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The History of Amateur Journalism

by Truman J. Spencer

The writing for The History of Amateur Journalism was completed in 1940, although revisions were still being made by its author, Truman Spencer, up until his death in 1944.

The book was published by The Fossils, Inc., in 1957 in a limited edition of 500 copies.

In the 1990s, Martin Horvat put much of this History on-line via his American Private Press Association Web site. This Web page links those sections together in the original order presented in the book.



Foreword by H. L. Lindquist
Biographical Notes by Edward H. Cole
Author's Preface

II--Amateur Journalism: Its Nature and Origins

  1. What Is Amateur Journalism?
  2. Early Unorganized Amateur Journalism
    The Pioneers
    School Journalism
    Exchanging Papers and Organizing
    The Advent of the Low-Cost Press
  3. Pioneer Organizations
    The Earliest Organization
    American Boys at the Vienna Exposition

III--Organized Amateur Journalism

  1. The National Amateur Press Association
    The First Permanent National Organization
    The Long Branch Convention, 1877
    The Chicago Convention, 1878
    The Washington Convention, 1879
    The Cincinnati Convention, 1880
    The Buffalo Convention, 1881
    The Detriot Convention, 1882
    The New York Convention, 1883
    The Milwaukee Convention, 1884
    The Boston Convention, 1885
    First Convention on the Pacific Coast, 1886
    Second Philadelphia Convention, 1887
    The 1888 Convention at Chicago
    The 1889 Convention at Buffalo
    The 1890 Convention at Indianapolis
    The Crisis of 1891 at Philadelphia
    The Convention at Boston in 1892
    Chicago's Most Successful Convention, 1893
    Harmony at Boston in 1894
    A Cry for Youth
    A Political Storm in 1902
    Once More on Calm Seas
    A Woman as President
    Youth Takes the Helm in 1910
    Death in the Presidential Chair
    Lights and Shadows in the Association's History
  2. Rival Organizations, International or Otherwise
    Amateur Editors Lyceum
    International Amateur Authors Lyceum
    Literary Lyceum of America
    Mutual Benefit Amateur Press Association
    Interstate Amateur Press Association
    Atlantic Coast Amateur Press Association
    The Distaff Side
    United Amateur Press Association
    American Amateur Press Association
  3. Sectional Organizations
    The Eastern Amateur Press Association
    The Western Amateur Press Association
    The New England Amateur Journalists Association
    The Southern Amateur Press Association
    South Eastern Amateur Press Association
    Southern Journalists Association
    The Pacific Coast Amateur Press Association
    The Pacific Amateur Press Association
  4. The Fossils

IV--Fruits of the Hobby: Fine Works and Fine Citizens

  1. The Fossil Library
  2. Literary Highlights
  3. The Engraver and Illustrator
  4. The Publisher of Books
  5. The Art of Puzzle Making
  6. Some Distinguished Graduates
    James Montgomery Beck Ralph Metcalf
    Theodore Bodenwein Edith Miniter
    Cyrus H. K. Curtis John Moody
    Josephus Daniels George Higgins Moses
    Charles Sanford Diehl Frank Brett Noyes
    Thomas Alva Edison Charles Scribner
    Edwin Atkins Grozier Henry Gordon Selfridge
    Frederick Eugene Ives Burton Egbert Stevenson
    Henry Edward Legler William Lewis Terhune
    Charles Stedman Macfarland       John Adams Thayer
    Other Amateur Journalists of the Past

V--State Histories


  1. Delegates to the Organizing Meeting, National Amateur Press Association
  2. Convention Seats, Presidents, Official Editors
    National Amateur Press Association
    Eastern Amateur Press Association
    Western Amateur Press Association
    Southern Amateur Press Association
    New England Amateur Press Association
    United Amateur Press Association
    American Amateur Press Association
  3. Laureateships, National Amateur Press Association
  4. Laureateships, American Amateur Press Association
  5. Representative Books by Amateur Publishers