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New York Times corrects mistake - 161 years later

1 of 1 Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave
Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave

The triumph of 12 Years a Slave at this year's Oscars has prompted America's most venerable newspaper to correct a spelling mistake it made a full 161 years ago.

On January 20, 1853, The New York Times ran a story on Solomon Northup, a freed slave who had just published his memoirs which were entitled 12 Years A Slave.

Over a century and a half later, Northup’s book was adapted by director Steve McQueen for his movie of the same name and won the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday night.

However, The New York Times misspelled the author's name in their original piece and ran an article today correcting their error in spelling his name as "Northrop" in the article and "Northrup" in the headline.

The correction on the NYT's website today reads:


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.”)

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