Skip to main content

SDSU Alumnus Donates Science Fiction Treasure Trove

— Ray Bradbury. Jules Verne. William Burroughs and Ian Fleming. Those are the authors of some of the first-edition books donated to the San Diego State University library by alumnus Edward Marsh.

These first-edition books by Rad Bradbury are among the hundreds of signed volumes that are part of the "Golden Age of Science Fiction" collection, donated to the San Diego State library.

A collection of science fiction books, letters and manuscripts, valued at more than $2 million, is now in the hands of the San Diego State University library.

The "Golden Age of Science Fiction" collection is not just books. It includes letters, manuscripts and old pulp fiction magazines in which the books were first serialized.

Robert Ray oversees the library's special collections. He said the materials donated by Marsh also include ephemera related to the great science fiction novels, including the film adaption of H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."

"You're talking about lobby cards from the theater where the film first debuted," he said.

He said the collection includes hundreds of books and thousands of related items. Gale Etschmaier, dean of the library, said the book collection is very remarkable.

"It's just filled with pristine first editions that are signed," she said. "Famous works of science fiction as well as some of the great thinkers of the time."

Marsh, who lives in Escondido, made his fortune in real estate. He got into science fiction working for the Church of Scientology, whose founder, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote pulp fiction in the 1930s and 1940s. SDSU hopes, one day, to become custodian of Marsh's entire book collection, valued at over $10 million.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.