When Megan and I started dating, I made the trip from Vermont to Pennsylvania. It's around eight hours, covering four states. On one such trip, I decided I really didn't want to endure New Jersey, and took an early exit off of I-87 toward the alluring sign 'Delaware Water Gap'. It didn't take me much longer to cut through the two-lane road, perfect for driving a Mini Cooper on, and it took me through a quiet, quaint looking town of Milford. Since Megan and I have married, we make the trip frequently, crossing through Milford a couple of times a year. I like the town, even though I've never stopped.
While writing this column, I've come across the name 'Milford Method' a number of times, but it wasn't until I started reading up on Virginia Kidd that I realized that the Milford that I'd been reading about was the very same quiet town that I'd been driving through for the last five years! Milford, PA, sitting right on the intersection of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, became a hub of activity for the science fiction world for decades, and is still home to the Virginia Kidd Literary Agency.
Virginia Kidd isn't necessarily a recognizable name to anyone from outside of the genre's walls: she worked behind the scenes, and appears between a number of pivotal figures within the genre. While authors get most of the credit, it's important to see the influence of major editors and agents can play in shaping the direction of the arts world.
- Transformations / Gateways to Forever, Mike Ashley. Kidd pops up briefly here and there in Ashley's books, mainly around her short fiction.
- The Futurians, Damon Knight. This book contains a wealth of information about Kidd on her life and influence within the Futurians group, and after.
- Science Fiction after 1900: From the Steam Man to the Stars, Brooks Landon. This book has a good couple of notes on Kidd and her anthology, especially with how it fits into the feminist movements during the 1970s.
- Better to Have Loved: The Life of Judith Merril, by Judith Merril and Emily Pohl-Weary. Merril was close friends with Kidd, and there's some great letters and background information on their interactions.
There's a number of online sources that I found helpful:
- Kidd, Virginia, SF Encyclopedia. This provides a brief snapshot of Kidd.
- About Virginia Kidd, Ursula K. LeGuin. Le Guin's tribute to Kidd.
- Kidd, Virginia, Penn State. There's an interesting biographical page online by Penn State.
- Virginia Kidd, SFWA. SFWA's obituary for Kidd.
Also, many thanks to Ursula K. LeGuin for answering some questions for me about Virginia.