Born: Established: 1 Oct 1914 New York (City), New York (State),
Donald Allen Wollheim was an American science fiction writer, editor, publisher and fan who became one of the leading influences on science fiction and science fiction fandom in the USA during the twentieth century. In 1936, while a member of the New York Science Fiction League, he helped organise the first ever science fiction convention in that city, and the following year founded the Fantasy Amateur Press Association. Wollheim also became a founding member of the Futurians (New York) in 1938, with this club going on to become one of the best known science fiction fan communities in America during the mid-twentieth century. After 1940, the Futurians became less fan-oriented and more professional, providing conferences and workshops which focused on writing, editing, and publishing.In 1945 Wollheim edited the first hardcover science fiction anthology from a major publisher and the first omnibus, The Viking Portable Novels of Science. He also edited the first anthology of original science fiction, The Girl With the Hungry Eyes (1947). Between 1947 and 1951 Wollheim was the editor at Avon Books, and under his direction the company released affordable paperback editions of the works of A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, and C. S. Lewis among other authors. During this period he also edited the influential Avon Fantasy Reader and the Avon Science Fiction Reader.
In 1952 Wollheim joined the newly established Ace Books and under his editorship the company published some of the most significant science fiction writers of the 1950s and 1960s, including Samuel R. Delany, Philip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Robert Silverberg. Ace was also became known for such marketing innovations such as the Ace Doubles, a format comprising two short novels bound back to back ('Ace,' Penguin.com). Wollheim left Ace in 1971 and shortly afterwards set up DAW Books (in conjunction with New American Library). DAW (the name comprises his initials) became the first mass market specialist science fiction and fantasy fiction publishing house in America.
As an author, Wollheim published under his own name as well as under pseudonyms (including David Grinnell). During the 1940s he published short stories but by the 1950s he was mainly writing novels - using pseudonyms for his adult-orientated works and his own name for children's science fiction. Among his more popular works were the eight 'Mike Mars' children's books which revolved around the NASA space program.