The history of science fiction and fantasy is a topic that fosters heated discussions, creative arguments, and little agreement. However, most people agree that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is, in some way, a part of the science fiction canon. Frankenstein made an immediate impact when it was published, and has remained in-print virtually all the time since that initial publication. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection has included copies of Frankenstein for many years.

In 2005, the Cushing Library acquired a copy of the third edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published in 1831. The Cushing copy is a good example of books of this vintage.




The 1831 edition also featured the first image of Frankenstein’s monster:

A copy of the 1845 edition is also held in the Cushing Library. Like the 1831 edition, this copy is s a good example of books of that vintage.

By the Twentieth Century, editions of Frankenstein were commomplace. This 1957 paperback edition is one example of the many editions of Frankenstein now available.

The image of the Frankenstein monster evolved continuously, but the best-known representation of Frankenstein’s monster is the cinema version played by Boris Karloff.


4 thoughts on “Frankenstein

  1. It was very enlightening to visit the collection back in February, and Hal Hall gave me an entertaining and exhaustive tour. I was impressed by the variety of the material stored there, and it bodes well for the collection knowing that Hal is always on the lookout for acquiring significant collections of books, magazines, and fanzines from longt-term science fiction fans. I look forward to researching articles inside the Cushing in the near future. Thank you for the insight into the collection.

  2. I enjoy “old fashioned” horror stories like this, but I admit I am not a history buff and I think the story is just as good whether the edition of the book is recent or 200 years old. But having the very first illustrations of Frankenstein is a different matter, and is in part what makes this edition so good.

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