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Guide to the Theodore Sturgeon Collection.

Personal Papers of Theodore Sturgeon, 1930-1987


Creator:Sturgeon, Theodore
Title:Personal Papers of Theodore Sturgeon
Quantity:31 linear ft (52 boxes, 3 oversize)
Abstract:American Science Fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985) was considered an innovator of the genre and one of the first real stylists. Sturgeon began publishing short stories in the 1930s. In his lifetime he authored six novels and numerous short stories. In the 1960s he worked as a screen writer for television shows such as The Invaders, The Land of the Lost, The Wild, Wild West, and Star Trek. Sturgeon won Hugo and nebula awards in 1970 for his short story "Slow Sculpture." This collection reflects his career as a writer and contains manuscripts of both short stories and novels. It also includes correspondence between Sturgeon and other authors.

Call Number:

MS 254

Call Number:

MS Q40

Repository:University of Kansas
Kenneth Spencer Research Library
Department of Special Collections
1450 Poplar Lane, Lawrence, KS 66045-7616
Phone: (785)864-4334
Fax: (785)864-5803
URL: http://spencer.lib.ku.edu
Finding aid prepared by skt, 2008; revised by eear, 2013
Finding aid encoded by skt, 2008

BIOGRAPHY of Theodore Sturgeon

Theodore Sturgeon was born Edward Hamilton Waldo on February 26, 1918 in Staten Island, New York. After his parents' divorced, his mother married Scot William Dicky ("Argylle") Sturgeon, and at the age of eleven, Edward took his step-father's last name and changed his first name to Theodore to better match his childhood nickname of "Teddy."

Sturgeon sold his first story in 1938 to newspaper McClure's Syndicate. He sold his first Science Fiction story, "Ether Breather," to Astounding Science Fiction a year later. Sturgeon primarily published short stories in genre magazines, but did publish some general-interest stories as well. He published The Dreaming Jewels, his first novel, in 1950. Sturgeon continued to publish short stories, book reviews, and novels, establishing his work as an innovative in the Science Fiction genre. He was known to use a technique known as "rhythmic prose," in which his prose text would drop into a standard poetic meter. This has the effect of creating a subtle shift in mood, usually without alerting the reader to its cause.

Sturgeon is credited with six novels, four novelisations, two pseudonymous novels, and numerous short stories and reviews. During the 1960s, Sturgeon worked as a screen writer for television shows such as The Invaders, The Land of the Lost, and The Wild, Wild West, and the original Star Trek series. Two of Sturgeon's stories were adapted for The New Twilight Zone. His 1944 novella, "KillDozer," was the inspiration for the 1970s made-for-TV movie, Marvel comic book, and alternative rock band of the same name.

Sturgeon won Hugo and nebula awards in 1970 for his short story "Slow Sculpture."

Sturgeon died of pneumonia May 8, 1985 in Eugene, Oregon.


The Papers of Theodore Sturgeon date from 1930 to 1987. It consists largely of manuscripts, both written by Sturgeon and sent to Sturgeon by other writers. Some manuscripts were written by students in a class that Sturgeon taught, while others are written by well-known Science Fiction authors.

A large portion of the collection consists of uncorrected proofs sent to Sturgeon for early review, and magazines with Sturgeon's published reviews.

The collection also includes Sturgeon's correspondence with science fiction writers, friends, and publishers.


Restrictions on Access


Restrictions on Use

These materials are stored in the KU Annex off-site storage area.

All researchers interested in reviewing this material must consult Spencer Research Library staff (785-864-4334, 9-5 M-F CST) no less than three days in advance of a planned visit. Be advised that drop-in requests for this material can not be accommodated.

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.



Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992.
Attanasio, A.A.
BenShea, Noah.
Benford, Gregory, 1941-
Berdeshevsky, Margo.
Butler, Octavia E.
Cannon, Martin.
Cherryh, C.J.
Crichton, Michael, 1942-2008.
Goldin, Stephen.
Gunn, James E., 1923-
Kolupaev, Viktor Dmitrievich, 1936-
Koontz, Dean R. (Dean Ray), 1945-
Pournelle, Jerry, 1933-
Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996.
Strugatskii, Arkadii Natanovich.
Strugatskii, Boris Natanovich.
Sturgeon, Theodore.
Tannehill, Jayne.
Theis, Jim.
Yarbro, Chelsea Quinn, 1942-


Tannehill, Jayne.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Theodore Sturgeon Collection, Department of Special Collections, MS 254, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries