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    Chicago Tribune November 3, 1948: "Dewey Defeats Truman" Classic Rarity. Two sections, complete. Measuring 17" x 23 1/2", light right edge chipping, else fine. Has the most famous displayable 20th Century "error" headline: "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN". "Dewey Defeats Truman" was an incorrect banner headline on the front page of the Chicago Daily Tribune on November 3, 1948, the day after incumbent United States President, Harry S. Truman, won an upset victory over Republican challenger and Governor of New York, Thomas E. Dewey, in the 1948 presidential election. It was famously held up by Truman at a public appearance following his successful election, smiling triumphantly at the error. On election night, this earlier press deadline required the first post-election issue of the Tribune to go to press before states had reported most of the results from the polling places.

    The paper relied on its veteran Washington correspondent and political analyst, Arthur Sears Henning, who had predicted the winner in four out of five presidential contests in the past 20 years. As conventional wisdom (supported by various polls) was almost unanimous that Dewey would win the election by a large margin, the early edition of the Tribune therefore went to press with the banner headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN".

    The story by Henning also reported Republicans retaining control of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which would work with President-elect Dewey. Henning wrote that "Dewey and Warren won a sweeping victory in the presidential election yesterday. The early returns showed the Republican ticket leading Truman and Barkley pretty consistently in the western and southern states" and added that "indications were that the complete returns would disclose that Dewey won the presidency by an overwhelming majority of the electoral vote".

    As returns began to indicate a close race later in the evening, Henning continued to stick to his prediction, and thousands of papers continued to roll off the presses with the banner headline predicting a Dewey victory.

    Even after the paper's lead story was rewritten to emphasize local races and to indicate the narrowness of Dewey's lead in the national race, the same banner headline was left on the front page. Only late in the evening, after press dispatches cast doubt upon the certainty of Dewey's victory, did the Tribune change the headline to "DEMOCRATS MAKE SWEEP OF STATE OFFICES" for the later edition.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 16
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