On May 19th, 2001 the Peoria Public Library held a Living Legend Reception for Philip José Farmer in celebration of his having been awarded the Grand Master Award at the Nebula Award Banquet on Saturday April 28, 2001, The award was presented to him by Harlan Ellison. Mike Croteau had helped to arrange it so that many of us serious-to-rabid collectors had all of the information necessary to make plans to attend not only the reception but also to have dinner with Phil and his wife Bette later that evening.
The reception started at 1:00pm with an introduction by Maggie Nelson, followed by presentations from Gloria Harp representing the Illinios State House of Representatives and others. Sue Herring read a proclamation from the Mayor of Peoria, and Tracy Knight read Harlan Ellison's presentation speech from the Nebula Awards banquet. Phil sat uncomfortably while the speakers went on and on about his achievements.
Next, Phil started what was referred to as his favorite indoor sport, signing books... what must have seemed like an endless stream of books, magazines and other items related to his work. While he was signing, Bette was looking at concept art from a project that James De V. Mansfield is working on. After the line finally ran out, Phil took a few minutes to look through Rick Beaulieu's collection of foreign editions, most of which Phil said he didn't remember ever seeing the cover art for.
After the reception was over Phil was going to rest for a couple of hours before going out to dinner with the group. Bette graciously invited the group to come to their house, to watch the tape that had been made at the Nebula Awards banquet while we waited. These pictures show some of Phil's personal library and his collection of the artwork used on his book covers.
After Phil had rested we all left for the restaurant, where we had a great meal and even better conversation with not only Phil & Bette but with fellow collectors and fans.
After dinner Mike asked all of us to sign a shirt that he had made just for the occasion, with many of Phil's books on the shelf. He also presented an identical shirt to the Farmers after dinner.