The University of South Carolina Libraries’ Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections is proud to announce The Anne Farr Hardin Collection of Ray Bradbury Books, Fanzines, Pulps, Magazines, Correspondence, Photographs, Memorabilia, and Ephemera. Bradbury’s stories first gripped Mrs. Hardin after she had bought a copy of The Illustrated Man at her school’s book fair. Years later, she reached out to Bradbury to secure permission to reprint his poem “Satchmo Saved” in the International Trumpet Guild’s journal. Bradbury granted permission, on condition that she send him six copies, and the two started a correspondence that led to their becoming close friends.
Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American author who wrote in a variety of genres and worked across several media. Best known for his fantasy, science fiction, horror, and mystery stories, Bradbury is considered the writer who is most responsible for making genre fiction a central part of American culture. His career started in the 1930s with letters and stories appearing in fanzines and pulps. Soon, Bradbury would extend his readership to the glossy magazines, which at the time were the intellectual propagators of mainstream, middle-class culture. At an early age, Bradbury was enamored with cinema and the movies, and he would go on to produce original work for film, radio, television, and stage as well as adapt literary classics like Moby-Dick for the movies. An early and exuberant public advocate for space exploration, he began to write critical essays in support of the American space program at a time when many were uncertain of its validity. Though fascinated and inspired by technological advancement, Bradbury was also wary of technology’s power to divide and isolate people from each other and alienate people from themselves. His most widely read work, Fahrenheit 451, takes up these themes on the limits and dangers of communication technology and combines them with the dangers of authoritarianism, anti-intellectualism, and censorship to create a cautionary tale that is both a foundational novel of dystopian literature and a perpetually astute critique of the fragility of liberal culture and open societies.
The Anne Farr Hardin Collection of Ray Bradbury Books, Fanzines, Pulps, Magazines, Correspondence, Photographs, Memorabilia, and Ephemera is comprised of hundreds of editions of Bradbury’s work. It includes not only first editions of Bradbury’s books, many of which are inscribed by the author, but also his first appearances in scarce and hard-to-find fanzines, pulps, and magazines, making it one of the most comprehensive collections of Bradbury’s life as an author. In addition to published works, the collection also includes correspondence, ephemera, and memorabilia from and related to Bradbury and his career. Finally, given that many of these items were gifts from Bradbury to Hardin, the collection is a document of and monument to Anne and Ray’s friendship.