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

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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.”)

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