The Heinlein Prize Trust represents a significant portion of the estate left by Robert and Virginia Heinlein including most of their literary properties. The Trust works to invest and maintain the Heinlein’s assets and apply them to endeavors that encourage the Heinlein’s goals and beliefs, guided by the overriding principle of “Pay it Forward.”
In addition to investments, the Trust has the income from most of the Heinlein copyrights. This comprises book rights (such as the recently discovered Heinlein book, For Us, the Living) for most of the books that are still in print all over the world, audio rights and movie and television options and production. Buying a Heinlein work supports the future, and the goal of a human presence in space, in a direct and meaningful way.
The purpose of the Heinlein Prize® is to encourage and reward progress in commercial space activities that advances Robert and his wife Virginia’s dream of humanity’s future in space. Efforts include: The Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities, The Microgravity Research Competition, The Heinlein Commercial Space Activity Prize, and the “Flight Into the Future” international contests.
The Virginia Edition is the complete, specially bound, collection of Heinlein’s works, commissioned by his late wife, Virginia Heinlein. To ensure each volume is as close to Heinlein’s intent as possible, the text is taken from the last volume in which Heinlein had a hand in the preparation of the text for printing. The Virginia Edition also includes volumes of previously unpublished materials, letters, and other documents. Each volume is introduced by Heinlein Scholar, and author of the Heinlein biography, William H. Patterson, Jr., and Robert James, PhD.
The Trust also is working over the long term to prudently develop its assets. This means we will work with, encourage and support both the Heinlein Society and the Heinlein Archives at UC Santa Cruz.
To this end, The Heinlein Prize Trust undertook and accomplished a landmark project creating a digital archives of 200,000 pages of Heinlein’s documents; scanning, indexing and organizing the collection, and building a proprietary web-based delivery system–the DORA system–to give the public full access to the Heinlein Archives’ collections. The Heinlein Archives online launched to the public July 7, 2007 with the complete collection online by July 7, 2008. At www.heinleinarchives.net, the online Archives has served scholars, researchers, and Heinlein fans around the world with unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Heinleins, their work, their writing process, and their personal lives. Answers to countless questions about Robert Heinlein, his writings, his characters, and his personal ideals can be found in the Heinlein Archives documents.
Also encouraging education in Robert Heinlein’s legacy, The Heinlein Prize Trust provides free access to the Heinlein Archives online to students of Professor Herb Gilliland’s classes on Heinlein at the U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Research grants also have been granted to the Heinlein Archives online to numerous other recognized scholars and researchers.
In 2003, the Trust funded the position of “Heinlein Scholar” at UCSC and gave UCSC a grant to pay for computer equipment to support the scholar’s work. William H. Patterson, Jr. was selected as the Heinlein Scholar. Years of in depth research and writing by Mr. Patterson has resulted, in August of 2010, in the publication of volume one of the definitive biography of Robert A. Heinlein. Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve. More information can be found at the Trust-sponsored author website: William H. Patterson, Heinlein Biographer.
Work also continues through support of the Heinlein Society, an organization whose goal is also to “Pay it Forward,” with one of its projects being to place Heinlein’s books in school libraries to encourage and educate future generations. At Torcon 3 the Trust gave the Heinlein Society a $15,000 matching grant with continuing support in the years since.
The Heinlein Prize Trust also sponsored the Heinlein Society’s very successful educational program, the Educators CD. With lesson plans based on Heinlein’s stories, over 300 CDs have been sent to teachers and librarians as of December 2010. By license of The Heinlein Prize Trust the CD includes complete text of three Heinlein short stories, “The Menace From Earth,” “Tenderfoot in Space,” and “The Black Pits of Luna.” In 2011 even more lesson plans are being developed and written by noted Heinlein Scholar Robert James, PhD, the discoverer of the lost For Us, the Living manuscript.