Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ernest Edkins, Lovecraft's Friend

There is a long article on Amateur Journalism anecdotes by Paul J. Campbell at (click here).

There was a long and interesting correspondence with Howard Lovecraft, brilliant amateur and writer of weird tales; there were literary contributions to Hyman Bradofsky's peerless amateur magazine, the “Californian”; there was a visit to George Macauley in Grand Rapids, Mich., and with Helm Spink and his father in Washington, Ind., and an all night session with Graeme Davis and a luncheon with Ernest Edkins at the Electric Club in Chicago. There was a wildcat oil trip to East Texas with Herbert P. McGinnis of West Virginia (another of my recruits), on which Sam Schilling and his charming wife were visited in Kansas City, and in 1935 Paul Cook, who shared with me the distinction of being called “a literary blacksmith,” came out to East St. Louis and helped me publish the Canteen News for a year.

There is precious little else I've found on Mr. Edkins. {CP}

1 comment:

Chris Perridas said...

For safe keeping (internet links disappear often) ...


Official Publication of The Fossils, Inc., Historians of Amateur Journalism

Volume 102, Number 2, Whole Number 327, Glenview, Illinois, January 2006


Dennis R. Laurie

Readers' Services Specialist

Department of Newspapers and Periodicals

American Antiquarian Society

Worcester, Massachusetts

My first encounter with Nellie Williams occurred during the summer of 1987 when I was doing research in preparation for an exhibit on the little-known hobby of amateur journalism in nineteenth-century America, the pursuit primarily of young people to edit, publish, or contribute literary pieces to, small newspapers of their own. Nellie Williams was credited by Truman J. Spencer and Almon Horton, the two principal historians of amateur journalism, with editing and publishing perhaps the most successful amateur newspaper of the period, the Penfield Extra. She also set the type and operated the press.

When I learned that Vince Golden, Curator of Newspapers and Periodicals, had purchased from a dealer in New Jersey a run of sixty issues of the Penfield Extra, which he had acquired in Rochester, New York, I became quite excited. The American Antiquarian Society's file of this amateur paper consisted of just two issues. And only one complete file is known to be held by an institution.

I should like to share some biographical details about the life of Nellie Williams that I have gleaned from reading histories, reminiscences (such as Thomas G. Harrison's The Career and Reminiscences of an Amateur Journalist, and a History of Amateur Journalism, published in 1883), and issues of Nellie's own amateur newspaper. Nellie Williams was born on November 21, 1849, and lived in Penfield, New York (located near Rochester). For a pastime as a young girl she learned to set type in the small printing office owned by her older brother. After her brother enlisted in the United States Army early in the Civil War, he left Nellie in charge of the office. On December 28, 1861, she commenced publication of the Penfield Extra, with the subtitle Little Nellie's Paper. Nellie was twelve years old at the time; she included the following about herself in the publisher's box of the newspaper: “A little Lass not yet in her teens who is the sole Editress, and Compositor, and probably the youngest Publisher, and Editress in the world. The reader will of course overlook a little bad spelling and typographical errors.” A copy of Nellie's small weekly newspaper of four pages could be purchased for two cents, and a yearly subscription would cost the patron fifty cents. Nellie actively solicited advertising for her paper and sought exchanges with “professional” newspapers, and she reported on local news events and always included on the first page of each issue brief accounts of the weather in the Penfield area. The Penfield Extra achieved a circulation of more than 3,000, quite an accomplishment for this enterprising youth.

During 1863 at the age of thirteen, Nellie visited the offices of many editors in the western part of New York State. It was a triumphant tour. Much attention and even gifts were lavished upon her, and glowing articles about Nellie appeared in the pages of numerous newspapers, which led to increased circulation beyond the Penfield area. Tragically, Nellie's brother never returned; he was killed on a Civil War battlefield. However, Nellie continued her paper until 1866, when the cost of purchasing paper supplies became too much of a financial burden. Sadly, Nellie Williams died on June 15, 1875; she was just twenty-five years old. But what a legacy! With a sense of pride, Nellie included the following statement in one of the issues of the Penfield Extra: “Very many young boys and girls have been stimulated by reading my paper to go to work at the type case.”

The Fossil thanks Mr. Laurie for this excellent article and the accompanying illustrations, which also appeared in the American Antiquarian Society's publication “The Almanac.” The American Antiquarian Society possesses the premiere institutional collection of nineteenth-century amateur journals, comprising over 55,000 individual issues. The collection was fostered by Worcester amateur journalist Frank Roe Batchelder (refer to our October 2005 issue) in its early years and greatly increased by the bequest of the collection of Truman J. Spencer in 1944. Today, Vincent Golden and Dennis Laurie are continuing to work to preserve and to increase the wonderful collection of amateur journals at the Antiquarian Society. As reported in The Fossil for April 2005, the Antiquarian Society has under development an on-line catalog of its nineteenth-century holdings of amateur journals: amateura.htm.



Guy Miller

Joseph A. Diachenko will no doubt be remembered more for his robust essays in his Bent Bodkin and Gazebo News than for his other interests in amateur journalism. Nevertheless, for the moment, at least we choose not to forget those other activities in both the NAPA and The Fossils. An enthusiastic servant to NAPA's needs, Joe performed as Official Editor, President, Chairman of the Bureau of Critics, and printer. As a loyal Fossil, he also did the duty as our printer, and in addition answered the call as our Official Editor plus several terms as Secretary-treasurer. Add his warm friendship and you will agree that we, indeed, shall miss him for a long time to come.

Another avid Fossil fan was our late member of our Board of Trustees, Jerry F. Killie. Always a background supporter, Jerry will be remembered by those of us comprising our official family for his thoughtful counsel as well as his anonymous contributions to The Fossil Fund and other causes, especially that of covering the dues for Fossil members who were no longer in a position to do so themselves.

Two other former Fossils with whom some of us had fruitful contact, mainly through NAPA affiliation, were Joseph Gudonis of The Lost Chord fame and Alan Harshaw, publisher of Alan's Alley, and other journals. At the risk of sounding trite, we say that our beloved hobby of amateur journalism has been enriched by their having dropped by.

One Fossil and NAPA member, Stan Oliner, continues to enrich us through his devoted activity in these organizations. A former President of The Fossils, Stan is currently carrying on as our Secretary-treasurer. Those of you who are in possession of our centenary One Hundred Years of the Fossils will read about his extensive involvement in the preservation of the Library of Amateur Journalism which for a time he kept stored until a more permanent place could be found for it. Later, through his efforts, he and LAJ Librarian Mike Horvat salvaged a large portion of the late Willametta Keffer's collection and saw its safe arrival at the LAJ then situated in Stayton OR. He was obviously an appropriate choice for the LAJ committee which oversaw the move of the collection to the University of Wisconsin. We are honored that he has agreed to serve on the Board of Trustees as a replacement for the late Jerry Killie. And while he will still act as Chairman of the Gold Composing Stick Committee with members Tom Parson and Les Boyer, we must find a Fossil to assume the duties of Secretary-treasurer. And, though our ranks are thinning with too few souls with the required stamina from whom to choose, we remain optimistic; for it has always been our good fortune that when duty has whispered low, “Thou must,” someone has always replied, “I can.”

Turning to another of our members who could and did, it was my joy finally to have the opportunity to make a special award to member Ken Faig, formerly Fossils Historian and our current Official Editor who, as Chairman of the LAJ Committee, demonstrated outstanding initiative in successfully engineering the transfer of our Library of Amateur Journalism to its present home at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Urged on by the members of the LAJ Committee and Board of Trustees, I asked Fossil Jack Scott of Mt. Vernon OH to design a pair of bookends just for Ken. The result was a set composed of wood type which spells out his name. I think that Ken was pleased to behold this unique tribute.

Finally, I must tell you how gratified I am that more of you are coming forth with orders for our centennial. We are asking $15 for our One Hundred Years of the Fossils. Ten dollars of your donation goes toward the publication of our official organ The Fossil. Please make your checks payable to Guy Miller, 2951 Archer Lane, Springfield OH 45503-1209. Thus far, orders have come not only from Fossil members, but from other ajays as well. Thank you all!


Joseph A. Diachenko

Fossil Joseph A. Diachenko, 70, of LaPlata, Maryland died on October 25, 2005. Joe joined NAPA in 1983 and served as President in 1990-91. He published Gazebo News.

Joe served with the air force in Germany during the Korean War, and was buried in Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery in Cheltenham, Maryland. Joe is survived by his wife Sandra, three children, and two much-loved grandchildren. Joe's grandchildren were often featured in Gazebo News. He passed away on the first birthday of his granddaughter Anastasiya. Joe's son J. [Joseph] Damien Diachenko has also been active as an amateur publisher and distributed a final issue of his father's Gazebo News in NAPA's December 2005 mailing.

Joe was a patriot as well as a family man. He believed strongly in the right to bear arms and the duty to defend liberty. He could write with belligerence of opposing views, but he could also write with great tenderness, both of fellow human beings and of animals. Joe's strong sense of humor was also amply revealed in his writing.

Joe will be missed in the amateur ranks.

J. F. [Jerry] Killie

Fossil Trustee Jerry Killie of Hoffman Estates, Illinois died on October 11, 2005. He was in his upper sixties.

Jerry came from an academic family. He was knowledgeable in many fields, particularly printing and book-collecting. He had one of the finest collections of printing books in private hands. He was a member of a number of printing and book-collecting organizations, including the Typocrafters and the Caxton Club.

Jerry joined NAPA in 1985, sponsored by Vic Moitoret. He had also been active in amateur journalism years earlier. He boxed the amateur titles he considered most notable individually, and kept the rest of his amateur journals in the original bundles.

As a Fossil Trustee, Jerry was actively involved in the effort to find a new home for the Library of Amateur Journalism in 2004. He was pleased that LAJ finally found a home at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, since he felt that LAJ should have a central location. Jerry loved to talk to fellow amateur journalists on the telephone, and many amateurs will recall his calls.

Jerry was a benefactor of the amateur journalism hobby in many ways. We will pass over his generosity since he always wished for anonymity as a donor. Jerry and his rich knowledge of printing will be missed in our hobby.

The Fossil thanks Bill Boys's “NAPA Email News” for information used in these notices.


Paul J. Campbell

(Reprinted from Courage: Official Magazine of the Fraternity of the Wooden Leg (vol. 2 no. 13) for December-January 1941-42.)

I discovered amateur journalism through the National Amateur Press Association in June 1902, when as a farm boy with a yen to write, at the age of 17, I had succeeded in getting a story published in the “Stub-Pen,” a semi-professional magazine brought out by a literary club in Minneapolis, Minn. Like Edgar Lee Masters, I had found the stories in the Chicago “Weekly Inter-Ocean” inspired me to try my hand at writing, but unlike Masters I did not go to Chicago and ask the Inter-Ocean editor for a job. I got to Chicago years later to find Masters busy in his State street law office, deep in writing “Mitch Miller,” so busy, in fact, that I did not ask him to act as judge of a Laureate Contest, but proceeded to the Cunard building on Dearborn street and persuaded Clarence Darrow to be the judge. He came down to the Atlantic hotel a month later when our convention was in session, and made his report in an excellent talk. That was in July 1917.

When Louis M. Starring of Grand View, Tenn., saw my story in the Stub-Pen, sent me a copy of the National Amateur and his own paper, the Reflector, and invited me to join the National Amateur Press Association, I lost no time in sending in my dollar and my manuscript, as a credential. An applicant for membership is required to have “an original composition published in an amateur paper.” Starring published my doggerel about “Seventeen Year Locusts” in his 4-page 7x10 paper the Reflector, and invited me to become co-editor, an invitation I also accepted. He was a kindly young man of considerable culture, who lived in East Tennessee. He was nearly blind and had little money, but had enjoyed the Nashville convention of the N.A.P.A. in 1901, and found in amateur journalism an escape from the drabness of his life.

By way of preparation for amateur journalism, I had worked at publishing lead pencil papers for family circulation, before I went to school, and by the time I was in the fifth grade I was turning out pen and ink copies of the “Mississippi Steamboat News” dedicated to Sharon school's most ambitious play project, a ditch across the school yard which served to float what we fondly thought were effigies of the steamboats we read about in “Tom Sawyer” and about which my great uncle, who lived at our house, liked to spin yarns.

One of my readers, I recall, requested that my pen and ink journal “tell how to run the boats without getting your feet wet,” a request I was never able to satisfy, as I was not yet aware of the sage advice: “Hang your clothes on a hickory limb, but don't go near the water!”

The News closed its career by the teacher's request, which I took as a flattering compliment. Much was being said at that time about the farm pest, English sparrows, so I conceived the idea of running a serial story entitled “Snatchen-corn,” wherein I described the counter revolt of the sparrows against the efforts of the farmers to exterminate them. Some of my readers became so much more interested in the weird flights of my imagination, than they were in studying their lessons, that the teacher did away with the competition.

The Ridgefarm Republican, our local weekly, published my report of a trip to the Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1901; the Orange Judd Farmer and Farm Life, both published in Chicago, had printed brief contributions from my typewriter; the Home Journal of Lafayette, Ind., and the Bohemian of Ft. Worth, Tex., had published stories of mine before I discovered amateur journalism, and I had about a bushel basket full of manuscripts that had been accumulating rejection slips from all over, so I was ripe for the N.A.P.A. and its hundred amateur papers.

The Prince of Hobbies

The National Amateur Press Association, and the United Amateur Press Association which I also joined a little later, were made up of boys and girls with a desire to write, many of whom published small papers or magazines which were circulated among the members and their personal friends. The associations held annual conventions, conducted stories, poems, essays, sketches, and histories. They each had a department of criticism which gave helpful advice, and a Manuscript Manager whose duty it was to get members' literary effusions published. The social side of these conventions was an attraction, and there was keen rivalry for the various elective offices each year.

After being in the N.A.P.A. for a year, I took a hand in the campaign of 1903, and got myself properly jumped upon from Boston to San Francisco. But some prominent amateurs came to my defense, and for the next three years amateur journalism was the most important thing in the world to me. There was hardly a day passed but what my mail had one amateur paper in it, and sometimes there were half a dozen, and the desire to see my name in print was amply gratified. There was caustic criticism of my crude ideas and inelegant expressions, and there was fulsome praise and ample appreciation for my successful sallies.

“Amateur journalism,” I used to say, while serving on the recruit committee, “is a department of the University of Hard Knocks, wherein we temper the caustic teachings of experience with the kindly friendship of youth, while we learn to write by writing. Within this enchanted realm, greed and monetary gain are banned. We pursue the literary art for its own sake, for the joy of self-expression, and self-development. It is a democratic school where we hold high ideals and help each other. The realm of the amateur journalist is one of the pleasantest byways in the golden land of youth. In it those who have the urge to write will find Helicon days.”

Fellowship in the School of Experience

Outsiders never quite understood the devotion of an amateur journalist to his hobby, they asked what he got out of it? Why he spent money to print papers and to circulate them all over the country to other amateur journalists, when he got no financial return? Some of the uninitiate set this down to vanity, but that was not the answer. I had had the vanity very effectively taken out of me that second year when I published my first amateur paper, a typographical atrocity produced by the local print shop, and which I called “The Ideal Politician,” an impossible name as I soon learned, and the Politician died with the second issue.

Having stirred up a hornet's nest, I brought out the “Scottish Highlanders,” to avenge the literary and political insults that had been heaped upon the upstart editor of the Ideal Politician. A dead-louse printer in Milwaukee took my money and delayed getting out the paper for four months, and when I finally received the 16-page 5x7 it was so full of errors that I could not send it out, but had 12 pages (which was as far as my money went) reprinted by E. L. Fantus, a professional printer in Chicago. Most of the critics were kindly boys and girls, who when they saw what a fight I could put up, when stepped upon, gave me credit for being sincere, at least.

The liking people have for having their better qualities understood and appreciated by those of their own kind, was, and is, perhaps the chief charm of amateur journalism. Having found out what a crude ignoramus I was in the eyes of my fellows, with the publication of my first amateur paper, I was fired with a great ambition to cure as many of those defects as humanly possible. This consumed my time and energy for years─in fact, when you polish off one rough corner, the vantage ground you gain enables you to see another rough spot. Amateur journalism is a powerful stimulant for a writer who wants to know what is the matter with him!

The “Prairie State Journal” was my next amateur paper, printed by a former amateur journalist in Palos Park, Ill., who used 6-point type on a double column 6x8 page, and I published many stories, poems and articles in the several 20-page issues that I got out, quarterly. By the autumn of 1904 I was ready to launch “The Scotchman,” my most ambitious amateur paper, a 7x10 8-point page that ran 12 issues, totalling 312 pages in all. By this time I could write editorial comments without all of them being controversial.

Around Amateurdom

I met my first amateur journalist, Russell L. Joseph, on a visit to Indianapolis, with my mother in the fall of 1902, and my second, Otto A. Kamber, an oldtimer, in Terre Haute, Ind., a few days later on the same trip. I could not persuade my mother to allow me to attend the Chicago convention in July 1903, and there was some grounds for her hesitancy, for when I did get to a meeting of the Chicago Amateur Press Club, later in the summer, riding a cheap excursion to the city and was the guest of Carl Hegart, one of the Chicago members, I added to the merriment of the boarding house table at dinner when asked by the waitress, “How will you have your steak?” not knowing there was “rare, medium and well done,” I answered after painful hesitation: “On a plate!”

A mild scandal had been raised by a Brooklyn recruit who submitted as a credential, a selection from McGuffy's Fifth Reader. This plagiarism inspired me to propose a little group of the Chicago Amateur Press Club, that we start a fund to buy a set of Encyclopedia Britannica for this new member, as a sort of literary bone-yard from which he could draw perhaps more impressively than from McGuffy's Fifth Reader, but Hegart spoke for the group and “declined to lend his name to any such clever folly.”

On this trip I met Amanda E. Frees, Jennie Irene Maloney, and Masie A. McLaughlin, Chicago's girl amateurs, as well as Walter Mellinger, Hal T. Bixby and J. P. Calloway, the two latter being lodge brothers of mine in the boys order called Coming Men of America. Among the younger boys was Charley Zekind, who later visited me at Prairie Queen Grange.

The same summer I made an impromptu trip east with my grandfather who was tempted by an Elk excursion rate to Baltimore. Uncle Joe Cannon was then Speaker of the House of Representatives, and my grandfather and he had been boys together in the little Quaker village of Annapolis, Ind., so we did Washington to our satisfaction, and passed on to Baltimore where I made an attempt to contact an amateur by the name of Walsh.

Grandfather readily agreed that we should see Philadelphia and New York, and in the former I met Will Murphy, then a student at the University of Pennsylvania, and later to be employed by the Ledger as music and dramatic critic. Will Murphy, despite the handicap of a crippled back, was active for many years and was one of the finest examples of the amateur journalist that I have ever known.

One of my first and last correspondents in amateur journalism is Edwin Hadley Smith (he just persuaded me to renew my membership in the N.A.P.A. the other day). At that time Smith and I had been arguing about vegetarianism, and since I couldn't find him on such short notice through his post office box address in New York, I decided to steer my grandfather to the vegetarian restaurant in Brooklyn that Smith talked about. We found the place easily enough but when grandfather saw a dead cat in the gutter in front of the vegetarian restaurant he insisted on going some place else for lunch.

Amateur Journalists' Day at the St. Louis Fair

July 2nd, 1904 was Amateur Journalists' Day at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, and there and then I met a score or more of amateur journalists, the Chicago delegation most of whom I already knew; Seymour, Thalman, Brown, Block and Coble of Kansas City; Boud of Philadelphia; Anson Lindbeck of Sarento, Ill., who came in on the same “Clover Leaf” train with me; and Homer Pickrell of Wichita, Kan., who was later to share a bachelor apartment with me in Chicago while he was on the Record-Herald, and I was on the Board of Trade.

I had met Henry Wehking of the St. Louis Club on a previous trip to the Fair with my grandfather; now I met the rest of the club, A. M. Adams, Will Stoddard, Tommy Thomas and a dozen others. But the meeting I remember most on Amateur Journalists' Day was meeting E. H. Whitaker, part negro, from LaSalle, Ill., The N.A.P.A. had been in controversy about admitting negroes to membership, and I had supported the proposition to exclude them. Now some of the amateurs who had lectured me about “the curse of race prejudice” slipped away and I had to step into the breach and ask Whitaker and his family to sit at table with me, at lunch time, as I did not want his feelings hurt, although I thought him out of place in our association.

Over against the Whitaker incident was the membership of Rosalee Selfridge, daughter of H. Gordon Selfridge, foster son of Marshall Field, the great Chicago merchant. Selfridge had in his youth been an amateur journalist and insisted that his daughter join the N.A.P.A. and publish a paper. She called it, “Will o' the Wisp,” and its contents were mostly junior social notes from Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, where the Selfridges lived prior to the opening of the London store. After that Rosalee Selfridge issued her paper from England, and I remember an interesting article on the November celebration of Guy Fawkes Day. Later, Rosalee Selfridge married a prince and amateurdom knew her no more.

Cleveland Convention Trip

I attended my first convention of the National Amateur Press Association at Cleveland, Ohio in July, 1905. Determined to get my money's worth in travel, I bought an Elk excursion ticket to Buffalo, N.Y. (where the Elks were conventioning that year), and leaving several days early, I visited Niagara Falls, journeyed on to Amherst, Mass., for a brief stop at the Massachusetts Agricultural College from which I had had a correspondence course in agriculture, and on to Boston to meet Charley Parker, Nelson Morton, Edith Miniter, Ethel May Johnston and Laurie Sawyer of the Hub Amateur Journalist's Club, and incidentally to visit Old South Church of Paul Revere fame and climb Bunker Hill Monument and get lost in the mazes of Milk street.

I arrived in New York on the Fall River boat to be met by my friend, A. M. Adams, who had left his Wabash railroad job in St. Louis to work on the New York Tribune, and was later to go to the Hotel World. We had breakfast and while Adams put in an appearance at the office I sought a Lexington avenue composer who had, for a consideration, written music for a song of mine. I found him in due course and was assured that the song was being considered by a publisher─maybe it still is, I've never heard any more from it. At noon, Adams steered me along Broadway and we met half a dozen amateur journalists on their way to lunch, and added most of them to our gang, we ate together and they saw me off on the Mary Powell for the afternoon trip up the Hudson.

Somebody suggested we have a drink in a water front saloon before I left, and agreeable therewith I “split a bottle of Black Bass” with C. Fred: Crosby who edited a trade paper called “Tobacco.” Adams took a white soda, while Charley Heins and Clifford Gregory drank beer. I have only a hazy notion of who the other amateur was or what he drank, but I was to hear a lot about that Black Bass, later on, in a newspaper war between Heins and myself that raged for three years.

From the deck of the Mary Powell I waved to my friends on the dock and remarked to a passenger at my elbow, in what I thought was a cosmopolitan manner, that New York was really a small place after all for I knew only a dozen people in the city and I had met half of them by accident at the noon hour on Broadway. He missed the point, and started to explain to me how extensive the metropolis was.

At Kingston, where the Mary Powell turned back, I disembarked a took a West Shore train to Albany, stopped over at the Ten Eck hotel, and rode the “Empire State Express” to Buffalo the next afternoon, where I bought a lake boat ticket to Cleveland and delayed my dinner by ordering a sherry cobbler, which could not be served until the boat cleared the Buffalo harbor and the bar opened. When it was at last served I looked at it in some surprise, sipped a little of the iced wine and left it to the appreciative waiter. I had learned what a sherry cobbler was.

Elected Official Editor

I thoroughly enjoyed the Cleveland convention. I knew many of the amateurs and all the others through their papers or through correspondence. There was Warren Brodie, dean of the Cleveland amateurs, who had published a splendid volume of the National Amateur; there was Tim Thrift whose magazine, the “Lucky Dog,” was the artistic publication produced by the fraternity; there was Feather and Fingulin and Ziegler, and there was “Bill” Nye, a Cleveland (girl) who evaded me when I made a trip back to Cleveland to following winter to see what she was really like.

There was Bertie Klump, a New Jersey girl, whom I sat next to during the election, and who ribbed me about my mispronunciation of the name of her paper, “Caprice.” When the election of the Official Editor was announced, the bored Bertie turned to me and asked, “Who was it?” Then she stared incredulously while I got to my feet and made an halting speech of acceptance, for I had just been chosen for that coveted honor, when the two announced candidates were deadlocked.

John T. Nixon, of Crowley, La., an old timer and author of a History of the N.A.P.A., then a professional newspaper publisher, had placed me in nomination, and friends from all over had voted me into the Editorship. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

That evening at a summer garden performance of The Mikado, Edwin Hadley Smith had primed the “Lord High Executioner” so when he read the names of the “High Officials” they included President Thrift and Official Editor Campbell, for Tim Thrift was to be my chief, and we got on famously throughout the ensuing year. The Chicago amateurs were there in force and I met and liked Vida Combs, one of the new members.

A Plunge in Printer's Ink

Returning to Danville, Illinois, I set about finding a shop in which I could get the National Amateur printed. The official organ was a 9x11 page paper in those days, and there were only two shops in town that could handle it, and fate decreed that I pick the weak sister. W. R. Jewell, the publisher of the Danville Daily News, was Joe Cannon's campaign manager, whom I had met with my grandfather many times. He had printed some of my stuff in the paper and he now passed me on to his job printing department which he had just sold to three printers, Bridges, Park and Stuebe. They had two rather large rooms behind the newspaper presses, in the basement and under the clattering linotypes on the floor above, with an entrance down the alley. But the smell of printers' ink fascinated me.

When Bridges was elected Fire Chief, I bought his third of the shop for $1,500. The September number of the National Amateur appeared only a few days late, but there was hardly a page that wasn't marred by typographical errors. The proof reading was wished off on me and I couldn't read proof. After it was printed I dreaded to look at it, some fresh error bobbed up to stare at me each time. A critic in New England remarked that “Campbell's printer ought to be shot.” He also said Paul Cook and I were “Literary Blacksmiths.”

Our linotyping was done by the newspaper operators after hours, and nearly every time you corrected one error two would show up when the slug was reset, and we were always running late. The customers had to have their work on time, I was just a partner and could wait. I had begun the year hoping to make a record with my six issues of the National Amateur. I made a record in two ways, I did publish a volume of 120 pages which placed me in the upper brackets for quantity, and I perpetuated more typographical errors in my volume, perhaps, than had ever been perpetrated in the official organ in the previous years of its existence.

Youthful enthusiasm is a wonderful thing, for I liked that shop of “the printer who ought to be shot,” so well that I put ten thousand dollars of my inheritance into it for a new building with north skylights, and into first payments on new equipment for which it had but little use. Park, the managing partner, thought you got business by virtue of being well equipped for it. After writing my personal check for our payroll of 26 union employees for a while, I suspected that he was wrong and bought him out. Stuebe, the remaining partner, was unhappy and grouchy without his pal, so I bought him out, and had the white elephant to myself for two years, during which time with Adams and Wehking I launched the “Passing Show,” a professional news review, an idea which since been quite successful, but we did not go at in a large enough way, and when the Teddy Roosevelt gold panic came along, I sold out my equity in the printing and binding plant to the thrifty German language newspaper, the Herald, taking a thirty thousand dollar loss. Even so, that white elephant I had concocted in my youthful enthusiasm for printer's ink, broke the Herald's publisher and sent him into bankruptcy.

I Start Out to Conquer the World

The 1906 convention of the National Amateur Press Association was held in Philadelphia, and I ran into several snags in my pre-convention plans. Having inherited some land and money from my grandfather, I planned to round out my education and bring my literary career into blossom by a trip around the world. In those days I had no doubt but that I would, sooner or later, write the great American novel. An around-the-world tour should, I reasoned, make this occur sooner. I was just 21 and romantically inclined and seeking a sympathetic help-mate to share my dream of life and the literary distinction which I meant to win.

My attempt to attain story-book love with a Quaker girl with whom I had grown up, had failed. My dreams were not real to her. Tommy Thomas, of the St. Louis amateurs, had gone to New York and married while I admired from afar. “Freezette” [Amanda Frees─ed.] of the Chicago amateur press club had given me council in the Tommy Thomas matter, and when Tommy had flown I turned to Freezette and tried to persuade her to join forces with me, get married in Washington after the convention and start immediately on a honeymoon trip around the world.

My mother was actively opposed to my plan; Dad was neutral and rather amused by the family rumpus I had stirred up. But telling the Quaker girl about my plans and one-way ticket to Philadelphia was a hard job, and that night I got home very late and quite hungry. It was late June and Dad had been fishing in the Wabash, and there were slabs of cold fried catfish on the kitchen table. I ate heartily. I awoke late next morning with a revolt in my stomach. I could eat no breakfast. This was the day of my planned departure. I walked a mile across corn fields in the broiling sun for a last conference with my farm foreman, Bert Hughes. When I started back toward the house a black blankness engulfed me; for the first time in my life I had a sun stroke. Hughes carried me to the shade of a cottonwood and revived me with the contents of his water jug, and I managed to get back to my room on my own power. I stayed in bed for 24 hours, missing the afternoon train for Chicago that I had planned to take.

Next day Dad took me to an Indianapolis train that connected with the Pennsylvania Express for Philadelphia. The convention was in full swing when I arrived for the second session. Politics were seething, I had just made an activity record of 354 separate articles published in the amateur press during the year. It was a tradition that the retiring Official Editor be elected President. I was side-stepping the Presidency for the honeymoon trip around the world, throwing my support to Will Murphy, who I thought deserved the honor more. But it took a lot of side-stepping at the convention and I hardly had any time I could call my own. Freezette was very popular, a talented writers, amateurs from all over crowded to see her. I got only a brief word with her during the convention in a Belleview-Stratford hotel corridor. “I'll wait at the Roycroft Inn till I hear from you,” I said, and she nodded as a group of friends whisked her away, and the proxy committee claimed me. She was going to the banquet with Tim Thrift, the retiring President, so I took M. Beulah Ferguson, of Baltimore, one of my recruits.

Losing a Girl and Winning a Cup

Considering the circumstances, I still think my toast at the banquet was a good one. I ran across it the other day, scribbled in a youthful hand on small sheets of Belleview-Stratford's social stationery. In it I paid my last formal tribute to “The National Amateur.” It was scoffed at as a “painful pause” by a disciple of broad wit, but in that toast I paid tribute to Amateur Journalism (as I am endeavoring to do in this article) for what it had done for me, and I like to think that the sentiments I voiced then had been shared by many amateurs before me, and would be held by many more yet to come.

Finding that old bit of manuscript, which I carried in my cuff to the banquet, is perhaps the reason for my writing this. I have long wanted to picture Amateur Journalism as I knew it. Thought this attempt seems inadequate some of the high-lights may register and be passed on to a new generation. The National Amateur Press Association is still going strong though most of the members of my day are gone. The young writer, the young in heart, the keenly alert to life with the literary urge will find there fellowship and fun and fulfillment within its ranks. The editor [Campbell was himself editor of Courage─ed.] will be glad to supply information to those who wish to join.

Friends who wanted to elect me president of the National Amateur Press Association at the Philadelphia convention, when I declined, elected to present me with a sterling silver loving cup, which rests on my desk as I write. It is inscribed: “Philadelphia 1906, to Paul J. Campbell for distinguished services to the National Amateur Press Association.”

After the convention closed I spent a day at Atlantic City and then went to East Aurora, N.Y., to wait at the Roycroft Inn. I got better acquainted with Elbert Hubbard, I wrote an essay on “The Prince of Pessimists” for Edward Cole's paper, and was in a fair way of becoming a pessimist myself, while waiting for a message that did not arrive. At the end of two weeks I went to Chicago and learned that the honeymoon trip around the world was off. Freezette was going to marry Tim Thrift.

I was very much at loose ends for a while. The desire to visit foreign lands vanished. The high ambitions were unhorsed for a while and I felt small enough to consider oblivion had not the water of Lake Michigan, along Chicago's filled-in shore line, been muddy enough to repel me. I bought an Oldsmobile and started down state, stopping at Pontiac to see a visiting amateur who had sent me a post card. I spent a day at the print shop in Danville reading a basketful of mail, then on to St. Louis where I stopped for six weeks palling around with Stoddard and Wehking. In the autumn I went to Wichita, Kan., and in November married Ada Parkhurst, the amateur journalist I stopped to visit in Pontiac.

Once An Amateur Always An Amateur

The years rolled on, some issues of the Scotchman appeared, I attended two Milwaukee conventions, my marriage failed, so did my printing business, I took an automobile agency which was a success but hurt a lame knee in 1912 that put me to bed for three years. Amateur journalist visitors, Edward F. Daas and George S. Schilling, and correspondence with Dora Hepner [later Mrs. Anthony F. Moitoret─ed.], a Columbus, O., amateur did much to keep up my interest in life.

Just before I lost the lame leg by amputation in 1915, I began another amateur paper, “Invictus.” In 1916 I was again at a Cleveland convention where I was elected president of the United Amateur Press Association, and where I met Eleanor J. Barnhart, a talented Minneapolis amateur, whom I married the following year. Together we entertained the Chicago convention in 1917.

Back on the farm after the World War I printed with my own hands my last amateur paper, “The Liberal,” on a hand press acquired from Eddie Daas. Dissatisfied with the first results I called in my old pressroom foreman from Danville, and watched his fruitless efforts through all of a Sunday afternoon. Finally I hit on the scheme of putting glue on the loose adjustment screws at the back of the platen and made them stay put. I averaged a page a day on a 40-page issue in the winter of 1922, and decided that I had learned the printing business from the top down.

Eleanor and I had played at being gasoline gypsies in Florida in the winter of 1921, had been joined by Eddie Daas and Eugene Deitzler, who were en route to Cuba, and we all visited Verna McGeoch in St. Petersburg. There was the Columbus convention of 1922 to which Eleanor and I motored, taking with us her sister, Elizabeth Barnhart, and Eddie Daas.

We built a house on the farm next year in which there was a den for the amateur papers and press, but with the advent of our first son in 1923, the press was moved out to make room for the baby's crib, and that marked the close of my career as an active amateur journalist.

There was a long and interesting correspondence with Howard Lovecraft, brilliant amateur and writer of weird tales; there were literary contributions to Hyman Bradofsky's peerless amateur magazine, the “Californian”; there was a visit to George Macauley in Grand Rapids, Mich., and with Helm Spink and his father in Washington, Ind., and an all night session with Graeme Davis and a luncheon with Ernest Edkins at the Electric Club in Chicago. There was a wildcat oil trip to East Texas with Herbert P. McGinnis of West Virginia (another of my recruits), on which Sam Schilling and his charming wife were visited in Kansas City, and in 1935 Paul Cook, who shared with me the distinction of being called “a literary blacksmith,” came out to East St. Louis and helped me publish the Canteen News for a year.

Now my 18-year-old son, Paul, Jr., stands on the threshold of a writing career. I could hold no better wish for him than that amateur journalism should give him as much as it has given to me.

When oldtimers came back on the membership list, as I have just done, we used to say, “Once an amateur always an amateur.” The old love of writing for its own sake, the friends we made in our youth, the wonderful dreams we dreamed in the enchanted realm of the amateur recall many of us back to sit on the side lines and revel in memories, no matter how busy we are in the professional world.

In the Benjamin Franklin Memorial building in Philadelphia there is a Library of Amateur Journalism, collected by my friend Edwin Hadley Smith, comprising 36,500 amateur papers, 1,100 amateur books, 2,500 clippings from magazines and newspapers, 2,500 photos of amateurs, 3,500 printed relics, and 16,500 catalogue cards. It is a magnificent monument to the Prince of Hobbies.


Ken Faig, Jr.

Paul J. Campbell's account “Adventures in Amateur Journalism” recalls how he met both of his wives, Ada Parkhurst and Eleanor Barnhart, in the amateur journalism hobby. In the early days of the hobby, young men easily outnumbered young women, although there were outstanding girl editors like Nellie Williams. Young ladies first attended the National Amateur Press Association convention in 1885. By the turn of the century, the female ranks within the amateur journalism hobby were increasing─as witness the photographs reproduced on our inside and outside back covers.

The inside back cover reproduces a photograph of the 17 amateurs attending UAPA's convention in Milwaukee in August 1898. Of the 17 amateurs photographed, 10 were young men and 7 were young women. This photograph is reproduced from Thor G. Mauritzen's Chips for June 1942. Edith M. Ericson's article “Away Back When...” in the same issue reveals that 15 of the amateurs were listed on the back of the photograph (unfortunately no key is provided): Miss Ella M. Gill, Miss Anna J. Daas, Miss Estelle Stacy, Miss Amanda E. Frees, Miss Edith M. Ericson, Edward F. Daas, Alf B. Hvale, William C. Alhauser, Benjamin Fuellemann, Arthur Kraus, J. J. Kulk, John F. Miller, Eugene P. Lecher, Samuel De Hayn and G. Wash Darrow. Misses Stacy and Frees were from Chicago while Messrs. De Hayn and Darragh were from Philadelphia.

The outside back cover reproduces a keyed photograph of 53 amateurs who attended UAPA's convention in Rocky Mount, North Carolina in July 1915. (This was the so-called “Hoffmann-Daas” division of the often-fractured United which resulted from controversies surrounding the 1912 convention. This was the division in which Howard P. Lovecraft was active from 1914 until its demise in the 1925-26 official year.) Of the 53 amateurs photographed, 33 were women and 20 were men. Edna von der Heide (1893-1962) (number 50 in the back row in the photograph) had attended her first NAPA convention in Boston one year before this photograph was taken, and went on the great fame in amateurdom as Edna Hyde MacDonald. This photograph is reproduced from Charles W. Heins's The Phoenix for March 1947. The Phoenix was the official journal for Heins's United Amateur Press Alumni Association, another of the alumni associations that deserves its own special coverage. Looking at these young men and women in these photographs, there is little wonder that lifelong partnerships were sometimes forged within the ranks of amateur journalist. In the February 15, 1915 issue of Nita Edna Gerner's The Passing Show, Edwin Hadley Smith published a list of amateur couples which he entitled “The Twos-Ers”:

“A list of 50 amateurs [25 men and 25 women─ed.] who became acquainted through Amateur Journalism and married. Showing where they lived when they met or married and present [1915] address. Arranged in about the order of marriage. (X) means deceased.

“Henry W. Kruckeberg, Minneapolis, Minn., and Jennie E. Straw, Concord, N.H. Now live in Los Angeles, Cal.

“Finlay A. Grant (X), West Gardner, Mass., and Bertha Yorke, Melrose, Mass. Mrs. Grant is now Mrs. Avery, Anoka, Minn.

“John T. Miniter (X), Haverhill, Mass., and Edith May Dowe, Worcester, Mass. Mrs. Miniter lives at 17 Akron Street, Roxbury, Mass.

“John T. Nixon (X), New Orleans, La., and Leola B. White, Opelousas, La. Mrs. Nixon lives at 1023 Avenue G. Crowley, La.

“Truman J. Spencer, New Britain, Ct., and Capitola LeNoir Harrison, Dayton, Ky. Now live at 10 Suffield Street, Hartford, Ct.

“John Herbert Phillips, Chicago, Ill., and Hazel Dean Blair, Indianapolis, Ind. Now live in Mill Valley, San Francisco, Cal.

“David L. Hollub, San Francisco, Cal., and Rose B. Steinberg, Indianapolis, Ind. Address now: National Life Building, Indianapolis, Ind.

“Otto Praeger, San Antonio, Tex., and Annie C. Hardesty, Washington, La. Now live at 1482 Monroe Street, Washington, D.C.

“James H. Ives Munro, New Glasgow, N.S., Canada, and Agnes S. Mungo, Glasgow, Scotland. Now live at 99 Norquay, Fort Rouge, Winnipeg, Man., Canada.

“Albert W. Dennis, Lynn, Mass., and Harriet Caryl Cox, Abington, Mass. Now live at 60 Washington St., Peabody, Mass.

“Edgar M. Hayes, New York, and E. Jean Connell, Washington, D.C. Now live at Pacific Beach, via San Diego, Cal.

“Franklin M. Ayres, New York, and Bertha A. Johnston, Everett, Mass. Now live at 5454 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, Pa.

“Alfred H. Pearce, Manchester, England, and Edith Young, Birmingham, England. Now live at 23 Greenside Lane, Droylsden, Manchester, England.

“Carl A. French, Waterbury, Ct., and Harriet Woodruff Lewis, Torrington, Ct. Now live in Waterbury, Ct.

“Paul J. Campbell, Georgetown, Ill., and Ada V. Parkhurst, Wichita, Kan. Mr. C. lives on R.F.D. 2, Georgetown, Ill., and Mrs. C. is visiting in the state of Washington.

“C. Fred Bretholl, Chicago, Ill., and M. Almedia Thomas, St. Louis, Mo., Now live at 706 East 5 Street, Charlotte, N.C.

“John S. Ziegler, Cleveland, Ohio, and Mary White Morton, Andover, N.H. Now live at 1411 Lakeview Ave., N.E., Cleveland, O.

“Chester E. Crosby, Riverside, Cal., and Carrie E. Schermerhorn, Chicago, Ill. Now live in LaJolla, Cal.

“Ira Eugene Seymour, Kansas City, Mo., and Maisie McLoughlin, Chicago, Ill. Now live in Springfield, Ohio.

“Timothy Burr Thrift, Cleveland, Ohio, and Amanda E. Frees, Chicago, Ill. Now live at 10010 South Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio.

“Jacob G. Kretsch, Milwaukee, Wis., and Agnes Brandt, Pewaukee, Wis. Now live at 712 46 Street, Milwaukee, Wis.

“Frank Austin Kendall (X), Prairie du Sac, Wis., and J. Irene Maloney, Chicago, Ill. Mrs. Kendall lives at 2107 CLifton Ave., Chicago, Ill.

“Frederic E. Ives, New York, and Mrs. Margaret Cutting, New York. Now live at 1920 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, Pa.

“John D. Christiansen, Milwaukee, Wis., and Bess L. Golloday, Kansas City, Mo. Now live at 2423 B East 23 Street, Kansas City, Mo.

“A. M. Adams, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Hazel Bosler Pratt, Brooklyn, N.Y. Now live at 326 Decatur Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Engagements Announced.

“Edward H. Cole, Somerville, Mass., and Helene E. Hoffman, New York.”

Hadley Smith promised that his list was “to be continued,” and in fact he himself was soon enrolled in the list, since he married editor Nita Edna Gerner [daughter of Richard Gerner (1856-1885), one of the founding members of the National Amateur Press Association in 1876]. Another ajay marriage which followed soon after the publication of Smith's list was that of Anthony F. Moitoret (1892-1979) and Dora M. Hepner (1888-1968) on April 9, 1917. Alas, the marriage of Edward H. Cole and Helene Hoffman, ended tragically with Helene's early death in 1919. Their son E. Sherman Cole (1918-1988) later served as President of The Fossils.

By today, the list of amateur journalists who found their spouses in the hobby has many additions and the editor welcomes additional names to bring Hadley Smith's list forward from 1915. Two noted amateur couples─(1) Helen Vivarttas and Sheldon Wesson and (2) Matilda Schabrucker and William Haywood─would be prominent on anyone's list.

Not every marriage made in amateur journalism was happy. John T. Miniter (1864?-1900) and Edith M. Dowe (1867-1934), who married in 1887, were separated by 1891, and as we read in his account, Paul J. Campbell and his first ajay bride, Ada Parkhurst, were divorced. (This may be why Smith's 1915 list has her visiting in Washington state.) The marriage of Anthony Moitoret and Dora Hepner also eventually ended in divorce. Probably out of deference to Dr. Swift, Smith's list does not mention the marriage of Edwin B. Swift and Zelda (“Violet”) Arlington, who met as fellow amateur journalists in Cincinnati, Ohio. Zelda was the first (and only) president of the short-lived Young Womens' Amateur Press Association (YWAPA) in 1886-87. Dr. Swift divorced his first wife (and subsequently remarried) after she fell in love with fellow amateur Frank D. Woollen. An engagement which ended tragically was that of Burton J. Smith and Willametta Turnepseed; Smith was killed in action in World War II and Willametta subsequently married Martin Keffer. Smith and Turnepseed had been co-editors of Literary Newszette, which Willametta continued for many years.

Some marriage counselors opine that it is best to choose a spouse with different interests and hobbies. Working in the same business can also put stress on a marriage. (The trials of trying to make a go of a weekly rural newspaper in 1887-91 may have helped put stress on the Miniter-Dowe marriage.) But in a hobby which for many years was dominated by young men and young women, romance could not help but happen. Many of the lifetime partnerships which resulted were rich and rewarding. Some of these partnerships─like Vivarttas-Wesson and Schabrucker-Haywood─also continued to make outstanding contributions to the amateur journalism hobby.

Looking back at the photographs from the 1898 and 1915 UAPA conventions, it seems to me that idealism, enthusiasm and attraction must have contributed a significant part of the appeal of the amateur journalism hobby for young men and young women. The NAPA conventions held before women were first admitted in 1885, it seems to me, were missing half of the fun!


Leston M. Ayres

President, National Amateur Press Association


(Reprinted from Nita Edna Gerner's The Passing Show, February 15, 1915.)

Having been asked to write the story of the little romance that led up to the marriage of Miss Bertha Johnston to my brother Frank, and not being fully conversant with all the details, I spent a day at their home recently and sought the assistance of Mrs. Ayres. Of course, had I asked for my brother's version of the story, it might have been different, but be that as it may, here is her version in almost the same words in which it was given to me.

“In the year 1903 I went to New York from my home in Boston on a business and pleasure trip. After spending a week in the city I decided to return to Boston, and the weather being just grand for an ocean trip I selected the Fall River Line as the most appropriate mode of travel.

“Time: September─the day before Labor Day.

“As soon as the boat started, I settled myself in a comfortable chair and prepared to enjoy the scenery from the forward deck. Well, the same old story `A girl, a book, the place and a fresh young man.' He smiled and bowed and then passed on. `The girl,' a decorous creature, having been brought up in proper Boston, refused even to smile in return.

“The evening wore on. I went to supper, and so did the young man. Later I returned to my place on the deck─and so did the young man: both to gaze at the stars, the ocean, and to dream. (And occasionally to steal a glance at each other when the other was not looking.)

“The next morning, in my hurry to make the early train from Fall River, I did not have time even to think of the chap who the evening before had presumed to make my acquaintance but with very poor success. However, I had scarcely seated myself in the train when he put in his appearance and took the seat directly in front of me. Nerve, wasn't it! After the train started, newsboys came through and before I could make my selection of papers that nervy young man had placed two in my lap. I managed to thank him. His next move was to ask if I wanted the window opened or closed. As the window was closed, I, of course, promptly wanted it opened.

“After this we both proceeded to read our papers, but as I was seated directly back of him, I will admit that I occasionally stole a glance at the back of his head and decided that I liked the color of his hair, which was then light and curly. Also, there was much more of it than there is today.

“After the train pulled in at the Boston terminal, he tipped his hat and looked as if he wanted to speak, but we were then in proper Boston and nothing more was said. I went to my home and he went I knew not where.

“On my arrival home my sister, Ethel, (now Mrs. Myers) [Ethel Johnston (1882-1971) married Denys Peter Myers (1884-1972)─ed.] invited me to attend a banquet of the Interstate Amateur Press Association at the Nottingham Hotel, but not being a member of that Association and being very tired, I declined. Later, my father insisted that I should go, as Ethel was then very young and I had to play chaperon─but it was there that I met my fate.

“We had only gotten as far as the lobby of the hotel when my sister called me, saying `I want to introduce you to a very old friend of mine.'

“Heavens! How did I ever survive the shock! There he stood, smiling the broadest smile I had ever seen, and he boldly remarked, `Why, we have met before.' Was I angry? No, just mad! And it wasn't half an hour before every one at the banquet knew about the little flirtation on the boat and train, and I was called upon to get up and tell the whole story after dinner.

“That was the beginning.

“When the banquet was breaking up, my sister (then just `Trix') said in a joke to Mr. Ayres, `You may come out to breakfast in the morning.' And he did─arriving at about 7 a.m. After that we met every day during his ten day visit, letters followed, and then─the wedding bells.”


Carol Faig

Dianna D. Shivvers, ed., The Collected Works of Martha Elizabeth Sherwood Shivvers: Volume 1: Fiction and Prose (privately printed, 2005), xxx+313pp.

For Martha Shivvers's ninetieth birthday, her granddaughter Dianna planned to publish a book with contributions from all of Martha's relatives. It would also include a few pieces of Martha's own writings. When she received a “huge box” filled to the brim with her grandmother's writings, Dianna changed the focus of the book; this is the result, a book of Martha Shivvers's fiction and prose.

This is volume one, because not all of Martha's writings could fit in one book. It is a nice introductory volume. A preface by Dianna Shivvers gives the history of the project, followed by Martha' letter to her granddaughter. Then Martha's works, and her life, open up.

The first section, Early Writings, consists of five pieces, primarily written in 1935 for English Class at Simpson College. “Two Wishes,” about college roommates who do not get along, is especially enjoyable.

The second section, Fiction, contains thirty-six short stories. The earliest item with a date is from 1978. Schoolteaching, marriage to Woodrow Shivvers, and raising a family left Martha little time to write, but many years to observe, and much of the fiction is based on her life or the lives of friends. I especially enjoyed the stories about the Woods family. These tales, most of which first appeared in Kitchen-Klatter magazine, give a picture of the author's childhood growing up on an Iowa farm in a family of eight children. The joys of childhood balance the real hardships of farm life: drought, blizzards, illness. “Bring Me a Memory,” originally published in The Boxwooder, brings us up to date with the grown Woods children; we finally learn Little Sister's name─Emily.

Part three, Prose, covers a wide range of topics. Here we learn more about Martha's life through autobiographical pieces and biographies of her ancestors. There are other biographies, too─poets, authors, Eleanor Roosevelt. Some articles are inspirational, some historical; one describes birds at the birdfeeder. Each article is interesting.

The last section, About Writing, has advice for the would-be journalist. Some “tricks of the trade” come from writers' workshops, some from Martha's own experience, but it is all practical and helpful.

Each section is preceded by family photographs. Pictures, prose and fiction join to provide a wonderful biography of Martha E. S. Shivvers. Dianna Shivvers's gift to her grandmother was really Martha's gift to her family. My husband and I were privileged to enjoy the riches of experience and of recollection in this beautifully-produced private press book.


Ken Faig, Jr.

There was a surprise gift under our Christmas tree this year─the wonderful bookends handcrafted from wood type by Fossil Jack Scott for the award presented to me by The Fossils for my work as LAJ Committee Chair. I am very honored to have received these handsome tributes, which already occupy a place of honor on the shelves in my library. I have to thank especially the Fossils who served with me on the LAJ Committee─Mike Horvat, Stan Oliner and Lee Hawes. Without their contributions, we would never have reached our goal. Thanks are also due to the librarians who considered our proposed donation and especially to the librarians at UW-Madison who eventually accepted it. UW-Madison Humanities Bibliographer Yvonne Schofer had earlier acquired Ralph A. L. Breed's collection of British amateur journals and contributed to our 1999 survey of institutional collections of amateur journals. Yvonne's knowledge of the subject was critical to our entree to UW-Madison. The final legwork necessary to make our proposed donation a reality was done by Special Collections Curator Robin E. Rider─who travelled halfway across the continent in inclement weather on December 1-2, 2004 to inspect LAJ in its then quarters in Stayton, Oregon and then tracked our Yellow Truck shipment like a hawk as it journeyed from Stayton, Oregon to Madison, Wisconsin between December 21 and December 30, 2004. Robin was also responsible for arranging the unloading and temporary storage of LAJ at UW-Madison's Steenbock Library on December 30, 2004. Her staff, including Associate Curator Jill Rosenshield, now has the large task of preparing LAJ for use.

Like many university Special Collections departments, UW-Madison Special Collections has a staff of about a half dozen. Professional standards have to be adhered to in preparing LAJ for use. My hope is that our members and amateurdom at large will be patient as our donee institution prepares LAJ for use. In the donation agreement (reproduced in The Fossil for July 2005), UW-Madison does not make any commitments regarding the time necessary to prepare LAJ for use. Librarians at other institutions, including Lilly Library at Indiana University, told us that they never guarantee collection preparation time because of the uncertainties involved. The reality is that a major institutional library─UW-Madison─made the acquisition decision to acquire LAJ and to accept delivery. Now that UW-Madison has accepted the collection, I believe we can await with confidence the day when the collection will open for use. However long the processing time required, we can be assured that the collection is protected and in the hands of an institution with considerable depth of knowledge of the amateur journalism hobby. The long and short of it is that UW-Madison Libraries would never have accepted LAJ if they didn't believe it to be an important and significant addition to their Special Collections. I hope that Edwin Hadley Smith's dream for permanent preservation of LAJ will be realized at UW-Madison. I plan to carry any available “progress reports” in The Fossil.

At the same time, The Fossils haven't forgotten the other institutions which have fostered amateur journalism collections over the years. The librarians at American Antiquarian Society continue to contribute to the study of amateur journalism, with the nineteenth century as a focus─witness Dennis Laurie's article on Nellie Williams's Penfield Extra in this issue. The “Tryout” Smith collection at the New York Public Library has been well-utilized in recent years. The Western Reserve Historical Society of Cleveland, Ohio has preserved and organized the 15,000 amateur journals donated by Warren J. Brodie (1863-1945) in 1918. The Bancroft Library at University of California-Berkeley recently acquired Hyman Bradofsky's amateur journalism collection. The Fossils hope to continue to foster and to encourage institutional collections of amateur journals, so that the memory of our hobby will be preserved and scholars will have access to its fruits. I hope to keep the columns of The Fossil open to everyone who is interested in our hobby and its history─including amateur journalists themselves, independent and academic writers, and librarians at institutions which collect amateur journals. As amateur journalists, we feel a strong affiliation with all the branches of “independent” publishing─including fine private presses like UW-Madison's Silver Buckle Press (featured in our last issue), small publishers of electronic and print-on-demand books, publishers of “small” magazines, and proprietors of weblogs.


President, Guy Miller, 2951 Archer Lane, Springfield, OH 45503-1209, (937) 390-3499

Vice President, Leland M. Hawes, Jr., 5009 Dickens Ave., Tampa, FL 33629-7514, (813) 837-1314,

Secretary-treasurer, Stan Oliner, 1278 Dexter Street, Denver, CO 80220, (303) 355-9630,

Librarian, Martin M. (Mike) Horvat, P.O. Box 741, Stayton, OR 97383, (503) 769-6088,

Historian, Sean Donnelly, 9037 Tree Valley Drive, Tampa, FL 33615, (813) 889-323,

Webmaster, David M. Tribby, 1529 Fantail Court, Sunnyvale, CA 94087, (408) 737-2193,

Membership Chair, Martha E. Shivvers, 1526 165th Avenue, Knoxville, IA 50138, (641) 842-3212

Official Editor, Ken Faig, Jr., 2311 Swainwood Drive, Glenview, IL 60025-2741, (847) 657-7409,

Board of Trustees

Jack Swenson, Chair; Guy Miller; Stan Oliner


This journal is the Official Organ of The Fossils, Inc., a non-profit organization whose purposes are to stimulate interest in and preserve the history of independent publishing, either separate from or organized in the hobby known as “Amateur Journalism” and to foster the practices of amateur journalism. To this end, The Fossils preserved the Library of Amateur Journalism, a repository of amateur papers and memorabilia dating from the 1850s, acquired in 1916 and donated in 2004 to the Special Collections Department of the University of Wisconsin Library, Room 976, Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706. Individuals or institutions allied with our goals are invited to join The Fossils. Dues are $15 annually─$20 for joint membership of husband and wife. Annual subscription to The Fossil without privileges of membership is $10. Make remittances payable to The Fossils, Inc., and mail to the Secretary-Treasurer.


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