Anne McCaffrey Collection

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Reference code

US TxAM-C C000197

Level of description



Anne McCaffrey Collection


  • 1969 (Creation)


1 folder

Name of creator


Biographical history

Anne McCaffrey was one of the most popular and revered science fiction writers of the 20th century. Born on April 1, 1926, in Cambridge, MA, she graduated in 1947 from Radcliffe College with a B.A. in Slavonic languages and literature. Before becoming an author, she worked as a copywriter, studied theater and voice, and even directed several operas and operettas.

McCaffrey embarked on her long literary career, which grew to encompass hundreds of novels (many co-written) and short stories with the publication of her story "Freedom of The Race" in the October 1953 issue of Science-Fiction Plus. Her first major literary achievement was the 1961 story "The Ship Who Sang", published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and which was the first work in her heralded "Brain & Brawn Ship" series of novels, novellas, and stories. The series takes place in McCaffrey's Federated Sentient Planets Universe and concerns a society in which physically (but not mentally) disabled people can be encapsulated in shells and their brains made to operate spaceships, computers, and even entire cities. (The main character of The Ship Who Sang, her collection of the first stories in the series, is Helva, whose brain is connected to a starship. Helva can be considered one of the earliest cyborgs in science fiction literature.) McCaffrey wrote the series between 1961 and 1994. The longest story in the series, "Dramatic Mission" was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 1970.

McCaffrey is most famous, however, for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Pern, a distant planet settled long ago by humans from Earth, is inhabited by flying creatures termed 'dragons' by the inhabitants. Humans learn to communicate telepathically with the dragons and ride them, protecting the surface of Pern from the Thread, a species of destructive spore that periodically falls to Pern from a neighboring planet. The first book in the series, Dragonflight, was published in 1968: the first story in the book, "Weyr Search" had been published the year before and had won the 1968 Hugo Award for Best Novella. (It was the first win by a woman of a Hugo.) The second story, "Dragonrider", won the 1969 Nebula for Best Novella, marking the first win by a woman for a Nebula as well.

The Pern series eventually grew to include over 20 novels and several additional short stories (from 2003, the books were co-written by McCaffrey's son Todd). The original trilogy also includes Dragonquest (1971) and The White Dragon (1978). Some of the later books include the Harper Hall trilogy (1976-1979), Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (1983), Dragonsdawn (1988), and The Dolphins of Pern (1994). The series has enjoyed an intense following since its inception.

Other series by McCaffrey include the Crystal Universe trilogy (1982-1992), the Talents Universe series (1959-2000), the Doona series (1969-1994), and the Acorna Universe series (1997-2007). McCaffrey has won a great many awards during the length of her career. Besides the ones mentioned above, these include the 1976 Skylark Award, the 1979 Ditmar Award for Best International Long Fiction and the 1979 Gandalf Award for Book-Length Fantasy for The White Dragon, the 1980 Balrog Award for Best Novel for Dragondrums, the 1986 SFBC Book of The Year Award for Killashandra, the 1989 SFBC Book of the Year Award for Dragonsdawn, the 1990 SFBC Book of the Year Award for The Renegades of Pern, the 1991 HOMer Award for Best SF Novel and the 1992 SFBC Book of the Year Award for All The Weyrs of Pern, the 1993 SFBC Book of the Year Award for Damia's Children, the 1994 SFBC Book of the Year Award for The Dolphins of Pern, the 2000 BFA Karl Edward Wagner Award, and the 2007 Robert A. Heinlein Award. In 2005 she was made a Grand Master by the SFWA (only the third woman to be so honored, after Andre Norton and Ursula K. Le Guin).

McCaffrey married H. Wright Johnson in 1950, with whom she had three children (Alec, Todd, and Georgeanne). The two were divorced in 1970. She moved from the United States to Ireland in 1970 and resided there until her death on November 21, 2011.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

This collection consists of the original manuscript for McCaffrey's novella The Partnered Ship (1969), which was included as the concluding chapter in her famed 1969 novel The Ship Who Sang. The manuscript (typed 70 leaves) is signed by McCaffrey and has multiple handwritten edits.

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Located in Small Collections Files

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Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

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  • English

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Located in Small Collections Files

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Cushing Library & Archives, Texas A&M University Libraries. All rights reserved.

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