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Poul and Karen Anderson papers
MS 040  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Poul and Karen Anderson papers
    Date (inclusive): 1925-2018
    Date (bulk): 1950-2010
    Collection Number: MS 040
    Creator: Anderson, Karen, 1932-2018
    Creator: Anderson, Poul, 1926-2001
    Extent: 54.17 linear feet (73 boxes, 41 flat file folders)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: The collection consists of the personal and professional papers of science fiction and fantasy authors Poul and Karen Anderson. These materials document the writing and publishing process and their involvement with the science fiction community and other organizations such as the Society for Creative Anachronism and Sherlockiana groups. Items in the collection include correspondence, manuscript drafts, notes, diaries, personal records, artwork, memorabilia and ephemera from various conventions and events.
    Languages: The collection is primarily in English with a small amount of materials in Danish.


    This collection is open for research. Some materials have been restricted at the request of the donor until 2044 and are noted as such within this finding aid.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Poul and Karen Anderson papers (MS 040). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Astrid Anderson Bear, 2019.

    Processing History

    Processed by Andrew Lippert, Special Collections Processing Archivist, 2019.

    Biographical Note

    Poul Anderson was born in Pennsylvania in 1926 to an American father and a Danish mother. They lived in Texas until the death of his father in late 1937. After some time traveling and a year and a half living in the Washington, D.C. area, Poul, his brother, and his mother settled in Minnesota in 1939. Poul attended the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in Physics. His first story was published in 1947 and he went on to have a prolific and successful writing career. He was the President of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1972 to 1973 and was named a Grand Master in 1997. His works were widely recognized across the profession and fandom, winning 7 Hugo awards, 3 Nebula awards, a John Campbell Memorial award, and more. Poul's writings encompassed most of the speculative spectrum including hard and soft science fiction; fantasy, folklore, and mythology; and alternate and future history. His writing was consistently informed by his love and knowledge of science, his Scandinavian heritage, as well as mythology and history. Poul passed away in 2001.
    Karen Kruse was born in 1932 in Kentucky. She became involved with theater and acting in high school and discovered science fiction fandom after her family moved to Washington, D. C. Karen joined the Washington Science Fiction Association in 1952, started publishing fanzines, and attended her first Worldcon in Chicago. She was a frequent convention attendee and active participant in costume competitions. Karen is credited with the first intentional usage of the term "filk music" and wrote and staged a number of plays, musicals, and filk operettas, perhaps most notably "H.M.S Trek-a-Star." Karen's writing career included short stories and poetry, a number of fanzines, and she co-authored several books with Poul.
    Poul and Karen met in 1952 at Worldcon in Chicago and they continued their relationship through correspondence for the next year with Karen living in Washington, D. C. and Poul traveling in Europe. They were married in 1953, settled in Orinda, CA and their daughter, Astrid, was born in 1954. The Anderson family was a staple of the science fiction and fantasy communities for many decades. Beyond science fiction and fantasy the Andersons participated in Sherlockiana groups and were founding members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    The materials in the collection primarily start in the early 1950s and span through the death of Poul in 2001 and Karen in 2018. There is extensive material pertaining to Poul's writing career as well as research and background materials that supported it. There are also materials related to Karen's writing that includes poetry, short stories, co-authored works with Poul, and plays and filk operettas that she wrote or staged. The collection documents the Anderson's broader involvement with science fiction fandom (primarily fanzines and convention materials), the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Sherlockiana groups. Notable correspondence includes a lengthy exchange between Poul and Karen in 1952-1953, letters from Robert Heinlein in the early 1960s, correspondence from Anthony Boucher to Karen Anderson, and letters between Karen and Astrid and the cast and creators of Star Trek in the 1960s. The collection includes a significant quantity of art, memorabilia, and awards.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into a number of series as described below. Several of the series have sub-series and these are further described at the series level as appropriate.
    • Series 1. Fiction manuscripts, 1950-2013, undated
    • Series 2. Non-Fiction manuscripts and writings, 1955-2001, undated
    • Series 3. Research and background materials, 1925-2006, undated
    • Series 4. Correspondence, 1952-2006
    • Series 5. Personal materials, 1949-2005, undated
    • Series 6. Sherlockiana, 1956-2007
    • Series 7. Society for Creative Anachronism, 1964-1998
    • Series 8. Events, 1952-2009
    • Series 9. Music and poetry, 1945-2009
    • Series 10. Works by others, 1953-2011, undated
    • Series 11. Fanzines, 1949-2005, undated
    • Series 12. Publications, 1954-2002, undated
    • Series 13. Photographic materials, 1964-2010, undated
    • Series 14. Audio, visual, and digital media, 1977-2003, undated
    • Series 15. Art and graphic materials, 1951-1979, undated
    • Series 16. Awards, memorabilia, and realia, 1952-2005, undated

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Society for Creative Anachronism
    Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. SFWA
    Congresses and conventions
    Fantasy fiction--Authorship
    Literature publishing
    Science fiction fans
    Science fiction -- Authorship

    Genres and Forms of Materials