MosCon Collection

The Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association Archive

Contents: About the MosCon Collection | Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association | The Victoria E. Mitchell Collection | Acknowledgements | Tech

About the MosCon Collection

MosCon was a vibrant regional science fiction convention based in Moscow, Idaho, organized by the Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association (PESFA). This digital collection provides access to MosCon program booklets and related artifacts for the twenty-two annual conventions held from 1979 to 2001.

Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association

The Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association originated in 1974, coalescing out of a “Free University” class on science fiction offered by Steve Fahnestalk. He and Jon Gustafson created PESFA within the year, and the pair went on to create their own fanzine (New Venture). PESFA, led by Steve Fahnestalk, went on to sponsor the MosCon science fiction convention, enduring from 1978 to 2001, with a Revival convention in 2019.

Moscon Revival poster, 2019, depicting a scifi space woman with laser gun
MosCon Revival 2019

Moscon was a pioneering science fiction convention, perhaps one of the first to feature a pantheon of Guests of Honor (author, artist, and scientist), the first to pay writers and artists for their contributions to the souvenir program book, as well as the first to give away a limited-edition print of the program book cover to attendees.

Science fiction author Edward Elmer “Doc” Smith was a University of Idaho alumni, best known for his Lensman and Skylark series of books, and was made the convention’s Patron Saint. The Doc Smith Second Stage Lensman Award was named in his honor, voted on by fifty professionals in the fields of science fiction and fantasy writing and art, and awarded by MosCon to chosen authors and artists for their lifetime contributions.

The Victoria E. Mitchell Collection

The items featured in this collection make up a small part of the Victoria E. Mitchell Collection (MG 470), donated to University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives in 2017 (see feature article). The initial 325-box science fiction collection includes science fiction and fantasy artwork, illustrations and posters; science fiction memorabilia; clothing and costumes; records pertaining to local and regional science fiction organizations; manuscripts; and a large science fiction book collection that includes approximately 5,000 volumes.

Victoria E. Mitchell was U of I alumna, longtime Moscow resident, and published science fiction writer. Her husband Jon Gustafson was a writer and well-known science fiction and fantasy art expert and memorabilia appraiser. He founded the first professional science fiction/fantasy art and book appraisal service in North America. Victoria and Jon were members of the Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association and early contributors to MosCon.

Related archival collections:


This project has been enriched by contributions from current PESFA members including Steve Fahnestalk, coordinated by Dusty Fleener and Palouse Anthropology. Digitization and metadata was supported by the Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning, with contributions from Kevin Dobbins, Corey Oglesby, and Rylee Robertson.

Technical Credits - CollectionBuilder

This digital collection is built with CollectionBuilder, an open source framework for creating digital collection and exhibit websites that is developed by faculty librarians at the University of Idaho Library following the Lib-Static methodology.

Using the CollectionBuilder-CSV template and the static website generator Jekyll, this project creates an engaging interface to explore driven by metadata.

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