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Gordon Rupert Dickson papers

Identifier: Mss039

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes writings and personal papers. Materials include manuscripts of published and unpublished short stories, novels, novelettes, anthology material and non-fiction articles, book reviews, and clippings, together with notes, outlines, drafts and proofs. Dickson's personal papers contain both professional and personal correspondence, business files, notes, files on the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), journals and fan mail. The collection also includes copies of his books, magazines and pulps in which his writings were published.


  • 1934-2001


Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Restrictions on Access

All papers except correspodence will be open for research examination by qualified scholars. No papers may be quoted from or published in any way without the prior written permission of Dickson. No papers may be photocopied or otherwise reproduced without prior written permission from Dickson.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright has been retained by the estate of Mr. Dickson.

Biographical Note

Gordon Dickson was born in Edmonton, Canada on November 1, 1923. He moved permanently to the United States in 1937. Dickson attended the University of Minnesota between 1939 and 1943, then interrupted his studies to serve in the army between 1943 and 1946. He returned to the University in 1947 and stayed there until 1950. Dickson received his B.A. degree in June 1948 and did some graduate work thereafter, though he did not go on to get a graduate degree. Since 1950 Dickson has been a full-time writer with no other occupation.

At the time of his death, Dickson had published over 250 short stories, novels, and collections of his novels and short stories. He had also written a number of factual articles as well. Numerous of his works are currently available in reprint editions and various collections and anthologies. Over two million copies of his books have been sold.

Dickson's major work was a series of 12 inter-connected novels, known collectively as The Childe Cycle, upon which he began work in 1956. The cycle was outlined to include three historical novels, three contemporary novels, and six futuristic novels. By 1977 four of the futuristic novels had been published: Dorsai!(1957), Necromancer(1960), Soldier, Ask Not(1967), and Tactics of Mistake(1971). Other books in the cycle include The Final Encyclopedia(1984), The Chantry Guild (1988), Young Bleys(1991), Other(1994), and Antagonistwith David W. Dixon (2007). When completed, the twelve books were to form a single "novel of thematic argument," a literary form invented by Dickson and to be exemplified by the Childe Cycle. Some sources include Lost Dorsai, The Spirit of Dorsai, and The Dorsai Companionas part of the Childe Cycle, while other sources note these take place in the same setting but are not actually part of the Cycle.

Dickson has won several awards for his work. In 1965 he won the World Science Fiction Award (Hugo) for a novella version of Soldier, As Not, and in 1981 for the novella Lost Dorsai. He received the Science Fiction Writers of America Nebula Award in 1966 for Call Him Lord, the E. E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction in 1975, and the August Derleth Award from the British Fantasy Association for The Dragon and the George.

Gordon Dickson died in February 2001.

For further information, please consult the bibliography of Dickson's work by Raymond H. Thompson (Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, 1983).


177 boxes (114.5 cubic feet)


The collection includes writings and personal papers of noted science fiction author Gordon Dickson. Materials include correspondence, manuscripts of published and unpublished short stories, novels, novelettes, anthology material and non-fiction articles, book reviews, books, journals, and clippings, together with notes, outlines, drafts and proofs.


The collection is organized into the following series:

  1. Writings and Publications
  2. Personal Papers
  3. Audio Visual
  4. Books and Magazines


Mr. Dickson donated his papers to the Manuscripts Division in 1972 and 1978; an additional 70 cubic feet of material was donated in 2002 after Mr. Dickson's death.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and the finding aid written by Alan K. Lathrop and Andrew Malec; material received in 2002 was processed by Emily Weber and Laura Howard.

Gordon Rupert Dickson Papers
Alan K. Lathrop and Andrew Malec
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Literary Archives Collecting Area