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Mercury Press Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: circa 1970

Biographical History

Mercury Press was created in the late 1930s by Lawrence Spivak as a publisher for The American Mercury, a popular magazine of American culture and criticism. The company and its various branches, including Mystery House and Fantasy House, soon branched out into other magazines, including Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (1941) and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, later renamed Fantasy & Science Fiction and sometimes referred to as F&SF, published its first issue in 1949. Mercury Press continued as the publisher for more than fifty years, until the magazine moved to Spilogale, Inc. in 2001. Initially the magazine was published quarterly (1949-1950) but by 1952 it was a monthly magazine, which it remained until 1991. From 1991-2008 F&SF published 11 issues per year, until in 2009 it dropped back to a bimonthly publication.

Notable authors published in F&SF include Harlan Ellison, Thomas Disch, Stephen King, Shirely Jackson, Robert Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Kurt Vonnegut, and many many more.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Mercury Press Records contain correspondence and production files for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and a few other publications. The collection consists of two large parts, processed and arranged separately; material relating to a particular author therefore may be found in several locations in the collection. Researchers should review the entire finding aid to ensure locating all relevant material.

Part I consists of questionnaires, manuscripts, published material, and a subject file.

Questionnaires contains replies to a questionnaire sent to subscribers of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine as part of a survey conducted by Mercury Press to determine what type of people read science fiction. On the back of many of the questionnaires are additional comments by the subscribers. There are no dates on these.

Manuscripts, which comprise the bulk of this collection, are for the most part original typescripts with corrections and printers notes, but also included are galleys, xerox copies, and printed copies. When the manuscripts are anything but original typescripts, it is indicated on the inventory. The manuscripts include short stories, novels, poems, plays, and reviews; among the authors represented are Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Gore Vidal, Damon Knight, Keith Laumer, Jack London, Robert Silverberg, and Robert Heinlein. These stories appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine and Venture Magazine, published by Mercury Press.

Published material consists of books and periodicals -- American and English editions of The Best From Fantasy and Science Fiction, issues of Venture Magazine and its Spanish edition Minotaure, published in Argentina, and copies of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. All published material has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging; please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

A small group of Subject files completes the collection, consisting of editorials and tables of contents for Venture Magazine and Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.

Part II consists of correspondence, and editorial and production files relating to two magazines published by Mercury Press.

Correspondence is subdivided into fan mail, incoming, and outgoing. Authors represented here include Forrest Ackerman, Isaac Asimov, Peter S. Beagle, Ray Bradbury, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robert Heinlein, Cyril Korbluth, Walter M. Miller, Andre Norton, Clifford Simak, Theodore Sturgeon, Manly Wade Wellman, and many more.

The remaining two series consist of files relating to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine and True Crime Detective. Each of these two series is subdivided into editorial files (the majority of which are manuscripts of stories), financial records, and production records. The Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine series also contains some memorabilia and assorted other items.

Arrangement of the Collection

Part I - Correspondence (questionnaire) is arranged by age of respondent. Manuscripts are arranged alpabetically by type and then by title. Published material has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Subject files are arranged alphabetically by topic.

Part II - Correspondence is arranged either alphabetically (incoming) or chronologically (outgoing). Fantasy and Science Fiction files and True Crime Detective files are subdivided into editorial files, financial records, and production records, and within that arranged alphabetically.

Other Related Finding Aids

An up-to-date author index to the complete run of F&SF magazine is available online at


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

See also the Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine Collection. In addition, Special Collections Research Center has a number of manuscript collections related to science fiction and fantasy authors and publishers; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing. In addition, numerous science fiction books, pamphlets, serials and other items are cataloged in the Rare Books Collection; please be sure to search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Mercury Press.

Associated Titles

Fantasy & science fiction.
Magazine of fantasy and science fiction (Cornwall, Conn.)
True crime detective.
Venture magazine.


Fantasy fiction -- Publishing.
Fantasy fiction, American -- Periodicals.
Science fiction -- Publishing.
Science fiction, American -- Periodicals.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Fan mail.
Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.
Page proofs.
Tear sheets.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mercury Press Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mercury Press, 1969.

Table of Contents

Questionnaires (Part I)

Manuscripts (Part I)

Published material (Part I)

Subject file (Part I)

Correspondence (Part II)

Fantasy and Science Fiction (Part II)

True Crime Detective (Part II)