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A Letter From The Publisher, Dec. 13, 1943

3 minute read

To answer some of the questions our subscribers have been asking about how TIME gathers, verifies, writes and distributes its news.

Every time an error slips into TIME it is recorded in a little black book. And this week I think you might be interested in looking through some of the entries:

Nov. 16, 1942—Medicine. Dr. Montague F. Ashley-Montagu of Philadelphia no longer has a hyphen in his name.

Nov. 23—Foreign News. The French Pretender now has eight children, not six.

Jan. 18, 1943—U.S. at War. Mississippi is not the only state with a portable electric chair. Louisiana has one too.

Feb. 1—Radio. Alexander Woollcott’s very last words were “I think time may do it”—not “Germany was the cause of Hitler.” We got the wrong dope from the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Feb. 8—Foreign News. The Marseilles Bridge does not open and shut. It is a platform suspended from a high trestle. (Probably it makes the “clanging roar” we mentioned when the platform hits the sides.)

March 22—World Battlefronts. S.O.P. stands for Standing Operating Procedure, not Standard Operating Procedure.

April 26—U.S. at War. The Constitution provides that the President must be a “natural born” citizen, but he does not have to be “native born.” If he had to be “native born” a man born of American parents outside the country could not become President.

May 3—Business. Mrs. Lincoln was not on Lincoln’s funeral train. She was too ill to leave the White House until 18 days after the interment.

May 10—Foreign News. “He has visited . . . the ten provincial capitals of Canada.” Canada has only nine provinces. Were we counting St. John’s, Newfoundland?

May 17—People. TIME says a pair of Sally Rand’s fans were installed in the museum of the Chicago Historical Society. Correction: they were offered, not installed.

May 24—Religion. John Howard Payne, author of Home, Sweet Home, no longer lies buried in Tunis. His body was exhumed and reburied in Washington in 1883.

July 5—Medicine. Cheechako is not Eskimo for “tenderfoot.” It’s Chinook.

Aug. 16—Foreign News. The Mato Grosso is more than twice as big as Texas, not half again as large.

Aug. 30—U.S. at War. “A rainbow appeared in the southern sky.” Whoever heard of a rainbow to the south?

Oct. 4—Books. The cuisine in Butte, Mont., still ranges from “fried bear steak to Cornish pasties”—not pastries. Blame an overzealous proofreader for this one!

Oct. 25—U.S. at War. Chicago’s new subway is not the world’s shortest.Shorter: Budapest, Madrid, Osaka.

Nov. 1—Radio. New Zealanders are not the only people who can listen onthe radio to their Government making laws. Colombians can too.

Whenever such a slip gets by the six or more people who work on each story in TIME—researcher, writer, senior editor, senior researcher, managing editor and copy reader—our 2,000,000-odd cover-to-cover readers let us know about it—fast.


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