on the same "permanent loan" basis. Shortly before his untimely death, Herbert assured me that he had made provisions in his will that we could keep The Herbert Archives, and in fact, his son Brian Herbert, also a writer, has expressed a desire to visit Fullerton to learn something of their extent and contents, assuring me that the estate is pleased that they are being preserved so well for posterity.
It is impossible, of course, to estimate the number of volumes of SF contained on the open shelves of the library. Part of the difficulty is inherent in the definition of SF itself. Should classic fantasy be included? Or books by such so-called "mainstream" authors as Kingsley Amis, John Hersey, Herman Wouk, or Thomas Pynchon to say nothing of H. G. Wells? No matter: Suffice it to say that the total is in the thousands, perhaps even in the tens of thousands. And as for paperbacks, the count is several thousands and still climbing.
Willis E. McNelly
Copyright © by Willis E. McNelly
All rights reserved.