View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Comment
March 5, 2014

161 years a mistake: New York Times corrects errors in Solomon Northup story from 1853

By Jack Fenwick

The New York Times has corrected two errors from an article first published 161 years ago.

The story about Solomon Northup, the subject of triple Oscar-winning film ’12 Years a Slave’, was first published on 20 January 1853 and misspelled his name as both Northrup and Northrop. The first error was in the headline and the second was in the body of the text.

Author Rebecca Skloot pointed out the mistakes on Monday via Twitter, saying: “Interesting: That original 1853 article spelled Solomon's name differently in headline vs main article.”

The corrections page didn’t name Skloot, but said:

An article on Jan. 20, 1853, recounting the story of Solomon Northup, whose memoir “12 Years a Slave” became a movie 160 years later that won the best picture Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday night, misspelled his surname as Northrop. And the headline misspelled it as Northrup. The errors came to light on Monday after a Twitter user pointed out the article in The Times archives.

(The errors notwithstanding, The Times described the article as “a more complete and authentic record than has yet appeared.”)

Content from our partners
Cannes Lions: The world's best creativity all in one place
L'Equipe signs content syndication deal with The Content Exchange
Journalism can be relentless: But overworking could be fatal

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network