Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Transpot* (for Transport*)

It might be easier to spot* a trannie (i.e., transvestite or transsexual) nowadays than it used to be, but there were lots of New Yorkers in the early 18th century who thought they had spied one in their very own governor, Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury. The story apparently has it that one evening a constable for the colony approached and apprehended what he took to be a hooker working on Broadway. When he got "her" back to the stockade, however, he learned that his collar was in fact the governor of the Province of New York. (Supposedly, the governor enjoyed getting out and about in his wife's clothing from time to time. And, being further burdened with an "ear fetish," he even reportedly once urged visiting dignitaries to freely fondle Mrs. Hyde's "shell-like" lobes!) Lord Cornbury and his wife ran up an enormous debt during his tenure in office and the governor was eventually unseated by Queen Anne in 1708. He spent time in debtors' prison until he was able to get out again with the aid of a large inheritance, whereupon he moved back to England and served in the House of Lords. It's a great story, but most likely untrue, according to NYU professor Patricia Bonomi, who doubts the provenance of the portrait (see above) and suspects the accounts of Lord Cornbury's kinky antics to have been politically motivated and flatly false. We spotted 21 cases of Transpot* in OhioLINK and 193 in WorldCat. Transport the correct spelling of this typo into any records containing it that you may come across in your catalog today.

*Speaking of easy to spot, note the typo in the description here. Is that like a transgendered form of "sexting"?

(Supposed portrait of Lord Cornbury, first exhibited in London in 1867 and currently owned by the New-York Historical Society, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

1 comment:

Felicity Pickup said...

Also found several cases of "transporation" while doing this one.