Center for Ray Bradbury Studies

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



In July Jay of Bibliophilica mentioned in a comment that there is a Center for Ray Bradbury Studies in Indianapolis. I was so surprised and delighted to find that out, but it wasn’t until I had a day off in November that I had the chance to visit the Center.

Jon Eller is the director of the Center and has written two biographies of Bradbury, the second of which will be published next year. He was kind enough to show me around and explain a bit of what they do. A lot of their work is devoted to creating definitive editions of Bradbury’s work. Many of his stories were edited extensively by editors who removed some of the beautiful language in his original version.

The Center is a treasure trove of Bradbury memorabilia. There’s an entire wall with different editions of his work including audiobooks, foreign editions and more. There are also movie posters from films based on his books and even a set chair that Bradbury used on one film set. There are awards Bradbury received from different organizations and a murky jar used as a prop on an episode of Hitchcock’s TV show based on a short story by Bradbury.

One thing I was surprised to learn is that Bradbury frequently revised his short story collections. He would sometimes remove a story that he felt had become dated and replace it with a new one. So it's difficult to determine the definitive edition of each collection because they sometimes changed over the years. There are also multiple names for some of his books. The Martian Chronicles is called The Silver Locusts in England. Another thing I had no idea about was that Ray Bradbury wrote the script for the 1950s film version of Moby Dick by John Huston. The man had a fascinatingly diverse career!



The 60th anniversary edition (see above) of Fahrenheit 451 (which has an introduction written by Neil Gaiman) includes an essay by Jon Eller himself. He actually sent me home with a copy and I am so excited to read all of the supplementary material!

The Center recently expanded its collection and will soon be moving to a new facility. In addition to the correspondence and materials they currently have, they will be adding a huge number of Bradbury’s own books and other items. They are also planning on setting up an area with the furniture from his own home to recreate his working office. I’m sure it will be incredible when it’s complete!

If you are in Indiana and would like to tour the Center you can contact them to schedule a visit at bradbury@iupui.edu 

If you would like to contribute to their expansion campaign you can do so here.

Photos by moi.  



10 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

Hmmm. My son just read F 451, I bet he would love to see this!

annieb said...

I just read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time last year and found it incredibly moving. It was a perfect example of "why hadn't I read it before." I have read several Ray Bradbury books and always meant to read F 451. Too many books, too little time. He was an amazing writer and I plan to read and reread more of his work.

Jeanne said...

I'll keep this in mind for some future visit, because I want to see the re-created home office!

bibliophilica said...

Hi Melissa,

I'm so glad to hear that you had a chance to check out the Center. Jon is also a frequent attendee at the Vonnegut Library Book Club meetings, and I've learned a lot from him about Bradbury - and other writers too. (I've found it's really hard to stump him with those, "Have you ever read..." questions)

He really does seem to be a tireless promoter/preserver/collector of all things Bradbury. He gave a great presentation at the Irvington Branch of the MCPL last spring that I attended.

Like you, I didn't know until relatively recently that he wrote the screenplay for the "Gregory Peck Version" of Moby Dick. Bradbury has become more of a favorite of mine in the past couple years.

-Jay

epilogging said...

Aw, that's so cool! I love Ray Bradbury. I can imagine that it's hard work sorting through all of his short stories -- he wrote so many! And then he moved them around? Nuts. Really great post though, thanks for sharing!

Jillian said...

I would love to go there!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - It's a must for Bradbury fans!

annieb - That's one of my absolute favorites. I love The Martian Chronicles and The October Country and The Illustrated Man collections as well. He had an incredible style of writing.

Jeanne - I can't wait to see that too! I'll let you know when it's complete.

bibliophilica - I'm so glad you told me about it! Jon was really great. I'm still jealous you get to attend that bookclub!

epilogging - I know! Everytime I think I have a handle on his complete works I come across a new collection!

Jillian - I was so surprised to find out it was in Indy!

thecuecard said...

Wow that's cool about the Bradbury Center in Indianapolis. I need to read 451 F.

Andi said...

This is SO COOL! Reading Bradbury was one of those formative experiences for me in high school. I adored "August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains" and then later, Fahrenheit 451. And then later later, From the Dust Returned.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

thecuecard - It's a wonderful book!

Andi - He has written such a wide variety of material. I keep discovering new things of his that I love.