AJ History

First 100 Years

Preface—Edna Hyde McDonald

In the Beginning—Burton J. Smith


The Next Hundred—Harold Segal

The Moving Finger

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

The founding fathers of our fraternity were wise in the selection of its name. You will note that they did not call it the National Amateur Literary Society. That would have condemned us to the production of books and written compositions of the kind valued for form and style, which is the classic definition of literature according to Oxford, and very well might have sunk us without a trace during the first decade of our existance. Nor did they call it the National Amateur Writers Guild, limiting us to scribbling of one kind or another, and relegating to limbo all our readers, lusty printers, crafty politicians and social butterflies.

They baptised us the Amateur Press, and thus let out all the seams, giving us plenty of room to grow and stretch in.

They had no grand illusions about themselves or their posterity. They did not expect any great shakes in the membership, then or ever. No "mute, inglorious Miltons," no embryo Shakespeares, no big shots. Just a lot of dubs who'd like to putter around with pen and ink and type, putting ideas on paper, printing the same, exchanging random thoughts with other dubs and annually getting around to knowing a few of each other. No harm in it. Just for the fun. . . .

We are in amateur journalism for the fun of it and, the world being what it is, this spirit should be encouraged. We were not intended to be world beaters. We were intended just to amuse ourselves and each other. And as long as we can do that we have no need of arsenals, guns or forts.

—Edna Hyde McDonald

    Last updated: 01/07/2000