University of Oregon

No Intent to Deceive

Creating a Science Fiction Writer's Identity as James Tiptree, Jr

No Intent to Deceive exhibit poster
No Intent to Deceive

Knight Library, first floor
November 2015-March 2016

Who was James Tiptree, Jr.? For nearly a decade, this mystery intrigued the science fiction world. When the answer finally arrived, it would open up fascinating new vistas of critical insight; ideas that are still being discussed to this day.

Tiptree shot to fame in the late 1960s with a writing voice unlike any other. Winner of three Nebula Awards and two Hugo Awards between 1973 and 1977, he inspired impassioned debates among readers and critics, and struck up epistolary friendships with fellow writers Ursula K. Le Guin, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, and Joanna Russ. Tiptree’s frank, humorous, intimate letters dropped hints about a Chicago childhood, travels in colonial Africa, World War II service “in a Pentagon sub-basement,” and employment with the CIA. But none of his literary friends had ever seen Tiptree or spoken with the author in person.

Then in 1976 a few people received letters from Tiptree that told of his mother’s death. After checking the Chicago obituaries, his friends discovered that Tiptree could only be Alice Bradley Sheldon, surviving daughter.

Celebrating Jeff Smith's gift of the James Tiptree, Jr. literary papers to the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is exhibiting a revealing selection of the author's correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, and memorabilia in Knight Library. Interpretive text by Jeneé Wilde of the Department of English. This exhibit accompanies the James Tiptree, Jr. Symposium.

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