AJ History

First 100 Years


The first volume of The National Amateur

Excerpts from accounts 1879 convention

In 1891 at Philadelphia

NAPA's first permanent constitution

Pillow fight

Almost fatal doldrums

1926 marked the semi-centennial

Little remembered giant

The Torpedo

The Mailing Bureau

Library of Amateur Journalism

Ralph Babcock

Presidents' Field

Tryout Smith

Thrift & Edkins


Amateur Press Clubs

Philadelphia Connections

National Amateur Press Association
The First 100 Years: Flashbacks...

The year 1926 marked the semi-centennial of the National organization and great preparations were made to celebrate the anniversary. On July 3, the first day of the convention, the Fossils commemorated the survivors of the founding with a dinner at the Poor Richard Club, attended by forty amateurs, including ten who were there in 1876. They were: James M. Beck, J. Edson Briggs, James F. Duharnel, J. Austin Fynes, Charles C. Heuman, John Hosey, James D. Lee, Evan Reed Riale, Robert W. Smiley and Will W. Winslow.

But the NAPA was in bad shape. The hobby of amateur journalism is one that needs the warmth of companionship. In normal times, little licking flames sprout from the coals of old enthusiasms and of enthusiasms not yet fully ignited. In the varied years there were periods when the flames burned fiercely-but there have also been periods when the gray ashes covered the coals and the fire seemed out.

There was such a time from 1926 to 1928 when Louis C. Wills paid for the National Amateur, and the typo-strewn Tryout was the only regular journal. President Jacob Moidel had only one ambition: not to let the NAPA die on his hands in its 52nd year.

Only four persons attended the 1928 Niagara Falls convention. The next year was not encouraging, but in Boston (1930), the Haggerty-Smith alliance invested $276 in a recruiting program that netted 23 printers and 200 alumni members.

On November 22, 193l, the Amateur Printers Club was formed by Haggerty, George Andersen, Walter Stevenson and George Trainer. Shortly after Harold Segal, Ernest Pittaro and Ralph Babcock joined the informal club, all active printer-editors. In five years the NAPA had climbed from the depths. Niagara Falls, 1928, had four attendees; New York, 1933, had more than I 00. From July 1933 to January 1934, 235 issues of 70 papers had appeared.

    Last updated: 01/16/2000