If the first World Science Fiction Convention had taken place this year, it would have run from today – July 4th, thru Sunday, July 6.
The vagaries of calendars being what they are, today marks not only the (incorrect) birthday for the United States but also the 75th anniversary of the final day of the convention.
Thirteen years prior, Gernsback launched Amazing Stories; over those intervening years fans from across the nation and from around the world began seeking each other out, forming clubs, launching fanzines, formulating political tracts and seeking world domination.
In the end, one small ghroup of fans would kick another small ghroup of fans out the door of that first convention, thus beginning two of fandom’s longest running traditions: the annual international convention and the fan feud.
The ghroup denied (the Futurians of NY) didn’t do too badly for themselves in the long run; most of them going on to long, successful and influential careers establishing the nascent publishing genre. Those who did the kicking didn’t end up that badly off either, also going on to long, successful and influential careers in the genre.
I’d like to personally thank them for having the wherewithal, gumption, fortitude, interest and belief that what they were doing needed doing and was right thing to do.
Frank R. Paul, the guest of honor, Samuel A. Moskowitz, the chair, David Kyle, Robert Madle, John W. Campbell Jr., Ray Cummings, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Ross Rocklyne, Edmund Hamilton, Manly Wade Wellman, Mort Weisinger, Otto Binder, Charles Hornig, Otis Adelbert Kline, Nelson S. Bond, Ruroy Sibley, Leo Margulies, Julius Schwartz, Forrest J Ackerman, MoRoJo (Myrtle Douglas), Jack Darrow, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, Jack Agnew, Ray Bradbury, Robert A. Madle, Oswald Train, John V. Baltadonis, Robert D. Swisher, Will Sykora, Harry Harrison, Milton A. Rothman, Conrad H. Rupert, James V. Taurasi, Bill Dellenbeck, Dale Hart, Richard Wilson, Leslie Perri, Jack Robinson and, almost attending – Donald A. Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, Robert W. Lowndes, Cyril Kornbluth, John B. Michel, and Jack Gillespie.
Their act, however flawed and conflicted, has led directly to today, however flawed and conflicted it may be. We’re all better off for it.
You can read more about the history of the first Worldcon at these resources:
David Kyle’s The Great Exclusion Act Of 1939
And here is an image of the first program book and the Welcome page –