W. Raymond Drake (1913-1989) was not only a well known writer on the “ancient astronauts” theme, but also a student of all kinds of fortean subjects. After his death the Drake collection of books, manuscripts and clippings ended up with the Charles Fort Institute (CFI) collection in the basement of the London house of Fortean Times founder Bob Rickard.
The CFI board decided, in early 2012, to transfer most of their files, including the huge FT clipping collection, to AFU in order to save many items from destruction in a damp and moldy environment.
In May 2012, the Drake collection (mostly books) was loaded into boxes, in the CFI London basement, by AFU co-workers Carl-Anton Mattson and Anders Persson. A good part of the CFI collection, a total of 313 boxes, and including the Drake archive, was taken by truck across the North Sea (shipping paid for by AFU).
On June 11, 2012 the boxes arrived and unpacking started. The material has since been sorted by media type to eventually become a part of our collections.
The book collection has now (Oct-Nov 2012) been catalogued to the AFU library with the donor signature “W.R. Drake” in each book. The collection resulted in some 250 new database records indicating that a particular book/edition was previously not in the AFU library base. Newcomers include many historical textbooks used by Drake for writing his nine works on the “ancient spacemen” theme; translations of Drake’s books into many languages; as well as ufo & fortean books received from all over the world from friendly authors.
Of note here is, for instance, one copy each of three ufo-related books published by Romanian writer Florin Gheorghita, a never-before seen copy of Robin Collyns’s “Pre-historic germ warfare” and two copies of US contactee Allen Michael‘s “The everlasting gospel” .
Drake was an interested linguist. Some basic dictionaries of good quality will be saved with AFU for future reference. A few meters of book titles previously in our libraries will be sold through our second-hand bookstore. This does not include about one meter of older books with Drake’s handwriting and signature which will be saved in a special “W. Raymond Drake book collection”, appended to the AFU library, and also about one meter of science fiction books (quite many titles by Edgar Rice Burroughs) that will be kept uncatalogued for a future decision about possibly adding science fiction (in general) to our collection. A very small number of books have been dumped due to heavy moulding. All of the Drake material is now kept under dry conditions.
The Drake manuscript collection is in a temporary file for later ordering and permanent preservation. It includes bulky machine-written texts for about ten unpublished fiction works from Drake’s hand. Some of Drake’s material is still in London, awaiting transfer to Sweden.
As a sideline, we might mention that AFU files previously include some Drake manuscripts (for hist more well known titles in the “ancient astronauts genre”) since his books were offered for Swedish publication by the Parthenon publishing company, managed by Edith Nicolaisen, whose archives we have since 1986. None of Drake’s books were published in Swedish, though, but editions/translations of Raymond’s books appeared in the United States, Italy, India, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Spain and Germany.
Clipping files include clippings found within the books (as markers) and separately from the books. This part of the collection is not so large that it requires separate treatment. It will eventually be integrated with other subject-oriented clipping collections and possibly in part digitized.