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Lyon Sprague de Camp
Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy
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L Sprague de Camp, Nov 27, 1907 - Nov 6, 2000

L(yon) Sprague de Camp, noted science fiction and fantasy writer of the Golden Age, born in New York City on  November 27, 1907, passed away on November 6, 2000 in Plano, Texas. Formerly a resident of Villanova, Pennsylvania, Sprague and his late wife Catherine called Plano, Texas their home since 1989. Catherine Crook de Camp, Sprague's wife of 60 years preceded him in death on April 9, 2000.

He is survived by his sons, Lyman Sprague de Camp and Gerard Beekman de Camp; and brother Lyman Lyon de Camp.

L. Sprague de Camp, who served as a Lieuteannt Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve during the Second World War, will be cremated; and his ashes, together with those of Catherine, will be laid to final rest at the Arlington National Cemetery.

L. Sprague de Camp was educated during his early years in New York City. He earned his BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1930 and his MS in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1933. Although he worked as an educator, lecturer, engineer, patent expert, and publicity writer, Sprague de Camp devoted most of the last half century to writing over 100 science fiction, and fantasy novels.

His other work also includes historical novels; biographies of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard; and recognized non-fiction pieces that include "The Ancient Engineers"; "The Day of the Dinosaur"; "Great Cities of the Ancient World"; and "The Great Monkey Trial" among others.

Many of Sprague's early works appeared in the science fiction magazines of the late 1930's and included the thinking bear series with "Johnny Black" in Astounding, and the "Gavagan's Bar" fantasy stories (written with the late Fletcher Pratt) in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Sprague de Camp edited and contributed to various stories about the life and adventures of a swashbuckling character, "Conan", originally created by the late Robert E. Howard; and went on to produce new Conan stories in collaboration with the late Lin Carter and others. Two theatrical movies have been released starring highly acclaimed actor Arnold Schwarzeneger as "Conan".

Sprague de Camp was a master of that rarity, "humorous fantasy." As a young writer collaborating with Fletcher Pratt, he set forth the world-hopping adventures of Harold Shea. These magical adventures of the classical world are still available today in the omnibus volume, "The Complete Compleat Enchanter". In 1992, at the urging of Harold Shea's fans, Sprague de Camp and Christopher Stasheff collaborated on "The Enchanter Reborn" and the travel adventures continued.

Sprague de Camp's 1993 science fiction "Rivers of Time", a collection of nine stories about Reginald Rivers, a twenty-first century safari guide who takes clients back to the Paleozoic and Mesozoic period to hunt dinosaurs, was published by Baen books.

Perhaps Sprague's most loved science fiction on time travel is the classic, "Lest Darkness Fall" (1941), which is still in print today.

A world traveler with his collaborator wife Catherine and other colleagues, Sprague de Camp experienced many unusual events in his lifetime. He was chased by a hippopotamus in Uganda and a sea lion in the Galapagos Islands, watched tiger and rhinoceros from elephant back in India, and was bitten by a lizard in the jungles of northern Guatemala. He spoke several languages and was a member of many scholarly, professional, literary, and social organizations.

In he spring of 1994, Sprague de Camp spent Easter on Easter Island in the South Pacific doing research for his non-fiction book "The Ape-Man Within." In 1996 Donald M. Grant published Sprague's autobiography "Time and Chance." In 1997 "Time and Chance" received the HUGO Award for Best Non-fiction Work.

Sprague received the coveted GANDALF, the Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement in Fantasy; and the Science Fiction Writers of America's "GRAND MASTER NEBULA" Award in the 1970 s. These and Sprague's numerous other awards were a source of honor from the profession to which he devoted himself since the 1930s.

In recent years health issues slowed him down and arthritis in his fingers made typing on his electric typewriter very difficult. None the less, he continued to keep up with his reading materials, always thinking about the next story.

Though the man is gone, the many works of L. Sprague de Camp still live on. "The Wheels of If," first published in 1940 was recently reprinted with two of Harry Turtledove's original novellas in DOWN IN THE BOTTOMLANDS (and other places)".

L. Sprague de Camp will be remembered and deeply missed by those who knew him and loved him.


Catherine Crook de Camp, Nov 6, 1907 - Apr 9, 2000

With grieving hearts we regret to inform you of the passing of Catherine de Camp. 

Catherine Crook de Camp, teacher, author, and editor, born in New York City on November 6, 1907, greatly beloved wife of L. Sprague de Camp passed away quietly on April 9, 2000. Formerly a resident of Villanova, Pennsylvania, she and her husband have called Plano, Texas their home since 1989.

Catherine is survived by Sprague, her husband of 60 years, her sons Lyman Sprague de Camp of Garland, Texas and Gerard Beekman de Camp of Dallas, Texas; grandchildren, Michael Rossman, Patricia Chalstrom, and Veronica de Camp; great grandchildren Nicholas Rossman and Samuel Rossman.

Plans for a local memorial service will be announced. Catherine will be cremated and her final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery with her husband.

Catherine graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York's Barnard College in 1933, where she received her Phi Beta Kappa key. She double majored in English and Economics, which proved to be a fitting preparation for a writer's wife. As a young graduate, she taught English and tutored students at private secondary schools in New York City, until her sister introduced her to her future husband.

In addition to co-writing and editing science fiction and nonfiction books with her writer husband, Sprague, she was an accomplished author in her own right. Her published works include: "The Money Tree", "Teach Your Child to Manage Money" and "Creatures of the Cosmos."

A member of Science Fiction Writers of America, The Authors Guild, First Fandom and other distinguished organizations; Catherine was also a world traveler. She enjoyed attending numerous Science Fiction conventions with her husband, Sprague, until her declining health in recent years made that no longer possible.

Her sister, Dorothy Crook Hazard of Chevy Chase, Maryland and brothers, Gerard Beekman Crook of Washington, D.C., and Morgan Crook of New York City, preceded Catherine in death.

Catherine Crook de Camp will be remembered for her warmth, charm and intelligence as she reached out to science fiction colleagues, friends and fans worldwide. She encouraged young people to read and enjoy science fiction, to respect the world in which they lived and to participate in the world around them. She especially enjoyed coaching beginning writers to excel in their work. She will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer's Association.


LS de Camp PHOTO
 Courtesy of  the de Camp Family Limited Partnership

LS deCamp Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, August 2006


Posted:  28 July 2001 Updated: 8 February 2003 Updated: 14 June 2003 Updated: 17 December 2005 Updated: 20 August 2060