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...

On March 2, 1962, the National Amateur Press Association lost a bit of its luster, as it always does when one of its "greats" depart. This day it was Vondy, the "queen of amateur journalism." From 1912, her first year in the hobby, she replaced a vice-president—she was the willing replacement for any dropout since then. She held practically every job except that of president, one that she persistently refused many times for private reasons.

She was a poet of exceptional talent, a witty and clever manipulator of precise adjectives and adverbs, an historian of amateur doings, a story teller whose humor included her own misadventures, and the one person who could best describe what holds us together in the hobby. She authored a book of poems, and won many laureates in various divisions.

Born Edna von der Heide, changed to Hyde during World War I, then to McDonald upon marriage, the shortened "Vondy" lived all those years. She was associated with many journals and a frequent contributor to others. She edited Bellette, and previously co-edited The Wag with Helm Spink.

She engineered the NAPA Life Members Fund, which today buttresses the association's treasury against future storms. Vondy gifted memberships to overseas amateurs during World War II financial restrictions and then donated life memberships to Arthur Harris in Wales, Leon Stone and James Guinane in Australia, and Robert Barr in New Zealand. In 1958 the Fossils presented her with the first-ever award of their Gold Composing Stick in "recognition of untold years of friendship and service in amateur journalism."

Tributes and flowers come too late for many, but fortunately, in April 1956, Lee Hawes, of Tampa, Florida, dedicated a 48-page issue of Gator Growl to Vondy. It celebrated her 50th anniversary in the hobby and contained a typical four-star collaboration by L. Verle Heljeson and Thomas B. Whitbread, "The Planet Vondy," another by the talented James Guinane and reprints of some of her special poems and articles.

    Last updated: 01/16/2000