This article is from the archive of our partner .

In 1853, the New York Times wrote about Solomon Northup, the man whose story inspired the Best Picture-winning 12 Years a Slave. The paper spelled his name wrong two different ways. 

Now, 161 years later, the Times has issued a correction on the story. The correction states: 

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. 

According to the Times, the paper found the error when someone pointed it out on Twitter.  Despite the spelling discrepancies—other names familiar to those who have seen the movie or read Solomon's narrative won't look totally familiar either—the article is a fascinating read, especially in the way it describes Solomon's interactions with a "colored girl," who audiences of the film know as Patsey. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to