Special Collections Spotlight: Science Fiction Pulp Magazines

The Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines contains a variety of science fiction pulp magazines. Pulp magazines were inexpensive popular fiction works published from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s, characteristically printed on cheaply made wood pulp paper. Pulp magazines initially contained a variety of different genres of fiction, including mystery and adventure genres, but in the 1920s magazines devoted to science fiction began to appear more frequently. Science fiction pulp magazines typically featured colorful cover art, along with short stories that embraced futuristic and fantasy themes, highlighting technology, space travel, otherworldly creatures, scientific innovation, and unexplored environments.

Some of the pulps such as Air Wonder Stories attempted to provide educational value to their stories by basing them on accurate scientific principles. Other titles, such as Astounding Stories of Super-Science, focused on providing the best price value with high page counts and low prices. The addition of letter columns in pulp magazines helped the fandom surrounding the genre grow as fans began to reach out to the addresses published alongside the letters. As science fiction progressed into the 1930s and 1940s, stories began to place a greater emphasis on plot and characterization. This collection’s titles include multi-genre pulps like The Strand and pulps devoted solely to science fiction such as Stirring Science Stories. Early titles featured stories written by H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Pushkin, and Jules Verne.

The collection contains 365 volumes of Sci-Fi pulps from 12 different title families. The pulps were published between 1891 and 1990, with the majority published between 1930 and 1961.

Explore the Howard and Jane Frank Collection of Science Fiction Pulp Magazines finding aid.

To view any Science Fiction Pulp Magazines in the collection visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library or if you have any questions, please contact us!


What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.