Do ‘rough drafts’ belong between hard covers?

Accepting journalism as “the first rough draft of history” (whoever first called it that) may have made me too forgiving of my lapses as a newspaperman. The cause was often  simple carelessness, rather than deadline pressure. But am I being unfair to hold academics and other historians to a higher standard of precision?

I raise that question after happening to Googlebook Claude Kitchin, the Halifax County native who as Speaker of the House House majority leader memorably resisted Woodrow Wilson’s call to enter World War I.

To my surprise I turned up more than 40 books that called him “Claude Kitchen.” Among the more prominent publishers: Harper (2), Norton, Bobbs-Merrill, Houghton Mifflin and Little, Brown….

… University of Arizona Press, University of Nebraska Press, University Press of Kansas (2), University of Chicago Press, University of Arkansas Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, Princeton University Press, Texas A&M University Press and… University of North Carolina Press (4).

Is Kitchin that troublesome a name? Is fact-checking that neglected a part of publishing?