(1) The earliest fan generation
In his theory of Numerical Fandoms, Jack Speer defined First Fandom as the fannish era of 1933 through 1936. However, the term has come to encompass fandom from its earliest days — including what Speer called Eofandom, the founding of the Science Fiction League and the Scienceers in the late 1920s — through the late 1930s. Anyone involved in the microcosm, in any form of fanac up through the first Worldcon in 1939 is considered to be a member.
(2) The club, First Fandom
Formed in 1959, the club was the brain-child of a group of fans consisting of C. L. Barrett, MD., Don Ford, Lynn Hickman, Bob Madle, and Lou Tabakow. In its early literature, it described itself as "a fun-loving organization like the Shriners and Cooties. And First Fandom is for the old-timers. The date of December 31, 1937 has arbitrarily been made the cut-off date. Anyone who can show any connection with any aspect of science fiction fandom prior to that date is eligible for membership."
They have a distinctive triangular membership patch and the motto, "First Fandom is not dead, only doddering."
The group calling itself "First Fandom" today is descended from that First Fandom, but no longer has many true First Fandomites as members and has abandoned the requirement of actually having been active during First Fandom. Membership today encompasses "dinosaurs," those few fans left who engaged in fannish activities up through the first Worldcon, which was held over the July 4, 1939, weekend, and "associate members," who have been active in fandom for at least 30 years.
The club awards the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award for contributions to the field of science fiction — whether as a fan, writer, editor, artist, agent or combination — dating back more than 30 years, and the Sam Moskowitz Archive Award for excellence in science fiction collecting. They are usually presented annually during the Hugo Awards ceremony at Worldcons.
|from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959|
|No direct relation to the era. Don Ford, Bob Madle and some others organized this group too close to our deadline for any of its activities to become evident. Its membership is restricted to folk who indulged in any sort of fanac before 1938, and apparently it is intended as an historical and continuity-maintaining group.|
|from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944|
|(Speer) - The period up to 1936. It was marked by interest primarily in science and science-fiction. Fanzine material consisted mainly of forecasts of lineups in the pros, interviews with prominent authors, fan fiction relating to the pros, fan science fiction, novelty fiction by groups of pro writers, new advances in science, discussions of why s-f is in a rut or sex in science-fiction or the relative important of plausibility and good style. Douglas Webster uses the term to indicate the first fans of Great Britain; Carnell, Gillings, Hanson, Mayer, et al. who continued dominant into 1938, and were mainly interested in the aforementioned subjects, and also in sociological questions.|