ISA

The first fanclub may have been the Science Correspondence Club (SCC), later known as the International Scientific Association (ISA). (See First Club for discussion.)

Fanhistorians debate on whether it actually qualified as a fan or sf club, since as its name(s) indicates, the SCC/ISA was a widespread association of correspondents with only a handful of its members actually getting together as a local group in the Chicago area, and only partly devoted to the then new genre of science fiction.

The SCC originated in early spring, 1928, founded by Aubrey Clements of Montgomery, Alabama. A month later, Walter Dennis and Sydney Gerson of Chicago formed a similar club. The following year, the two clubs merged with 25 members coming from Clements's club and 24 coming from Dennis's.

Like Hugo Gernsback, the club believed that reading scientifiction (as sf was called at the time) would, could and probably should lead to a career in science. Although its contents through 17 issues was more about the science in the stories rather than the fiction, some fanhistorians rate club’s publication, The Comet (later called Cosmology), as the first fanzine (while others argue that it was the Scienceers' clubzine, The Planet). The first issue was published in May 1930 under the editorship of Ray Palmer, who incidentally went on to edit Amazing Stories and give us the shameful Shaver Mystery in the 1940s.

According to a letter announcing the name change from the Science Correspondence Club to the International Scientific Society (sic), published in Astounding Stories and written by the organization's founder and treasurer, Walter Dennis, members included Willy Ley, Earl D. Streeter, R. P. Starzl, Robert A. Wait, S. P. Meek, Dr. William Tyler Olcott, Lilith Lorraine, and Dr. D. W. Morehouse, president of Drake University, Iowa.


Contributors: Dr. Gafia


ISA from Fancyclopedia 2 ca. 1959
The International Scientific Association. Apparently there was an early organization of the same name, with RAP among its head men, but the ISA of history was originally the International Cosmos Science Club, a group which sought to combine amateur scientists and faaans only to find the latter becoming dominant. It was scarcely "international", the chief branches being the NYBISA and the PSFS. Will Sykora was the chief leader, but numerous later Futurians and other fans were prominent members. The ISA backed its members who were among the young authors taking legal action against Wonder Stories for non-payment, and when some were expelled from the SFL it warred against the SFL — and also against the Fantasy Magazine group who leaned toward the pros.

The ISA put on the first two conventions, and was the outstanding organization of the First Transition. In consequence of that transition, President Sykora resigned in 1937, protesting the increasing neglect of science; repercussions were so grave that Donald A Wollheim (the only active officer left) got informal permission from the Philly and New York members to wind up the affairs of the ISA and dissolve it. This was done in good order except for trouble with the library, which was stored at Sykora's. In 1938 Sykora, returning to activity, claimed that the ISA had never been legally dissolved and formed the ISA Committee for Reorganization, to which the Wollheimists opposed the Friends of the ISA; the Committee for Reorganization was one of the organizations in whose name the Newark Convention was called. But Sykora failed to get support for his movement there, and presently dropped the notion.
ISA from Fancyclopedia 1 ca. 1944
The International Scientific Association. Apparently there was an early organization of the same name, with RAP among its head men. The ISA of history was originally the ICSC, a group which sought to combine amateur scientists and fans, and found the latter becoming dominant. It was scarcely international, the chief branches being the NYB-ISA and the PSFS. Sykora was the chief leader, but numerous later Futurians and others were prominent members. The ISA backed its members who were among the young authors taking legal action against Wonder Stories for non-payment, and when some were expelled from the SFL, warred against the SFL, and also against the Fantasy Magazine group, who leaned toward the pros. The ISA put on the first two conventions, and was the outstanding organization in the First Transition, In consequence of the transition, President Sykora resigned in 1937, protesting their increasing neglect of science, and because he was going to college and thot he would be too busy to continue. Repercussions were so grave that Donald A Wollheim, the only active officer left, got informal permission from the Philadelphia and New York members to wind up its affairs and dissolve it. This was done in good order except for trouble with the library, which was stored at Sykora's. In 1938 Sykora, again active, declared that the ISA had never been legally dissolved, and formed the ISA Committee for Reorganization, to which the Wollheimists opposed the Friends of the ISA; the Committee for Reorganization was one of the organizations in whose name the Newark Convention as called. At the gathering, Sykora failed to get support for his movement, but the enemy expected him to try again at the World Convention.