Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Jefferson Sutton Science Fiction Collection
Bulk Dates: 1958-1979
Sutton, Jeff, 1913-1979
Physical Description: 5.68 linear ft
Language of Materials:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
Jefferson Sutton was born on July, 25, 1913 in Los Angeles, California. He began his career at age fourteen as an office boy
in the editorial department of the
Los Angeles Examiner where he worked for many years. He was a staff photographer-writer with International News Photos from 1937 to 1940.
Sutton enlisted in the Marine Corps from 1932 through 1936, and re-enlisted at the outset of World War II, serving with the
Second Marine Division in the South and Central Pacific areas. Later, he wrote a novel called
The River about his experience on Guadalcanal.
In the 1940s, his work experience included jobs such as a reporter, news and portrait photographer, and housing expediter.
He also worked as an assistant to San Diego Mayor Harley Knox. After receiving his Master's Degree in Experimental Psychology
at San Diego State University, Jefferson Sutton worked as a research engineer in human factors engineering in the aerospace
industry for several years before turning to editorial public relations with General Dynamics/Astronautics. As a Convair human
engineer, he explored man's adaptation to machines and established his business as an editorial consultant to industry. Several
years later he returned to his "true love" – writing. During the many years of his writing career which started in 1958 with
the publication of his science fiction novel
First on the Moon, Jefferson Sutton remained a free-lance editorial consultant to aerospace industries in 1960-1979. He published articles
in related professional magazines.
Sutton published 23 novels in more than 10 languages. In one of his interviews he said that writing came naturally to him:
his father was the editor in the
Los Angeles Examiner for 35 years; his grandfather had experience with publishing newspapers. Sutton's writing includes a number of science fiction
books, war, political, and juvenile books. Sutton wrote that his greatest interest had always been people and the settings
in which they function. As a writer, Sutton stayed in areas in which he was most knowledgeable – space, astronautics, war,
newspaper backgrounds, and in areas of pure imagination (science fiction). In 1962 he wrote the novel
Apollo at Go, a prophetic book about man's first landing on the moon. In his fictitious account, he missed the eventual, actual 1969 landing
on the moon by 9 days. Among his earlier books about space exploration are
Bombs in Orbit (1959) and
Jefferson Sutton married Eugenia Geneva Hensen on February 1, 1941. Eugenia G. Hansen was born in Denmark, Wisconsin. She
went to the University of Wisconsin and then transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles where she earned her
Bachelor's degree in economics and met Jefferson Sutton. After the World War II, the couple lived in the San Diego area.
Eugenia (Jean) Sutton worked as a secretary for the San Diego City Council (1949-1952) and administrative assistant in San
Diego State College (1953-1955) before receiving her Master's degree in education from San Diego State University and began
teaching at the Grossmont Union High School District in 1959. The Suttons had two children: Christopher and Gale.
Jean Sutton participated in the editing of 15 novels written by her husband, starting with his first fiction book
First on the Moon. Jean and Jeff Sutton first collaborated as coauthors on the juvenile book
The Beyond (1968). They published some juvenile books as coauthors, including
The Programmed Man,
Lord of the Stars, and others. Two of them,
The Beyond and
The Programmed Man, were Junior Literature Guild selection.
Jefferson Sutton died on January 31, 1979 at his home in La Mesa at the age of 65.
This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Sutton, Jeff -- Archives
Sutton, Jeff -- Criticism and interpretation -- Sources
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography -- Sources
Science fiction, American
Science fiction, American -- History and criticism -- Sources
Writers and their works
Conditions Governing Use:
The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with
the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections
is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Requests for permission to publish must be
submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission
is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available
for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including
but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Conditions Governing Access:
This collection is open for research.
Identification of item, folder title, box number, Jefferson Sutton Science Fiction Collection, Special Collections and University
Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.
Elizabeth Chater Science Fiction Collection
Elizabeth Chater Science Fiction Manuscript Collection
John Hood Science Fiction Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
I. Manuscripts, 1958-1979
II. Articles, 1943-1958
III. Correspondence, 1958-1980
IV. Research Materials, 1956-1979
Scope and Contents
Jefferson Sutton, a San Diego State University graduate, is the author of more than 20 novels written in different genres:
science fiction, war, politics, and juvenile literature. His books can be found in libraries throughout the country, his novels
were published in more than 10 languages, and two of his juvenile books were Junior Literature Guild selections (
Lord of the Stars, 1968, and
The Programmed Man, 1969). Most of the collection documents Jeff Sutton's career as a writer. The collection consists of the typewritten drafts
of Jeff Sutton's novels, correspondence with publishers, editors, and readers, publications about Jeff Sutton, book reviews,
and private research materials. The smaller part of the collection documents Sutton’s successful professional career as a
research engineer. The collection contains Jefferson Sutton’s publications in the popular aviation magazine
Flying, the U.S. Department of Air Force’s magazine
Flying Safety, and in the Air Force Institute of Technology's journal
Contact. The collection also includes materials written by the wife and coauthor Eugenia Geneva Sutton. The papers date from approximately
1943 to 1985 with the bulk of the material from 1958 to 1979. The collection is organized into four series:
Manuscripts series consists of typewritten original book manuscripts of Jeff Sutton's novels. The series contains manuscripts of nineteen
novels written between 1958-1979. This series documents Sutton's creative processes as well as the impact publishers and editors
had upon the final published versions of each included book manuscript. The collection includes two drafts of
The Missile Lords. They are marked as Draft # 1 and Draft # 2. The
Frogman of Space novel also has two drafts. The draft titled
Frogman of Space, first draft pages includes the first 162 pages of the first draft of the novel. This part of the novel was later edited
and replaced by 126 pages in the second draft of the novel housed in the file Frogman of Space. All the manuscripts have author's
notes and remarks. There are missing pages in two manuscripts (
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, and
The Missile Lords, draft # 1). The series does not contain the manuscripts from four novels published by Jeff Sutton in 1958-1970. The series
is filed alphabetically by title.
The second series,
Articles, is the smallest in the collection. This part of the collection presents Sutton’s publications in newspapers and magazines
before he started his career as a professional writer. The series documents Sutton's early career, and illustrates the effect
of his life experience during the World War II, and of his years in the aerospace industry on later writing processes. The
themes of war, space and flying appear repeatedly in Sutton's novels. The collection contains copies of
Flying Safety magazines from 1957-1958 with Jeff Sutton's articles, and a photocopy of his publication in the
Los Angeles Examiner (1943). The
Los Angeles Examiner published photos taken by Sutton in the time of his serving in the Second Marine Division on the South and Central Pacific
areas during World War II and the letter written by him to Lynn Spencer, the
Los Angeles Examiner society editor, about the realities of war. Sutton’s biography states that he worked as a reporter and photographer for many
years, but the collection does not contain any of Jeff Sutton’s other newspaper articles or photographs. The series is filed
in alphabetical order (magazine or the newspaper title).
Correspondence series contains documents dated from approximately 1958 to 1980. It includes correspondence of Jeff Sutton. Newspaper clippings
with book reviews and articles about Jeff and Jean Sutton and their writings are scattered throughout the files. This series
provides a detailed picture of the interaction of Jefferson Sutton with editors and publishers regarding the content of his
novels, financial details of publication, and publicity. One of the folders contains the correspondence of Eugenia Sutton
with editors and publishers after the death of Jefferson Sutton, and photos of Jeff Sutton and his wife. The series includes
reviews of Jeff Sutton’s books. Many reviews were photocopied by the Suttons, and do not contain information about the publisher
or the exact date of publication. Originals of letters with readers’ reactions to Jeff Sutton’s books are organized in chronological
order. The materials in the series are filed alphabetically, by file name.
Research Materials series contains research materials used by Jefferson Sutton during his career as a research engineer and a science fiction
writer from 1956 to 1979. It demonstrates how the earlier research and publications prepared Jefferson Sutton for his career
as a professional writer, documents his writing processes, provides details of story development. The series includes a box
of paper cards with the bibliography, background information for science fiction book writing, and typewritten notes prepared
by Jefferson Sutton. The card file is organized numerically. Some cards are missing from the card file.