Monday, April 8, 2013

AFU, anniversary and a new name

March 17th, 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of Archives for UFO-Research. We celebrated this event with a dinner at the beautiful marble hall, part of Norrköping public library. 23 participants enjoyed an exclusive and delicious italian buffet, while I held a short speach on AFU history och future plans and expectations. Local television made a serious and good presentation of "the largest ufo archive in the world".

Happy guests mingled before the dinner, Tobias Lindgren and Benny Dahl

My speach at the dinner

Our start in 1973 was a very humble beginning, an informal working group. Three young lads, Kjell Jonsson, Anders Liljegren and myself decided we wanted to do serious ufo research. In 1974 Kjell Jonsson began building a ufo lending library in his small one room apartment in Södertälje. Starting with two bookshelves and 300+ books the library expanded steadily until we moved to our own premises in Norrköping in 1980 and also changed our group to a formal foundation - Archives for UFO Research (AFU).

Kjell Jonsson with our two bookshelves in 1977

Our development and expansion since 1980 has been exceptional. We now have ten premises and between 15-20 people working at the archive on a daily basis. There is 24 000 books, 45 000 magazines and something like 1,5 kilometers total shelf capacity. Archives for UFO Research is since many years an internationally recognized and firmly established archive institution. A world repository for books, magazines, clippings, organisational & personal files, photos, audio- and audiovisual material etc on ufos, forteana and paranormal phenomena of all kinds. But we also collect objects, models, artwork, t-shirts, posters etc.

One of the AFU libraries

Donations of rare and exclusive collections from all over the world are reaching AFU on a constant basis. A sample of our donors speaks for itself: Hilary Evans, Robert J M Rickard, Mikhail Gershtein, Luis Schönherr, Janet and Colin Bord, Willy Wegner, Peter Rogerson, Loren E Gross, William Caulfield and many many more.

Hilary Evans during a visit to AFU October 7, 1996

Donations of very extensive collections of forteana, parapsychology, folklore, theosophy, esoterica and other borderland subjects have initiated a discussion within the board of eventually changing the name of the foundation to give a more accurate description of our collections and work. We have not reached a decision, yet. We want to keep our acronym AFU but somehow also perhaps include words like fortean, paranormal or unexplained. The board will present our new name when we initiate our new AFU homepage this summer.

AFU has a complete collection of Proceedings of the Society of Psychical Research from 1882-