Page 4 of 'A Short History of Baltimore Fandom'
© Jack Chalker
The name was obvious; the choice of
'Society' rather than WSFA's 'Association' was
not merely to eliminate common letters; Mark suggested it so that if anything did come of the group
and it got some national recognition, it would never
be confused with the British Science Fiction Association.|
The first meeting was held a week later in Dave Ettlin's basement. Meetings later on tended to rotate between member's homes. Ettlin proved a recruiting fool, and by the end of 1963 had brought in a large number of people from all over the area, ranging from fellow high school and college students to the head of the University of Maryland's Pharmacology Department. These were not WSFAns but Baltimore people, many of whom were just discovering fandom, and the club grew as a separate and distinct unit, not just a group of WSFAns in Baltimore. Most notable in that group were Ron Bounds, Jerry Jacks, Pat Kelly, comics fan James 'Kim' Weston, and Ed Krieg, whose sister, Alice, didn't initially join but liked hanging around. There was also continued cross-pollination with WSFAns, although aside from Mayhew, few D.C.-area people were regulars at BSFS, while
about half of BSFS continued to make it to WSFA meetings with some regularity. This was particularly important in 1963, since WSFA was running the World Science Fiction Convention that year and many BSFS people were working on it.
Tom Haughey, Joe Mayhew, and I were in charge of local publicity and promotion for Discon I, and we appeared on radio, television, and around campuses in the area. Among the fans brought into local fandom by hearing about the con locally were Jack and Joe Haldeman, and Doll and Alexis Gilliland. The Gillilands and Joe Haldeman (who met Gay Potter at a WSFA meeting and later married her) remained solidly WSFA, while Jack Haldeman (who was known as 'Jay' locally, primarily to distinguish him from me when somebody yelled "Jack!") moved to Baltimore after completing his degree in biology where he worked at the newly created Shock Trauma Center. However, Jay remained active in both clubs, and at one time was president of both BSFS and WSFA. He remained in Baltimore, though, and later married Alice Krieg.
In late 1965, there was another important addition to Baltimore fandom, when Don Sobwick moved to Baltimore to work as an editor at the Baltimore Sun newspaper. Dave Ettlin, who had a part time job there while in college, recruited him for the club. Sobwick worked on the morning edition of the newspaper, so his hours were generally from about 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday through Saturday, which meant he couldn't make most club meetings. But instead of just saying the heck with it, Don offered his own apartment as an alternative meeting place that would open at 2:30 a.m.! For the rest of the 1960s, the club became schizophrenic, meeting at the usual places until about 1 a.m. Many people then piled into cars and headed for an International House of Pancakes or a White Coffee Pot (which, curiously enough, had good food but lousy coffee), where we had an early breakfast while waiting for Don to get home.
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