In 1969 the late Donald Wilson, University Librarian at the University of California, Riverside Library (now the Tomás Rivera Library), purchased a Collection of 7500 volumes of sf and fantasy from the estate of J Lloyd Eaton MD. Eaton had for several decades collected many rare and unusual monographs of sf, including such items as Varney the Vampire (1847) and Frank Aubrey's King of the Dead (1903), ceasing his active interest in the field about 1956. For the first decade after its purchase, the collection remained in storage, uncatalogued and inaccessible to researchers. In 1978 Robert Reginald and George Edgar Slusser successfully proposed an annual conference centred on the Eaton Collection, and in 1979 Slusser was appointed Curator. Simultaneously the Rivera Library began actively cataloguing the newer parts of the collection, while making retrospective purchases of missing items and adding current materials. Cataloguing of the old books was completed with a federal grant in the late 1980s; unfortunately, the Dictionary Catalog of the J. Lloyd Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, University of California, Riverside (1982 3vols) was compiled long before the task had been completed.
The collection now includes 100,000+ items, having been supplemented with the acquisition of the Douglas Menville collection (10,000 paperbacks and esoterica), the Terry Carr collection (some 20,000 Fanzines), the Rick Sneary (1927-1990) collection (40,000 fanzines) and the manuscripts of several contemporary sf writers, plus 10,000 superhero Comics, 10,000 boys' books, 500 shooting scripts of sf and fantasy films, the Michael Cassutt collection of screenplays and teleplays, and some foreign-language material. Access to this, the largest academic library collection of fantastic literature, is available to legitimate scholars and to members of the university community.
The Eaton Award, initially presented for nonfiction about the genre and now for life achievement in sf, is presented by the University of California, Riverside, and named in memory of Eaton. [RoR]
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