Valuable Sci-Fi collection donated to university

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sdsuStudents3SAN DIEGO — A science fiction collection valued at $2.25 million was donated to the San Diego State University library, the school announced Monday.

Edward Marsh of Escondido, who began seriously collecting books about nine years ago, handed over works by Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Other writers in the collection include Ernest Hemingway, Albert Einstein, George Orwell, Will Durant, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, William Burroughs and some U.S. presidents.

Most of the books are signed first editions and include press clippings, notes and autographs.

It will take several months to catalogue the collection before it can be put on display in the new Edward Marsh Golden Age of Science Fiction Room at the main library, according to SDSU.

“This is an incredibly significant collection, not just to science fiction fans, but to students and researchers in the fields of science, technology, politics, religion, philosophy, journalism, even theatre and film,” said Gale Etschmaier, the dean of the library. “This is just a phenomenal gift for researchers.”

Marsh, who attended SDSU for two semesters in 1969, worked for the Church of Scientology and became fascinated with the work of church founder L. Ron Hubbard, who wrote pulp fiction in the 1930s and 40s. He later went into the mortgage and real estate businesses.

“I hope that there are more science fiction writers that come of it,” Marsh said. “We need brilliant minds to be stimulated by the old brilliant minds and to come up with new ideas because science fiction points to the future — it heralds the future of what can be.”

He has previously donated books to UC Riverside.

According to U-T San Diego, an independent appraiser valued Marsh’s collection at $10 million to $12 million.

4 comments

  • Mike aTENCIO

    That is a really cool gift. SDSU will take great care of it. Talk about unselfish people. We need more like him in the world.

  • Matthew G Roberts

    Edward, This is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much Edward Marsh! This is one of the most benevolent donations for Sci-fi/other genera i have heard of! This is so cool! I cant wait to get to that library and look at/read from some of those 1st editions/letters/materia. omgsh, im ecstatic right now. You are the best! A thousand times thank you! love, -Matthew

  • David Miscarriage

    This is Scientology PR. The UT article mentioned in this article emphasizes the amount of Hubbard trash included, even quoting Mr Marsh: “It is not all about Hubbard, but it all links into him". During the next Comic-Con the Scientology booth ( Galaxy Press) will be taunting this as "proof" that Hubbard was a literary giant.

    Sorry OSA, too little, too late.

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