1st World Science Fiction Convention

The First World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) was held in the Caravan Hall in New York[2] from July 2 to July 4, 1939, in conjunction with the New York World's Fair, which was themed as "The World of Tomorrow". The convention was later named "Nycon I"[3] by Forrest J Ackerman.[4] The event had 200 participants.[1][5]

Nycon I, the 1st World Science Fiction Convention
GenreScience fiction
Dates2–4 July 1939
VenueCaravan Hall
Location(s)New York City
CountryUnited States


The Guest of Honor at the first Worldcon was Frank R. Paul and the event was chaired by Sam Moskowitz.[6] Along with Moskowitz, other organizers were James V. Taurasi, Sr. and Will Sykora. Notable people attending included John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Ray Bradbury, Hannes Bok, Milton A. Rothman, John D. Clark, Jack Williamson, and Harry Harrison.

In addition to its groundbreaking role as the first of its kind, the convention was noteworthy for the exclusion of a number of politicized Futurians by convention chair Sam Moskowitz; those excluded were Donald A. Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, John Michel, Robert A. W. Lowndes, and Jack Gillespie, an event known to fannish historians as "The Great Exclusion Act."[7]

According to Pohl, in his autobiography The Way the Future Was, the Futurians held their own counter-convention which was attended by several who went to the regular convention. He also downplayed the aspect that politics played, himself believing that it was a personality conflict between the convention organizers and the Futurians and said "We pretty nearly had it coming," continuing with "What we Futurians made very clear to the rest of New York fandom was that we thought we were better than they were. For some reason that annoyed them."[8]

Ackerman and his girlfriend and fellow fanzine editor Myrtle R. Douglas ("Morojo") attended the convention in costumes designed and sewn by Douglas: this is considered a forerunner to modern fan costuming (which is known as "cosplay").[4][9]

See also


  1. "The Press: Amazing! Astounding!". Time. July 10, 1939. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  2. Fancyclopedia 3: Caravan Hall
  3. "1939 - Nycon I". Notes on the Long List of Worldcons. World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  4. Kyle, David (December 2002). "Caravan to the Stars". Mimosa (29). Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  5. "The Long List of World Science Fiction Conventions". World Science Fiction Society. Retrieved March 7, 2011.
  6. Henniker-Heaton, Peter J. (July 6, 1963). "From the Bookshelf". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 8, 2011. Sam Moskowitz has written science fiction, taught it, been an editor and literary agent in the field, and in 1939 organized the first of the still continuing World Science Fiction Conventions.
  7. Kyle, David (December 1997). "SaM - Fan Forever (Moskowitz, the Futurians, and the Great Exclusion Act of 1939)". Mimosa (21). Archived from the original on 1 April 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2008.
  8. Frederik Pohl, The Way The Future Was, Ballantine/Del Rey Books, 1978, p.94
  9. Raymond, Adam K. (July 24, 2014). "75 Years Of Capes and Face Paint: A History of Cosplay". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 2, 2014.