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Recipient of the 2007 Gold Composing Stick

David M. Tribby

From the October 2007 issue of The Fossil


Guy Miller

David Tribby and Dean Rea, two devoted activists of our ajay family, were presented awards by the Fossils at the 71st Convention of AAPA held in Portland, OR August 17-21.

David was considered a "natural" for the recipient of the Fossils' coveted Gold Composing Stick Award, a tribute which has been presented but ten times prior since its inception in 1953. For the record, as well as for David's information, presentations were made to Edward H. Cole, Helen and Sheldon Wesson, Harry L. Lindquist, Edna Hyde McDonald, William F. and Matilda S. Haywood, Leland M. Hawes, Jr., Ralph W. Babcock, Harold Segal, Elaine J. Peck, and Victor A. Moitoret.

Actually a gold-plated printer's composing stick mounted on a testimonial plaque, it is awarded to persons for "outstanding merit," i.e., "for outstanding accomplishment in the furtherance of the Fossils as an organization or for unusual endeavor on behalf of amateur journalism...." Without a question, David qualifies in both these provisions. A member of the Fossils, NAPA and AAPA, David has devoted the largest portion of his endeavors to the welfare of AAPA which he joined in June of 1970. David was active from the beginning in publishing and political affairs both as officer and mover and shaker—indeed, one member insisted that David had "from the very beginning...proposed one screwball idea after another." Never mind, David did well by AAPA.

David is noted for his letterpressed journals, namely The Handset Journal begun in 1970—in May of this year attaining its 18th number—and Tribby Tribune which saw its 96th issue in September. More remarkable may be his brainchild Ink Cahoots (name suggested by Helen and Sheldon Wesson) whose first number appeared in 1973. It consists of bound copies of contributions from AAPA members, something akin to the better known publication It's a Small World originated by the late Bill Haywood and now carried on by Mike Elliston of Great Britain. Perhaps it was because Ink Cahoots did hit one member as a copycat of IaSW that he labeled the endeavor "Tribby's Folly" (nevertheless, that member was one of the contributors to the first edition). In any case, David will have the 35th production of Ink Cahoots in our hands before the end of the year, despite the number of other irons he has in the fire.

One of those "other irons" includes his organizing for AAPA a website capable of handling various tasks, including an on-line membership roster; a section giving all the information you ever wanted to know about AAPA along with an application blank; access to issues of American Amateur Journalist; and, lately, a link which enables the interested ajay to access the so-called "E-journals" of such well-known ajays as J. Hill Hamon and Hugh Singleton

David has performed a similar service for the Fossils as our Webmaster. When Fossil Martin "Mike" Horvat announced that he could no longer serve as custodian of the Library of Amateur Journalism and, moreover, would have to disband the American Private Press Association, the umbrella entity under which the Library was administered, David stepped in to salvage aspects of Mike's APPA website and to add other materials to form a new website (www.thefossils.org) for the Fossils, which includes issues of The Fossil. At the NAPA convention in Massillon this past July, Memorial Committee members Jon McGrew and this writer had to get some organized information—and fast—on the late Helen Wesson. And, there it was, on the Fossils website! So, David inadvertently supplied a service to the NAPA.

David also performed another unexpected service to this writer as he was preparing this article. David joined The Fossils in 1977, the same year that he was elected Editor of American Amateur Journalist. In an article for The Fossil (January 1980) entitled "The 250th Issue of AAJ," David related his efforts in attempting to do a follow-up to Fossil Leland Hawes's exhaustive history of the first 25 years of AAPA, "The Stronghold of Youth," which appeared in The Fossil of July 1961. In the process of reviewing David's piece, the writer recalled that it was in Lee's history that he had first read about an up and coming AAPA member by the name of Dean Rea. Thanks to David, that is where this account begins with an individual who was honored with the Russell L. Paxton Memorial Award for Service to Amateur Journalism.