DescriptionShasta Publishers. Vast Archive of Publishing Correspondence. [Chicago: circa 1953-1954]. A fascinating collection of letters, documents, telegrams, invoices, and more from the legendary science fiction publishers based in Chicago, Illinois. Shasta Publishers was a strong player in the early days of science fiction specialty press publishing. The firm was founded in 1947 by Melvin Korshak, along with friends and fellow bibliophiles Ted Dikty and Mark Reinsberg. Some of the most legendary and desirable high points in science fiction publishing were released by Shasta in the late 1940s and 1950s. Shasta published John Campbell's Who Goes There?, L. Ron Hubbard's Slaves of Sleep, Heinlein's The Man Who Sold the Moon, The Green Hills of Earth, and Revolt in 2100, Raymond F. Jones This Island Earth, Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, and many more classics of the genre.
The archive presented here is a unique assortment of correspondence both to and from the major figures inside Shasta Publishers in the years 1953 and 1954. At this time, Shasta was in their twilight years, as were most genre specialty publishing houses, due to the imminent threat to the hardcover world by the growing popularity of paperback books. Still, a good percentage of Shasta's publications are discussed in this archive, namely This Island Earth, Slaves of Sleep, Murder in Millenium VI, The Man Who Sold the Moon, The Demolished Man, Revolt in 2100, The Green Hills of Earth, and Space Tug. The correspondence is overall in fine or better condition, with most letters displaying some measure of toning, and the usual mailing folds.
The correspondence consists of the following, written almost exclusively on the pertinent author's stationery. In addition, most letters have been notated by the recipient as "Answered", or stamped as received, or both. Often, the recipient has even signed his or her name:
Melvin Korshak (Founding Publisher of Shasta): Five Typed Letters Signed and one Document Signed.
Vivian Ferentz (secretary to Melvin Korshak). Three Typed Letters Signed.
T. E. Dikty (Vice President of Shasta and one of its founders): 37 Typed Letters Signed.
Oswald Train (Prime Press): One Autograph Letter Signed (with invoice on Prime Press stationery). Also two documents in Oswald Train's bankruptcy case.
A. E. van Vogt (prolific science fiction author who published several books with Shasta): Two Typed Letters Signed, one signed "AE Van Vogt", the other signed simply "Van."
Walter M. Miller, Jr. (author of A Canticle for Leibowitz): Six Typed Letters Signed. Also with one Change of Address Card.
Joseph Newman (Orsatti Literary Agency, representatives of Raymond F. Jones): One Typed Letter Signed
Neysa Hubbard (Shasta Editorial Department): Two Typed Letters Signed
Alex Black (Universal International Films, Inc.): One Typed Letter Signed
Truman Talley (New American Library): Six Typed Letters Signed
Joyce Paris (MCA Management, Ltd.): One Typed Letter Signed
Phyllis Jackson (MCA Management, Ltd.): Three Typed Letters Signed
Malcolm Stuart (MCA Management, Ltd.): One Typed Letter Signed
Vincent Connelly (MCA Management, Ltd.): One Typed Letter Signed
Walter Wriggins (New American Library): One Typed Letter Signed
Neenah Burgess (New American Library): One Typed Letter Signed
Frank Tornabene (New American Library Promotions Dept.): Two Typed Letters Signed
Eleanor Gordon (Turck & Reinfeld Design Production & Color Printing): Two Typed Letters Signed
George Reinfeld, Jr. (Turck & Reinfeld Design Production& Color Printing): Two Typed Letters Signed
Frank Smith (Astounding Science Fiction): One Typed Letter Signed
Sidney Solomon (Book Designer): Two Autograph Letters Signed.
Typed Letter Signed from Heinlein's agent regarding Revolt in 2100.
Typed Letter Signed to Oscar Stern signed "Erle."
Seven telegrams to and from Shasta.
Two requests from The New American Library for complimentary copies of Shasta publications, specifically The Demolished Man.
"...Shasta was intended from almost the start to be a real commercial enterprise to fill the vacuum in SF book publishing after the war. Also like Gnome, they overextended themselves in just a few years and also ran headlong into the growth of the paperback and book club industry and were more or less polished off by the bust in SF in 1954. For a short period, however, they were a meteor in the field and a magnet for books. Their materials were extremely high in comparison to the mass market volumes of the time, and hold up very well today-far better than Gnome's, although Shasta, after talking with Kyle and Greenberg, switched to using the same company, H. Wolff & Co. in New York, for production. For a time, they seemed destined to dominate the field, taking their pick of the best material with Gnome doing the rest, and after Korshak engineered a deal with Pocket Books for cooperative money and publishing it seemed like nothing could stop them. (Chalker 564).
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