Haverhill Native Goudsward Joins The Fossils, Group of Historians of Amateur Journalism

The two people most responsible for having a gravestone placed for Charles W. “Tryout” Smith, David Goudsward and Derrick M. Hussey talk after 2018 ceremonies at Hilldale Cemetery. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill native and author David Goudsward was recently named to the board of The Fossils, the venerable organization of historians of Amateur Journalism.

The Fossils was founded in 1904.

“Haverhill played a pivotal role in organized Amateur Journalism—creating small magazines, handset type, printed, collated and bound by hand—that were mailed for free to other amateur journalists,” said Gousdward. He pointed to Haverhill’s Charles W. “Tryout” Smith, who produced the “Tryout” for more than 30 years from his home on Groveland Street.

Goudsward explained amateur journals were incubators for future professional writers, most notably H. P. Lovecraft. “Considered a hobby of teens or young adults, those that left organized fandom were ‘fossils,’ a term that evolved describing those who study, preserve and promote the rich tapestry of this forgotten corner of the creative arts. Other writers who first cut their teeth in amateur journalism across the country include Robert E. Howard, creator of “Conan the Barbarian;” L. Frank Baum; Jesse Root Grant, son of President Ulysses S. Grant; and Thomas Edison.

Closer to home, Exeter’s James D. P. Wingate started with a journal published in a shed, with handset type and hand-stitched binding in the National Amateur Press Association, parlaying that into a professional newspaper career, including manager of the Boston Journal and then publishing newspapers across New England. Frank H. Pinkham took a different approach, building his amateur paper’s readership locally to the point he could transition into a professional newspaper, The Newmarket Advertiser, the local newspaper of record until his death.

For more on amateur journalism, the Library of Amateur Journalism, maintained by the Fossils, includes the last 18 years of back issues of their quarterly publication online at thefossils.org.

See also “Amateur Journalism’s Haverhill Run.”

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