Thursday, December 5, 2013

You'll find amazing ephemera at the book fair

Famous Chicago Tribune of November 3, 1948 was on display at the 2013 Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.
Sometimes people who haven't been to the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair before wonder if it's all books, and nothing else. Not that that would be a bad thing but the book fair is so much more.

Case in point. Ephemera, those pieces of printed matter not intended to last a long time but that give us insight into our past. There is always tons of ephemera at the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair.

Correction type was put in upside down.
Last year, one of our dealers had this gem. The famous 1948 Chicago Tribune edition that prematurely declared that Republican Thomas E. Dewey had defeated Democratic incumbent Harry S Truman for president. Oops!

Story is that the returns were coming in very slowly and early returns showed Dewey would win. Deadline was looming and editors decided to go with a story based on the early returns. In fact, there was such haste to get the edition out that a compositor inadvertently put a five-line correction into the page upside down. Another oops!

When they discovered the major error, Tribune executives sent circulation employees out to recover papers from newsstands and the Chicago suburbs. Naturally, they didn't recover all of them. Staffers took some home and some were recovered from the trash after they had been clipped to indicate they were returns. This particular copy was completely intact and not clipped – a remarkable find!

All of this just serves as an example of the kinds of amazing items you'll find at the book fair. No, it's not just about the books.

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