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National Amateur Press Association
Monthly Bundle Sample, Campane 197, p.2

In 1949-50, when Ralph Babcock was NAPA’s official editor, job changes made him peripatetic. His first two NA, widely disparate in typography and design, were mailed from different locations; the December issue was printed on a proof press kept under Ralph's bed in a Topeka, Kansas, boarding house, and contained two blank pages (representing a missing report from then Secretary-Treasurer Al Lee).

When the March 1950 NA appeared, it was in yet a third set of typefaces, and was mailed, first class, from Great Neck, N.Y, home of Ralph's mother. Furthermore, this March 1950 official organ had only four pages, very few of the usual reports, and a strange feature article puffing a lightweight member named Carrier. Page four had an ad for Tobene, a preparation for skin rash, screaming "Ease That Itch!" In the lower right-hand corner of page 3 was a coupon to be clipped and sent to Ralph with an Official Organ Fund donation, to prevent future advertisements and four-page NAs.

What was going on? How could Ralph, known for occasional eccentricities (and for the "Bull Moose" Scarlet Cockerel, satirizing "craptsmanship" through deliberately exemplifying it) in the past, do this? These mysteries engaged the sharp minds of Vondy and Helm, as a slice of their correspondence reveals.

Vondy to Helm, 4/9/50: "We need a thorough purge at least I think so after seeing the March NA. It is disgraceful.

"I am all for leaving the National to the juveniles and creating a worth-while amateur literary and craftsman

 

    Last updated: 03/9/2001