Recently, a collector asked me to verify the presence of a continuing report within the Gazette of the United States  – the Davila Discourse, which discusses political implications of a republican form of government, as perceived by John Adams  in the early days of the young country. Mr. K offered the information that the section title printed within the sub-heading was not accurate, but a misidentification on the part of the publisher. Instead, he referenced an outside scholarly source to identify the sequence of text.
My son was old enough during the 2000 presidential election to be fascinated with the process. At his request, his grandmother kept every newspaper from the week before, through the many days following that strange Tuesday in this nation’s history. Most notable in his collection, however, is the issue that proclaimed Al Gore as the winner. This week I began thinking about the erroneous publication of “news” at historically crucial times.
Various reports of death have been “grossly exaggerated” – in fact, Wikipedia has alphabetically indexed 14 pages of such premature obituaries. In the Rare and Early Newspaper world one of the most well-known gaffes is the Chicago Tribune “Dewey Defeats Truman ”. As I am new and just learning of these, I am appalled to find yet another winding road away from the details I am supposed to be taking care of during my working day.
Ultimately, a thing is not true just because it appeared in print. However, an editorial error can be quickly identified by reviewing the publishing context. Those of this community who have a more seasoned perspective might enjoy sharing some favorite errors with me via this blog, in case an opportunity arises to do a little wandering in my second year…