Friday, May 11, 2012

Townend + Townsend (for Townsend or Townend)

I love this statue, called "The Hiker," which was erected on July 22, 1928, "in memory of those who served their country in the Spanish American War." It's located in Townsend Park, home to Albany's homeless and site of the Homeless Action Committee's annual Sleep-a-thon in the Park. The area is also known for its chess games, especially after nearby Albany Public Library banned such seditious activity from its own premises. A local police department commander stated that chess playing in Townsend Park made him feel "a little good" and that "it reminds you of what a park really should be." And I've always loved that eccentric spelling for Puerto Rico, while at the same time wondering how such a typo, if that's what it was, could have been carved into this carefully designed monument. (The other sides of the base say: Cuba, Hawaii, and Philippines.) It turns out that this was indeed a typo, but a strangely entrenched one that required correction by the U.S. Congress in 1932. It had been using the spelling Porto Rico in all of its documents since the turn of the century when the United States first acquired the territory. Both spellings had been employed by the media. For example, "Porto" was used in the Treaty of Paris, but "Puerto" was used by the New York Times the very same year. According to Nancy Morris, author of Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity: "A curious oversight in the drafting of the Foraker Act caused the name of the island to be officially misspelled." Since the typos Peurto Ric*, Spainish or Spansih, and Memoral* have all been blogged already, I decided to go with Townsend + Townend, two of which were found in OhioLINK today, and 24 in WorldCat. (The overwhelming majority were for the word Townsend, but you may find some for the correctly spelled Townend as well.)

(Picture taken by a friend.)

Carol Reid

1 comment:

Dan the Mountain Man said...

I found this post very interesting. I did not know that about Puerto Rico. There is a Townsend Road no too far from my house.