The New York Times Had A Mistake On Its Front Page Every Day For More Than 100 Years

The New York Times Had An Error On Its Front Page For More Than 100 Years

This may be one of the longest-standing errors in the world of newspapers.

Apparently, The New York Times published a glaring mistake on its front page every single day for more than a century before the error was finally fixed.

As The Atlantic's Rebecca Rosen pointed out in a report Wednesday, the Times' issue numbering was totally off (500 issues off, to be exact) between Feb. 7, 1898, and Jan. 1, 2000.

new york times

On the front page of this Nov. 7, 1900, copy of the Times, the issue number is listed as 15,860. The real issue number, however, was 15,360.

It's unclear exactly what happened, but according to a Times' correction, which was issued on New Year's Day in 2000, the error likely stemmed from a calculation mistake on the part of a careless staffer:

On Feb. 6, 1898, it seems, someone preparing the next day's front page tried to add 1 to the issue number in the upper left corner (14,499) and came up with 15,000. Apparently no one noticed, because the 500-issue error persisted until yesterday (No. 51,753). Today The Times turns back the clock to correct the sequence: this issue is No. 51,254.

Thus an article on March 14, 1995, celebrating the arrival of No. 50,000 was 500 days premature. It should have appeared on July 26, 1996.

Oh snap!

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Before You Go

Jill Abramson, executive editor

New York Times

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