Sam Moskowitz

(June 30, 1920 — April 15, 1997)

SaM was one of the creators of fandom, a member of First Fandom, chairman of the first Worldcon, writer, critic, book and fanzine collector, and historian of the field. In mundane life, he was for many years editor of the trade publications Quick Frozen Foods and Quick Frozen Foods International. Physically, he was large man — one friend described him as "physically massive" — with a booming voice.

He found fandom as a teenager in 1936 and began published the fanzine Helios in June 1937. He also organized a branch of the Science Fiction League

In 1938, after leading the First National SF Convention in Newark he organized New Fandom, while at the same time Donald A. Wollheim and others were organizing the Futurians. The Futurians' Marxism conflicted with Moskowitz's focus on sf and fandom and at age 19, when he became chairman of the First Worldcon held in New York City in 1939, he barred several Futurians from the convention because they threatened to disrupt it, an event usually called the Exclusion Act.

He was Mystery Guest at the Clevention in 1955. The Mystery Guest was one of the GoHs, but the identity was not announced in advance of the convention. Moskowitz was not informed in advance, either, and many people feel that this was a sort of second-rate Worldcon GoHship which was surely less than his due.

He was the founder of ESFA.

Starting in 1953 Moskowitz edited Science-Fiction Plus, a prozine owned by Hugo Gernsback. In the 60s and 70s he edited two dozen anthologies, and a few single-author collections, but his most enduring work is likely to be his writing on the history of science fiction, in particular two collections of short author biographies, Explorers of the Infinite and Seekers of Tomorrow, as well as Under the Moons of Mars: A History and Anthology of “The Scientific Romance” in the Munsey Magazines.

His most popular work is undoubtedly The Immortal Storm, a historical review of internecine warfare within fandom in the 30s. It was written with so much over-the-top seriousness that, as fellow fan historian Harry Warner, Jr. said, "If read directly after a history of World War II, it does not seem like an anticlimax." In spite of that, it remains the essential records of the invention of fandom.

He was married to Dr. Christine Haycock (Chris Moskowitz).

He was GoH at DeepSouthCon 9. He won the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 1974. He co-chaired Metrocon 1. He received the Pilgrim Award in 1981 and the Raymond Z. Gallun Award in 1990. He was GoH at MystiCon II in 1982 and VCON 15 in 1987. He was an adviser to the Silvercon committee. He was toastmaster at Archon 19.

He wrote reminiscences of several Worldcons for the Noreascon Three PB:

In 2017, Hal W. Hall published a 223-page bibliography/guide to the writings of Moskowitz that also included a profile of SaM as a fan by Jon D. Swartz. A brief biography of SaM by Swartz also appears in the September, 2017 (Volume 76, Number 9) issue of The National Fantasy Fan.

Fanzines: Different, Current Fantasy.

For an early short biography, see Who's Who in Fandom 1940 p11.