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Roland E. Bounds science fiction paperback book collection

Identifier: MSS 0553

Scope and Contents

The Roland E. Bounds Paperback Science Fiction Book Collection consists of nearly seven thousand science fiction paperbacks published between 1890 and 2002 assembled by the Delaware collector Roland Bounds. Also included within this collection are numerous fantasy and a few horror and classic novels that do not fit the science fiction genre.

Edition highlights of the collection include Ace Doubles, Armed Services Inc., early editions of Pocket Books, and Avon Books. Also of interest are large runs of early character series such as The Avenger, Conan, Doc Savage, Perry Rhodan, and later series such as Death Lands and Outlanders.

Nearly all of the paperbacks in the collection feature striking cover art or text illustrations created by some of the most famous illustrators in science fiction. Vincent Di Fate, Frank Frazetta, Frank Freas, Michael Whelan, and many other celebrated or less well known illustrators are represented in the collection. Like the authors themselves, these illustrators are important to the genre; they give a visual outline to the strange, wonder-provoking worlds of science fiction and are significant contributors to the "popular culture" of the genre. Many collectors seek these pulp paperbacks for the cover art and illustration only.


  • Creation: 1890-2002


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use andReproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Roland E. Bounds (1953 - 2002) attended Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware, and obtained a B.S. in geology from the University of Delaware in 1975. He pursued graduate studies in mineralogy and applied geology at the University of Delaware and Oklahoma State University. By vocation and avocation, he was a collector.

He began collecting rocks at age six, and as an adult became a noted mineral collector and dealer with business partner Eric Meier in Broken Back Minerals. Bounds was a senior research technician with the Delaware Geological Survey, located in Newark, Delaware. He regularly submitted articles to First State Geology and was a longtime editor of Geogram, the newsletter of the Delaware Mineralogical Association. Bounds was also active in the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Friends of Mineralogy. Bounds was equally known as a collector of science fiction, an interest he developed at age thirteen when he "discovered the large amount of material being published but not available in either the local county or school libraries." Bounds concentrated on collecting vintage (pre-1965) paperbacks and pulp magazines (pre-1953). Thematically, he developed an interest in "the way technological advances have been predicted and the ways that authors of various times have viewed society and its problems." He also collected with an interest in book and magazine cover art and illustration of science fiction and fantasy. When he was a graduate student at the University of Delaware, he twice won (in 1983 and 1984) first prize in the student book collecting contest sponsored by the University of Delaware Library Associates. His science fiction collection was included in a 1991 exhibition at the University of Delaware Library, Delaware Collects, and the 2006 Special Collections exhibition From Verne to Vonnegut.

Delaware Collects: checklist of an exhibition in the Hugh M. Morris Library, compiled by Max Yela. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Library, 1991. Ace Doubles (and Singles Library). Retrieved December 21, 2006 from The Tor Books FAQ. Retrieved December 21, 2006 from


117 linear foot (circa 7,000 volumes)


The Roland E. Bounds paperback science fiction book collection consists of nearly seven thousand science fiction paperbacks published between 1890 and 2002 assembled by the Delaware collector Roland Bounds (1953-2002).


The Roland E. Bounds paperback science fiction book collection is arranged alphabetically by publisher or publishing imprint, as this represents the way Bounds built his collection. An "imprint" is the public name for a particular group of books created by a publisher; a publisher may have dozens of imprints. One such imprint is "Tor." Tor's parent company, Tom Doherty Associates, is actually the publisher of Tor books.

This finding aid includes a box summary list, reflecting the arrangement of the collection by publisher or publishing imprint. The major publishing runs that Bounds collected are housed first, i.e. Ace Doubles spans Boxes 1 through 5. Publishers represented by fewer titles are housed in the later boxes, i.e. Box 106 includes one or just a few titles each from publishers Harper, Hyperion, Island, Ivy, and Jove.

The finding aid further includes a bibliographic listing generated from an Endnote database report. The bibliography is presented in alphabetical order by author (and then title), or, in the case of anthologies, by title. Other data included in the bibliographic report includes the following fields: place of publication, publisher or imprint, date, and series number. The report also includes locational box number and "item number"; these two pieces of information should be used to request items from the collection. The Endnote database also includes series titles (if they exist) and may be consulted for other research queries. Please contact the manuscripts librarian for assistance.

Serial numbers for paperbacks were more important for publishers preceding the use of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), which started to gain wide use internationally in 1970. Prior to the ISBN, the SBN (Standard Book Number) was used mainly in the United Kingdom, from 1966 - 1974. Publishers sometimes used the last few digits of the ISBN or the SBN as the serial number for a run of books. Some collectors make an effort to accumulate a complete run of serial numbers by a publisher and use these numbers as a system for arranging their collection. The books in this finding aid contain a serial number, a portion of a BSN or ISBN, or if the book lacked a numbering system all together the "Serial number" data field was left blank.

Several of the publication dates in the bibliographic report are actually the printing dates or an estimation of a printing date for a particular edition. This was done to add value to the collection from a research stand point. Finding a publication date for a particular work is quite easy while finding out when an edition of a work was printed is not always as easy. Collectors of science fiction sometimes use the printing date as well as the publisher and serial number to arrange their collections. If a printing date was not clearly marked on volumes in this collection, an effort was made to estimate the decade of the printing.


Purchase, 2003

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0494, Roland E. Bounds collection: papers and ephemera

MSS 0504, Roland E. Bounds science fiction periodicals collection

MSS 0559, W. Merritt Burke III pulp paperback book collection

Shelving Summary

  1. Boxes 1-118: Shelved in ANNEX MSS record center cartons

OCLC Number


Processed by Rob Sherwood and Beth Thomas, 2004-2005. Completed by James K. Fisher, 2006. Encoded by Thomas Pulhamus, March 2010.

Finding aid for the Roland E. Bounds science fiction paperback book collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 March 24
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA