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Pulp Historian Albert Tonik’s Collection Will Be Auctioned at PulpFest

Posted in Conventions on June 26, 2012 @ 12:21 am

Albert Tonik, long-time fan, scholar and collector of pulp magazines and related popular-culture artifacts, has decided to sell his holdings and has chosen PulpFest as the most appropriate venue to do so. Therefore, the vast majority of lots offered at this year’s Saturday-night auction will be choice items from Al’s huge collection of hardcovers, paperbacks, pulps, fanzines, dime novels, comic books, and especially reference books that are both scarce and desirable.

One of the last surviving PulpFest attendees who actually bought pulps off the newsstands, Al discovered fandom several decades ago and began collecting anew the rough-paper magazines he enjoyed so much as a youth. But his activity didn’t stop there: Al was determined to document the lives and careers of pulp writers, artists, editors, and publishers. He assiduously tracked down and made contact with surviving pulp-industry veterans, corresponding with many and meeting some face to face. More than a few considered him a friend and granted him unlimited access to their files for his research.

Over a period of several decades, Al researched aspects of pulp history previously covered sketchily, if at all. He unearthed long-buried records — letters, ledgers, invoices, inter-office memos — that enabled him to identify the works of pulp writers who had worked under pseudonyms, to determine how much they had been paid for their labors, where and when their stories had been reprinted (if at all), and so on. In the course of this research, which he came to enjoy as much if not more than reading the actual pulps themselves, Al amassed a huge library of reference works that facilitated cross-referencing and added to the wealth of knowledge he uncovered through his friendships with veteran pulpsters.

Al has loved sharing his knowledge. As an early member of PEAPS (the Pulp Era Amateur Press Society), he became well known for his contributions entitled “Ramblings of a Perambulating Pulp Fan.” He transcribed interviews, compiled exhaustive bibliographies, and wrote fact-filled articles for such popular fanzines as Echoes, Pulp Vault, The Pulp Collector, Purple Prose, and my own Blood ‘n’ Thunder. Al never wrote a pulp-history book himself, but he supplied hard-to-find information to more than a dozen tomes penned by his friends and fellow pulp scholars.

Although Al remains in relatively good physical condition for his 87 years of age, he has decided it’s time to dispose of the collection he spent so long compiling. He wants this treasure trove of material to be disseminated among his fellow hobbyists and to that end has asked PulpFest to auction the material.

Among the many treasures that will be offered during our August 11th auction will be Leonard A. Robbins’ multi-volume The Pulp Magazine Index, Marshall B. Tymn’s and Mike Ashley’s Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines, Sam Moskowitz’s Under the Moons of Mars (signed by the author), Michael L. Cook’s Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Magazines, Quentin Reynolds’ The Fiction Factory, a complete run of the quarterly PEAPS mailings, a bound volume of Lynn Hickman’s The Pulp Era, runs of Echoes, The Pulp Collector, Pulp Vault, Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector, and other fanzines, a few issues of Standard’s Thrilling Comics and Street & Smith’s Shadow Comics, several issues of Jungle Stories and various Western pulps, many issues of The Pulp Review/High Adventure, a large number of Jim Hanos’ pulp reprints, film and television scripts, superhero paperbacks, and much more.

Over the years Al has been one of the hobby’s most generous participants. He has given us a great deal — including his friendship — and we’re pleased to have a role in giving something back, in addition to finding good homes for the books and magazines he has treasured for so many years.

More information will be supplied after the PulpFest staff has been able to catalog Al’s voluminous holdings. This auction is yet another reason to be excited about PulpFest 2012, which is almost certain to be the best yet!

17 thoughts on “Pulp Historian Albert Tonik’s Collection Will Be Auctioned at PulpFest

  1. Al is one of pulp fandom’s fine founding fathers. His articles about PulpCons in various fanzines were the impetus for me to become a more active pulp fan. He’s a great fan, a very interesting person, and a wonderful human being. He’s one of pulp fandom’s treasures.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Duane. Al was one of the first Pulpcon veterans to befriend me when I started coming to the show, and I was thrilled when he invited me to the last couple “Tonikcons.”

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