I have been intrigued by typographical errors nearly all my life," Emory
alumnus Max Hall writes in the preface to his new book, An Embarrassment of
Misprints. "As a newspaper person, Washington information officer, book
editor, and teacher of writing--and simply as a reader--I have seen plenty of
What follows are some of those mix-ups, culled from An Embarrassment of
- "In the spring of 1990 the United States Naval Academy presented 990 diplomas
to its graduating class with `Naval' spelled `Navel.' A representative of the
Academy told me the flawed documents arrived from the printer the day before
the ceremony, and there was nothing to do but hand them out. A corrected
version was later sent to each graduate."
- "According to a history of the Washington Post, that paper once
printed this headline on the front page of its first edition: FDR IN BED WITH COED. Actually President Roosevelt was in bed with a cold, as the story made
clear. Chalmers Roberts, author of the history, wrote that this misprint
probably occurred in 1940, and that the President phoned the paper and ordered a hundred copies to send to his friends. But Roosevelt didn't get his copies,
because the circulation department had scurried around to retrieve the edition
and shred it."
- "On January 18, 1961, the International Edition of the New York Times,
published in London, referred to [the Archbishop of Canterbury] as the
`red-nosed Archbishop' (meaning `red-robed')."
- "W.B. Yeats, in his poem `Among School Children,' mentioned Plato and then
`solider Aristotle,' but the printer made it `soldier Aristotle.' That version
went unchanged in several printings of Yeats's complete poems while he was
still alive, suggesting that he may have decided he could live with `soldier.'
In the edition of 1947, eight years after his death, `solider Aristotle' was
- "When my friend Randolph Fort [who went on to be editor of Emory Magazine]
was appointed Beauty Editor of the Emory University Yearbook in the early
1930s, a misprinted headline in the Emory Wheel made him the `Betuty
Editor.' For the rest of his life his friends called him `Betuty.' "
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