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Our National Ticket

President: Robert Holman
Vice-President: Sheldon C. Wesson
Secretary: Alma L. Weixelbaum
Treasurer: William H. Groveman
Official Editor: Willametta Turnepseed

Executive Judges:

Edwin B. Hill
Ernest A. Edkins
Charles A. A. Parker

1943 Convention City: Springfield, Ohio

The Table Round
by Edwin B. Hill

In the Golden age – the middle ‘80’s and the early ‘90’s – Detroit was the banner city of amateur journalism, sending forth more papers than any other place of record. More than a score were issued monthly. Those were the days when the Detroit Amateur Journalists Club flourished. The membership included some of the leading lights of amateurdom, nearly all of whom have entered into the Silent Land.

Meetings of the D. A. J. C. were held generally in the parlors of the Antisdel house, long since demolished, the Book-Cadillac now occupying the site. Will R. Antisdel’s father was the owner of the old and famous hostelry, and it was due to this relationship that the parlors of the hotel were infested by a somewhat noisy group of amateurs who met monthly. Later we met at our different homes. Will and I were close friends and companions beyond the pale of amateur journalism days. Both entered the professional field, and on the same paper. Then Will married and our old companionship ended. Later he removed to Philadelphia. His Peninsular Press will be remembered by members of the Fossils.

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Benjamin B. Pelham edited The Venture and won lasting fame for his editorial utterances. His reply to Richard K. Fox was a masterpiece of invective. Fox, editor of the infamous Police Gazette, that ghastly pink sheet, had made an attack on amateur journalism for its condemnation of his paper and the flashy boys’ papers of that day. Bitingly, in beautiful English, Pelham scathingly replied to the New York publisher. Fox made no reply.

Jason J. Ackerman printed several amateur papers on his big Model rotary. Occasionally I was permitted the joy of setting a few lines of type, and further was privileged to “kick” the press while its owner idled. Ackerman one day dug up from behind the Model a little Caxton. “I’ll give you this press one of these days,” he said. The joy of possession, alas! was denied me. Jason left Detroit before his promise was fulfilled. On this little press he had printed his Odds and Ends.

Russell Robb was one of our leaders. He had a Golding Official press and with old-style type he accomplished fine results. His work was perfect. His Mentor won for him deserved praise from the leaders of those days.

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Rudolph Ortmann was president of the club when I became identified with it in 1882. Ortmann edited the Detroit Amateur, which was printed by Will J. Baker, editor of Our Youth. Baker wrote sketches of an ephemeral character over the nom Yesso.

Of the old guard, Pelham and I are possibly the only survivors of that era of boyish enthusiasms. The Club faded into oblivion sometime in the middle ‘80s. Ortmann’s mother passed away and he lost all interest in amateur journalism. Ackerman moved out of the city. Bernard Ginsberg, editor of the Detroit Official, the Club’s official organ, entered into business which occupied his entire time. Robb went East to college. Daily newspaper work was responsible for the elimination of four of the amateurs, all locating on one morning newspaper. One member of the Club studied medicine and became a prominent physician. Of the old members, Pelham alone resides in Detroit.

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William H. Groveman
Hemstead, New York

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