Science Fiction and Popular Culture
Drew University’s Special Collections department is comprised of a number of distinctive collections related to science fiction and popular culture.
The David Johnson Collection of Science Fiction and Popular Culture
The Peter Lee Collection of SciFi and Film
The Playboy Magazine Collection
The Science and Mechanics Collection
The Ms. Magazine Collection
The Drew University Comic Book Collection
The David Johnson Collection of Science Fiction and Popular Culture encompasses materials from the late 1920s through 2014. Stories range from reprints of proto-science fiction/fantasy stories of Jules Verne and later H. G. Wells to modern giants including Isaac Asimov, George R.R. Martin, and L. Ron Hubbard. It also contains stories and reviews of television series and films such as Star Trek and The X-Files to name but two. The collection offers the reader an opportunity to engage with stories that interpreted cultural norms and social-political values through the lens of fantasy and scientific speculation, at one time called “scientifiction”. This collection not only illustrates cultural and racial stereotypes but also offers a commentary on the politics of the 20th century found in stories, cover art, and advertisements. Whether one is interested in robots, folklore, interstellar colonization, alien interaction, historical moments altered by scientific advancement, or dystopias where babysitters gain legal custody from birth parents, the Johnson Collection provides a platform for both pleasure reading and academic research.
The Johnson Collection was generously donated by local Madison resident Dr. David S. Johnson (1945-2016). Dr. Johnson was a leading expert in computer science, specializing in algorithms and optimization. He received the Donald E. Knuth Prize for his contributions to theoretical and experimental analysis of algorithms. He had collected science fiction and popular magazines since childhood and his dedication to the preservation and enjoyment of this unique genre of literature is evident in the breadth of his collection.
The collection is an eclectic grouping of the history of cinema, Star Trek and Star Wars themed magazines, and periodicals of the monsters of the silver screen. The Peter Lee Collection of SciFi and Film was generously donated by Drew University graduate Peter Lee, PhD.
This collection consists of issues of Playboy and OUI magazines ranging from December 1955-June 2018. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1960s-1970s and includes articles and interviews related to political debates such as the Cold War, Communism, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, second-wave feminism, LGBTQ rights, and the depiction and consumption of the body. Researchers studying American Culture in the 1960s/70s, Gender & Sexuality, History of Advertising, and History of Photography will find this material of particular interest.
A collection of periodicals comprising of Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Mechanics Magazine, Popular Science Monthly, and Science and Mechanics.
Ms. Magazine is a political and literary magazine dedicated to representing female voices and feminist politics. As the most mainstream feminist magazine of the 1970s and 1980s, Ms. occupied a unique space in the popular consciousness and understanding of women’s rights, dedicating articles to progressive political issues such as abortion access, birth control, income inequality, environmental activism and protests of war. This collection consists of issues of Ms. ranging from July 1972 through Fall 2009.
Gifted by many donors, this collection is comprised of an eclectic selection of Marvel and DC Comics, as well as other smaller publishers. The bulk of the collection is focused around the late 1990s and early 2000s.
For further materials regarding the comic arts and other popular culture, please see our Harry A. Chesler Collection.