Tag Archives: Edwin and Terry Murray

Before Game of Thrones

Before Game of Thrones, renowned fantasy author George R. R. Martin was a fan of all things nerd, just like you (and me)!  Check out this 1965 fan letter written by a 16 year-old Martin to Batwing, a fanzine published in Texas  by prolific fanzine writer Larry Herndon (and now included in our Edwin and Terry Murray Fanzine Collection).

Cover of Batwing #2


Batwing Letter, page 1
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Post contributed by Josh Larkin-Rowley, Research Services Coordinator.

A Home for our Dragons (and Ghosts, and Bunnies…)

One of my ongoing processing projects for the past year was to arrange and describe the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games, a vast collection with thousands of books, boxed games, miniature pieces, card sets, magazines — all relating to the world of RPGs. Most of these items received individual attention. For example, each volume in the collection has been described at an item level, including its title, publisher, and year, to better help our patrons browse across the various game worlds and decades of RPG publishing. Users can download a spreadsheet from the finding aid and search and sort the materials to their heart’s content. Since these materials are all stored offsite, I also included each box or volume’s barcode to speed the recall of these materials to the reading room.

Cart of RPG books, ready to go offsite
Cart of RPG books, ready to go offsite

One of the best parts of working with RPGs was the fact that they contain such colorful and imaginative artwork. Even if I didn’t have any interest in playing the game, the covers of the many volumes or boxes easily grabbed my attention. Some of the highlights? For me, the movie-based games were always fun to find.

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!
Who Ya Gonna Call? Ghostbusters, of course.

I also enjoyed learning more about the many, many variants and knock-offs of Dungeons and Dragons — why reinvent the wheel when you can just change the words around a bit? But the funniest, in my opinion, were the games that clearly tried to reach new audiences — like these two games aimed at people who liked bunnies.

Wabbit Wampage RPG
Wabbit Wampage and Bunnies and Burrows: 2 different RPGs featuring scary smart rabbits.

You may remember our blog posts about the Rubenstein Game Night, celebrating the opening of the collection last winter. Since then, we received another very large addition, and we needed to work closely with our Conservation Department to figure out how to house the hundreds of hand-painted figurines and miniatures that arrived with the collection. I think they had as much fun as I did down in the lab. Check out this post from Preservation Underground to learn more about stabilizing and housing the tiny dragons and other creatures that make up the Miniatures, Props, and Pieces Series. And, be sure to view the photo essay on Flickr for detailed shots of the pretty and gruesome monsters in the collection.

Post contributed by Meghan Lyon, Accessioning Associate in the Technical Services Dept.

Game Night at the Rubenstein Library

Date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Time: 7pm-9pm
Location: Biddle Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Will Hansen, 919-660-5958 or william.hansen@duke.edu

Is studying for finals stressing you out?  Or do you need a break from hectic holiday shopping?  Please join the staff of the Rubenstein Library to for a night of fun and games to celebrate the opening for research of the Edwin and Terry Murray Collection of Role-Playing Games.  The collection, one of the first to be available at a research institution, contains thousands of boxed sets, game books, accessories, card games, and manuscript records from the 1970s to the present, documenting the history of a medium that has grown into a worldwide cultural phenomenon.   Rare and unique materials from the collection will be on display.

Come play a classic board or card game with friends old and new, enjoy refreshments, and learn more about the history of games.  We hope to see you there!