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...

During World War II NAPA's active printers were scattered throughout the world. Fortunately, older members came from the shadows of inactivity to carry on. Timothy B. Thrift, revered for his legendary Lucky Dog, and Ernest A. Edkins, one of the hobby's greatest critics, teamed to co-edit The Aonian, a title carefully selected from more than fifty possibilities.

Thrift and Edkins embarked on what was to be a five-year project of great pieces from amateur journals of yesteryears, together with the best of current writing and comment. Edkins' pen never flowed more fluently while Thrift handset seventeen galleys of type for each 24-page issue. The quarterly appeared regularly until Edkins became ill. Thrift declared "30" to the enterprise in 1945 after twelve issues.

While the Thrift-Edkins "symposium" reprinted famous pieces of the "halcyon days," it also featured personality sketches on Burton Crane, Edward H. Cole, Warren J. Brodie, Paul W. Cook and Edwin B. Hill. Thrift allowed Edkins the bulk of their editorial space and he played it to the hilt. Reviews were scholarly, thorough and never without wit. They were written with the talent and skill of a craftsman and Thrift presented them with the dignity and finesse of a master printer. Never in the National's history was there ever a more perfect wedding of talent.

The arrival of an issue of The Aonian must have been a compelling hour or more of required reading. Behind the Ionic columns on the cover, bordering the "abode of the Muses," were double-columned 6x9 pages, beautiful to behold in monotype Janson.

    Last updated: 01/16/2000