Fantastic Planets, Other Worlds: Weird Tales
When modern science fiction first appeared in the early 20th century, it was considered "œpulp trash," little better than pornography. The New York Public Library concentrated on collecting "œfiction of literary distinction." Nevertheless, recognizing the role of popular literature as a mirror of the social and cultural values of society, the Library did in fact purchase genre fiction, including mysteries, westerns, love stories, and science fiction. As a result, hardcover science fiction, 1900-1950, is well represented in the collections. But the real "pulp trash" was still excluded: the specialized short fiction magazines and early paperback novels were not acquired. As science fiction developed into a major literary genre, collection policy was revised accordingly, and the Library began building a research-level collection of primary and secondary SF sources, including the most famous of the many specialized magazines that appeared for the first time in the 1920s, Weird Tales. Its specialty was science fiction and supernatural fiction.
Weird Tales: The Unique Magazine, January 1932.
The New York Public Library, General Research Division.
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