When you read a book from cover to cover, the first words from the author are not necessarily the title (often a hard fought compromise between publisher and writer) but the overlooked sentence or two that comprise the dedication. Sometimes the dedicatee is well known, or the connection to the author is obvious or explained within the dedication itself. Often, though, the honored recipient of the author’s esteem is an enigma. The impatient reader, eager to get to grips with the story, might be forgiven for skipping the dedication page altogether. The reader or researcher who wants to get every nuance of meaning from the tale would do well to tarry a while and ponder on the reason behind the dedication.
Why that person, why that book? Is it possible to identify their influence within the book itself or is it a more general inspiration or influence that is being acknowledged? Looked at as a whole, do the dedications give clues as to any alteration in the opinions or enthusiasms of the author over time? Can anything be deduced from the omission of someone as well as their inclusion…there is endless scope for speculation. Unfortunately, given the intensely personal nature of some dedications, it is difficult to convert speculation to certainty.
Robert Heinlein’s work has been subject to piercing scrutiny. Individual books have been dissected and debated, trends in his oeuvre have been identified and analyzed but the dedications themselves have been overlooked.
This article documents recent research by the authors to determine, as best we can, who each of the dedicatees are and, where possible, what their relationship with Heinlein was. There is still more to be discovered but we hope that this list will provide a useful starting point.
Robert Heinlein wrote many books, and those books were often dedicated to more than one person. Faced with over a hundred names, some of which were first names only, with no clues at all as to the identity of the dedicatee, any researcher would be entitled to quail a little. We did, but we knew we had an ace in the hole: Virginia Heinlein, whose astounding recall of details and willingness to assist in this project was the only thing that enabled us to get it to this stage of completeness. To her and those kind people who answered our tentative queries with a wealth of personal memories and additional data, we say a heartfelt thank you.
We began our research with the easy ones; Heinlein dedicated several books to Ginny, his wife, one to his parents…these were dealt with in minutes. Next came names we recognized from our own bookshelves; giants in the world of science fiction to us, personal friends to Heinlein himself. Some dedications did have full names and a trawl through various reference books including The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Grumbles From The Grave, James Gifford’s Robert A Heinlein: A Reader’s Companion, and biographies of contemporaries of Heinlein’s gave us more answers.
We were starting to slow down when another invaluable source filled in some blanks. At the end of Number of The Beast is a section entitled “L’Envoi,” containing many names, fictional and real, of people at Lazarus Long’s party to end all parties. Simon Slavin and more recently, Francesco Spreafico, have, with the assistance of dozens of Heinlein fans, managed to track down the name and origin of everyone at that party. It was not really surprising to find that many of those on the guest list were important enough to Heinlein to have a book or two dedicated to them.
Finally we asked those people with a special knowledge of Heinlein to complete what was beginning to feel like a gigantic crossword puzzle; Jim Gifford and Bill Patterson were particularly useful at this stage. When we turned to the ultimate authority, Virginia Heinlein, who, with a few invaluable emails, allowed us to bring the first stage of a most enjoyable and interesting project to a close.
The next step was to link the names to the books and try to establish what Heinlein had in mind when he chose each dedicatee. Sometimes the reason is fairly obvious, as in the case of a close relative, sometimes we discovered connections that were amusing, enlightening and intriguing.
Here then is the list, as complete as we can make it at this time.
[Several books were published without dedications. The first such was Orphans of the Sky (1963), possibly because it was published first in the U.K. by Gollancz, and only later in the U.S. by Putnam’s. The collections The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein (1966) and The Notebooks of Lazarus Long (1978) also had no dedications, although Expanded Universe, which included The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein within its text did have one. Tramp Royale and Take Back Your Government! were first published posthumously, decades after they were written and so they too were left undedicated.]
- Rocket Ship Galileo (1947) was dedicated “For Colin Matt and Buddy.” As we learned in “Regarding Leslyn” [James, 26], Colin was Colin Hubbard, the son of Keith Hubbard, Leslyn Heinlein’s sister. Since this was Heinlein’s first attempt at a boy’s book, he had Colin read the first few chapters to gauge his reaction. “Matt” is Matt Cartmill, son of Cleve Cartmill (1908 – 1964) by his first marriage, and “Buddy” is Buddy Heinlein, the son of Larry Heinlein, Robert’s brother. Cleve Cartmill was a member of the Mañana Literary Society whose members included Heinlein himself and several other authors who would become well known in the SF field.
- Beyond This Horizon (1948) was dedicated “For Cal, Mickey and both J’s.” “Cal” is Caleb Laning, Heinlein’s best friend. “Mickey” was Caleb’s wife, and “the two J’s” are his daughters, Gillian (known as Jill) and Judith (known as Judy).
- Space Cadet (1948) was dedicated “For William Ivar Bacchus.” He is the son of Louise Heinlein Bacchus, one of Heinlein’s sisters. William gave Heinlein information on scouting which shows up in several stories from that time period. Ivar is a Heinlein family name, and it was Heinlein’s father’s middle name.
- The Day After Tomorrow/Sixth Column (1949) “For John S. Arwine.” John Arwine was an Annapolis classmate of Heinlein’s who resigned before graduation and went into publicity work. Arwine may have been the model for the character “Whitey” Ardmore [Gifford, 171].
- Red Planet (1949) was dedicated “For Tish.” She is Patricia Kilpatrick, stepdaughter of Rex Heinlein.
- Farmer in the Sky (1950) was “For Sandy.” Sandy is a nickname of Andrew Lermer, the son of Heinlein’s youngest sister, Mary Jean. Here we have another connection between the dedicatee and the book, since the protagonist’s sir name is also Lermer.
- The Man Who Sold The Moon (1950) “To Ginny.” This is the first of several dedications to Heinlein’s third wife, Virginia Heinlein.
- Waldo and Magic, Inc. (1951) was dedicated “John and Doña.” “John” is John W. Campbell (1910 – 1971), “Doña” his first wife. Both writer and editor, John Campbell’s name is firmly linked with Robert Heinlein’s work because it was to his magazine, Astounding Science Fiction, that Heinlein sent his early story, “Life Line,” in 1939. Their working relationship produced some of the best known stories of what was to be called the “Golden Age” of science fiction. It also contained some friction, and after World War II, their friendship gradually faded as Heinlein moved beyond the pulps into the “slicks” and novel writing.
- The Green Hills of Earth (1951) was dedicated “To my parents,” who were Bam Lyle Heinlein and Rex Ivar Heinlein.
- Between Planets (1951): “For Scott and Kent” refers to Scott and Kent Nelson, the two sons of Heinlein’s lawyer, Al Nelson.
- Tomorrow, The Stars (1951) was to “Dorothy and Clare.” This dedication is to Heinlein’s younger brother Jay Clare Heinlein and his wife Dorothy.
- The Puppet Masters (1951) was dedicated “To Lurton Blassingame.” Mr. Blassingame was Heinlein’s literary agent for many years.
- The Rolling Stones/Space Family Stone (1952) was “For LUCKY and DOC and BARBARA.” This dedication is to Lucky and Doc Herzberger, neighbors of the Heinleins in Colorado Springs, and their daughter, Barbara.
- Assignment in Eternity (1953) “For Sprague and Catherine” is dedicated to L. Sprague de Camp and his wife Catherine (1907 – 2000). De Camp (1907 – 2000) was a science fiction writer, a long-time friend of Heinlein, and a co-worker at the Naval Air Experimental Station in Philadelphia during World War II. Catherine, born Catherine Adelaide Crook, also worked as a science fiction writer in partnership with her husband.
- Starman Jones (1953) “For my friend Jim Smith.” Smith was the third son of a daughter of E. J. King, who was Heinlein’s commander on the Lexington during the 1930’s. King was later Admiral in charge of the Pacific Fleet during World War II.
- Revolt in 2100 (1953) “For Stan and Sophia Mullen.” Stan Mullen (1911 – 1973) was a pulp science fiction writer and author of three science fiction books. Sophia Mullen was his wife.
- The Star Beast (1954) “For Diane and Clark.” Diane and Clark Russell were children of neighbors of the Heinleins in Colorado Springs. Their father, Jim Russell, owned a local television station. Clark Russell may have been a model for the Clark Fries character in Podkayne of Mars.
- Tunnel in the Sky (1954) was dedicated “For Jeannie and Bibs.” Jeannie and Vivian (“Bibs”) Rubens were daughters of friends of the Heinleins.
- Time For the Stars (1956) “For Bill and Rob Davis” refers to William and Robert Davis, both sons of Dr. Robert Davis and his wife Peg, who were friends of the Heinleins.
- The Door Into Summer (1956) was dedicated “For A. P. and Phyllis, Mick and Annette, Aelurophiles All.” “A. P.” refers to William Anthony Parker White (1911 – 1968), science fiction writer, who usually worked under the pseudonym of Anthony Boucher. He was a friend of Heinlein and author of Rocket to the Morgue under another pseudonym, H. H. Holmes. This was a detective story in which the detective is helped in solving the case by thinly-disguised members of the real-life Manãna Literary Society. “Phyllis” is Phyllis White, Boucher’s wife. “Mick” is Jesse Francis McComas (1911 – 1978), who later became editor of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction along with Boucher, and “Annette” was Annette McComas, his wife.
- Double Star (1957) was “To Henry and Catherine Kuttner.” Henry (1914 – 1958) and his wife Catherine (1911 – 1987) were long-time friends of the Heinleins. Both wrote science fiction (Catherine under her maiden name, C. L. Moore). Catherine was the first to use the phrase “The Green Hills of Earth” as a song title in her classic short story “Shambleau.” Heinlein used the title in his own story and, when he realized its source, asked and immediately received permission for its use [Gifford, 93].
- Citizen of the Galaxy (1957) was dedicated “To Fritz Leiber.” Fritz Leiber (1910 – 1992) was an Episcopal Minister, Shakespearean Actor, Editor, Speech and Drama Instructor, award-winning science fiction Author, and cat aficionado.
- Have Space Suit - Will Travel (1958) was “For Harry and Barbara Stine.” George Harry Stine (1928 – 1997) was a science fiction author, who also published under the pseudonym Lee Correy, and Barbara Stine was his wife. The Heinleins hosted the Stines’ wedding reception. Stine lived in Colorado Springs, published some juvenile science fiction in the 1950s, testified before Congress on the need for future space programs, and lectured on space warfare - all areas of commonality with Heinlein.
- Methuselah’s Children (1958): “To Edward E Smith, Ph.D.” Edward E. “Doc” Smith (1890 – 1965) was an early science fiction author and friend of Heinlein’s. Heinlein wrote “Larger Than Life: A Memoir in Tribute to Dr. Edward E. Smith,” which appears in Expanded Universe.
- Starship Troopers (1959) “To `Sarge’ Arthur George Smith - Soldier, Citizen, Scientist - and to all sergeants anywhere who have labored to make men out of boys. R.A.H.” Arthur Smith was a close personal friend of Heinlein’s.
- The Menace From Earth (1959) was “To Hermann B Deutsch.” Deutsch was a columnist for the NOLA Times-Picayune. The Heinleins stayed with him or his brother every time they were in New Orleans. His brother, Eberhard, an attorney, is mentioned in Grumbles From The Grave as insisting that that the Heinleins stay in his penthouse in 1969 when they visited New Orleans.
- 6 X H/The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag (1959): “To Eugene R Guild.” Captain Guild, possibly the founder of the Fighting Homefolks of Fighting Men at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, was a friend of the Heinleins. Captain Guild’s son was MIA in Korea.
- Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) “For Robert Cornog, Frederic Brown, Philip Jose Farmer.” Robert Cornog (d. 1998) worked with Luis Alvarez on Helium-3 and a cyclotron at Berkeley Labs in the 1930’s. During World War II, Mr. Cornog worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb and became chief engineer of the team's ordnance division. He met Heinlein during the war and they were friends thereafter. Frederic William Brown (1906 – 1972) wrote detective stories as well as science fiction. Philip Jose Farmer (1918 – ) was perhaps the first author to treat sex overtly in the SF genre. Since Heinlein had been waiting to be able to publish material for real adults, he may have felt that Farmer had helped pave the way for his being able to write a book like Stranger.
- Podkayne of Mars (1963) was “For Gale and Astrid.” “Gale” refers to Gale Ahroon, daughter of Admiral Andrew Ahroon who was with NORAD when the book was written. He was in the class before Heinlein’s in the U.S. Naval Academy. Mrs. Heinlein shared this anecdote on one of the Heinlein AIM chats:
- “I remember Andy Ahroon telling us once that he had been dressed down by a senior admiral, and he turned to leave, and the senior said, `Just a minute, young man!’ So Andy came to attention again. Andy was a Rear Admiral at the time.”
- “Owlswick is, in E. R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros, the place from which the troops did not come. In Buckinghamshire, it is a collection of about a half-dozen houses, including a very [small] chapel with no regularly assigned vicar and a public house, `The Leg of Mutton’. It is between Clanking and Longwick, and is about a mile or so north-west of Riseboro, which is just beyond the eastern edge of the London commuter-shed. The name goes back to 1000 or so, and was originally something [like] `Eulf's Wick,’ which through centuries of misspellings got close enough to the more familiar `Owls’ to flip over the form we know now.
- “Ft Mudge is the last name still extant of the circle of forts that were built round the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia. The nearest real town is Waycross [Georgia]. A few years back, there was a general store (a small, side-of-the-road mom-&-pop store that sold groceries and other odds and ends), but the road was widened and the store had the misfortune to be on the side it was widened toward. There is now a few trailer houses off in the woods, a sign on the highway pointing to the side road where the trailer homes are, and a grove of pine trees being tapped for their resin. Many years ago, it was a flag stop on the Atlantic Coast Railroad, but not now.
- “There were a few Termini in the United States and Canada: Atlanta, Georgia as once called Terminus, as was the (temporary) end of track of the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad in Utah. There was a Terminus in southern Ontario, but I don't think the name is current now. And in California, there is still a Terminous, which was at the end of a branch of the Western Pacific Railroad (someone didn't know how to spell), and a correctly spelled Terminus at the end of one of the branches of the Visalia Electric Railroad. That terminus included a citrus fruit packing plant and a beach on Terminus Lake, but no residents. I collected the names for a house name when I published the fan magazine Amra, which 'zine was about Conan the Cimmerian. I included Mr. Heinlein as a subscriber, though he never wrote anything for the magazine. I did, one time, send him a postcard in which I asked, `What happens after the Hero wins the hand of the princess and half the kingdom.’ The book, Glory Road, is the answer.”
- Ann = Ann Nourse, wife of Alan Nourse (see Farnham’s Freehold dedication).
- Anne = Anne Passovoy, a fan and filksinger (from L’Envoi list).
- Barbie = Barbara Stine (see Have Space Suit - Will Travel dedication).
- Betsy = Betsy Curtis, nurse and correspondent of Heinlein’s.
- Bubbles = Mildred (Bubbles) Broxon.
- Carolyn = a niece, now married to Douglas Ayer.
- Catherine = Catherine Sprague de Camp (see Assignment in Eternity dedication).
- Dian = Dian Crayne, science fiction author, aka Dian Girard.
- Diane = Diane Russell (see The Star Beast dedication).
- Eleanor = Eleanor Wood, Heinlein’s agent, now agent for the estate.
- Elinor = Elinor Busby, wife of F. M. Busby. Co-editor of the fanzine Cry of the Nameless. See also the dedication of The Cat Who Walked Through Walls.
- Gay = Gay Haldeman, wife of science fiction writer Joe Haldeman.
- Jeanne = Jeanne Robinson, science fiction writer, wife of SF author Spider Robinson (1948 – ).
- Joan = Joan D. Vinge (1948 – ), science fiction author.
- Judy-Lynn = Judy Lynn Benjamin Del Rey (1943 – 1986), wife of Lester Del Rey (1915 – 1993).
- Karen = Karen Anderson, wife of Poul Anderson (see Podkayne of Mars dedication).
- Kathleen = Kathleen Heinlein, Heinlein’s brother Rex’s wife (see I Will Fear No Evil dedication).
- Marilyn = Marilyn Niven, aka “Fuzzy Pink.” Wife of Larry Niven (1938 – ).
- Nichelle = Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek actress, possible model for the President character in “The Happy Days Ahead,” which was published in Expanded Universe.
- Patricia = Pat Cadigan.
- Pepper = Pepper Sorrell, a friend of Heinlein’s.
- Polly = Polly Freas, wife of Frank Kelly Freas.
- Roberta = Roberta Pournelle, wife of Jerry Pournelle (1933 – ), himself a dedicatee of The Cat Who Walked Through Walls.
- Rebel = Mrs. Albert Trottier.
- Tamea = Tamea Dula, a lawyer, who is married to Art Dula, Virginia Heinlein’s lawyer.
- Ursula= Ursula Le Guin (1929 – ), science fiction author.
- Verna= Verna Trestrail Smith, daughter of E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith (see Methuselah’s Children dedication).
- Vivian = Vivian Markham, married to Robert Markham. They are mentioned in Tramp Royale as they were passengers on the ‘Gulf Shipper’ at the start of the trip, and the Heinleins stayed with them in Hawaii when they returned to the U.S.
- Vonda = Vonda McIntyre (1948 – ), science fiction author. Listed as a source of help in Heinlein’s article, “Are You A Rare Blood?”, and described as a biologist in his notes on that article.
- Yumiko = President of Japanese fan club for Heinlein. She is the daughter of Tetsu Yano, Heinlein’s Japanese translator and a science fiction writer, who gave a short, but moving, speech at the awarding of the NASA Medal for Distinguished Public Service to Heinlein [Kondo, 309].
- Ginny = Virginia Heinlein
- “Jerry” is Jerry Pournelle (1933 – ); His wife Roberta was a dedicatee of Friday.
- “Larry” is Larry Niven (1938 – ).
- “Harry” is G. Harry Stine (1928 – 1997); See the Have Space Suit - Will Travel dedication.
- (All are science fiction authors.)
- “Dean” is Dean Ing, Ph.D., a professor of communications in Eugene, Oregon and a science fiction author.
- “Dan” is Lt. General Daniel O. Graham, U. S. Army (Ret.) (d. 1995), founder and director of High Frontier and an originator of the SDI project.
- “Jim” is Jim Baen (1943 – ), science fiction author and editor.
- “Poul” is Poul Anderson (1926 – 2001), science fiction author.
- “Buz” is Francis Marion Busby (1921 – ), science fiction author and fan (his wife Elinor was a dedicatee of Friday).
- Finally, “Sarge” is Barry Workman, a friend of Jerry Pournelle’s.
In dedicating these books to friends, colleagues and relatives, Heinlein was perhaps acknowledging a debt. If these people helped in any way to make Heinlein the person he was and if the books are the product of that personality then we owe them too.
It’s good to finally know who they are.
Clute, John, and Nicholls, Peter (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York, NY: Saint Martin's Press, 1995
Gifford, James. Robert A. Heinlein: A Reader’s Companion. Sacramento, Calif.: Nitrosyncretic Press, 2000
Heinlein, Robert. “Life Line.” Expanded Universe. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1980
— Rocket Ship Galileo. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1947
— Beyond This Horizon. Reading: Fantasy Press, 1948
— Space Cadet. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1948
— Sixth Column. Hicksville: The Gnome Press, 1949
— Red Planet. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949
— Farmer In The Sky. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1950
— Waldo and Magic, Inc. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1951
— The Man Who Sold the Moon. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 1950
— Between Planets. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1951
— Tomorrow, The Stars. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1951
— The Green Hills of Earth. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 1951
— The Puppet Masters. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1951
— The Rolling Stones. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952
— Assignment in Eternity. Reading: Fantasy Press, 1953
— Starman Jones. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953
— Revolt in 2100. Chicago: Shasta Publishers, 1953
— The Star Beast. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954
— Tunnel in the Sky. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954
— Time for the Stars. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956
— The Door Into Summer. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1956
— Double Star. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, 1957
— Citizen of the Galaxy. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957
— Have Space Suit - Will Travel. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1957
— Methuselah’s Children. Hicksville: The Gnome Press, 1958
— Starship Troopers. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1959
— The Menace From Earth. Hicksville: The Gnome Press, 1959
— The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag. Hicksville: The Gnome Press, 1959
— Stranger in a Strange Land. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1961
— Podkayne of Mars. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1963
— Orphans of the Sky. London: Gollancz, 1963
— Glory Road. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963
— Farnham’s Freehold. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1964
— The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1966
— The Past Through Tomorrow. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1967
— I Will Fear No Evil. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1970
— Time Enough For Love.New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973
— “Are You a Rare Blood?”: Compton’s Yearbook, 1976
— The Notebooks of Lazarus Long. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1978
— The Number of the Beast. New York: Fawcett/Columbine, 1980
— Expanded Universe. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1980
— Friday. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1982
— Job: A Comedy of Justice. New York: Ballantine Books, 1984
— The Cat Who Walked Through Walls. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1985
— To Sail Beyond the Sunset. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1987
— Grumbles from the Grave. New York: Ballantine Books, 1989
— Tramp Royale. New York: Ace Books, 1992
— Take Back Your Government! Riverdale: Baen Books, 1992
James, Robert. “Regarding Leslyn.” The Heinlein Journal, No. 9 (July, 2001), pp. 17–36
Kondo, Yoji, ed. Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master. New York: Tor Publishing Co., 1992
White, William A. P. (“Anthony Boucher,” also wrote as “H. H. Holmes”). Rocket to the Morgue (1942) New York: International Polygonics, Ltd., 1988
- Copyright 2002 by The Heinlein Journal.
Reprinted by permission of The Heinlein Journal,
Jane Davitt and Tim Morgan. All Rights Reserved.