In the mid-1970s fans in the US created female-centred amateur press association, A Woman's APA (a UK equivalent - The Women's Periodical - wouldn't appear until the early 1980s) and in 1979 they invited Ethel Lindsay to join. This is her response:

LETTER TO A WOMAN'S APA

....and where were you all in December 1954 when I published my first fanzine? Today, March 23rd 1979, I am 58 years old and a little calculation tells me that I have been publishing for 25 years. Well, dear me, I *have* seen a lot of water roll under the bridge since then.

When I entered fandom as *you* can calculate I was in my thirties. That was an advantage in some ways for I was old enough to be more interested in SF and talking about books than I was in the fact that there were so many more male fans than female. Most of the femme fans were married and mainly there because of their husband's interest. No doubt an sf fan was vastly better than a football fan. That point struck me very forcibly as I was in Glasgow at the time and when I found that the few male fans there were more interested in books than football, I was delighted with them. I was older than them all so had no difficulty fixing on a sisterly/cum young aunt role with them. In those days young male fans were liable to be not only introspective but shy of girls and social gatherings. In my early years in fandom I think I was quite helpful about that to quite a few of them.

When I moved to work in England I had attended about four conventions and so had 'quite a few' contacts, I attended the Globe meetings regularly and had a great time. What I enjoyed most was that, then, your age group was ignored. Fandom in Britain was small enough to make this an unimportant factor. I became quickly involved in convention work. I remember, in particular, a convention in Gloucester [1961's LXICON] where I was part of the committee. We wanted to have a dance but the big problem was the lack of females. I think it was Eric Jones who had the bright idea to invite nurses from the local hospital to the dance. I was told off to look after them and found, to my dismay, that they had all brought their boyfriends with them! They eyed all those queer folk askance and danced resolutely with their own boy friends all night.

At my first convention there was a pretty, attractive young girl called Shirley [Marriott]. I was to see many more like her come and go. She was very interested to find this thing called fandom which was full of all those *men*. She was having a ball surrounded by them, flirting with them and (but I cannot be sure of this part), going to bed with them. I say I cannot be sure because you know how men can boastfully lie about this. I was enjoying myself too but in meeting and talking to people who shared my interest and who found it quite natural that I should be in love with books. I regarded Shirley as wasting precious time my goodness there was all the rest of the *year* for such activities. No doubt, today, such an attitude of mine will seem very weird to you all. However, bear in bind that the majority of fans were either too young for me or were married. I am enough of my generation to see every married man with a wide taboo circle around him.

I could tell you all lots more abour women in fandom - FEMIZINE and suchlike matters but for the moment let me say thank you for letting me see your zines. I would find it quite impossible to be a regular contributor I am sure. Once a year would be about my strength. Although in theory I should have plenty time now I am retired, I have found myself kept busy at an amazing rate. Also I have to think of cost now that I live on a pension instead of a salary. I am, as usual, torn in two when it comes to publishing. I would dearly love to receive all your fanzines but know I should not be able to publish frequently enough to justify this. I guess you would consider a once a year offering like this not very fair to the rest of you. However, for what it is worth, here is a letter of thanks.

-Ethel Lindsay, Carnoustie, Scotland.

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