Monday, May 13, 2013

Doward Catches On

Many, many years ago (around 30), when Mark and I were working on the Spanish and English versions of Mathematics Today, some galleys came our way, as they often did, with an unexpected error. In some cases,a misplaced letter would make us laugh: the change of "beads and shells" to "bears and shells" was one example. We kept that one, and the book had a nice illustration of a pattern of tiny teddy bears and shells instead of the original beads and shells that made more sense but were not nearly so cute. In this case, it was a name: Howard had been rendered as Doward.

What, we wondered, if we kept the name as Doward, and in fact went further, placing occasional "Dowards" in every manuscript we worked on from that time forward? How long would it take for Doward to enter the American lexicon as an acceptable first name?

Today I was rereading a manuscript in which Doward appeared, placed there by yours truly just once in 350 pages. And I thought I'd check into Dowards to see whether I could find any existing real-life examples. First I looked on LinkedIn. Sure enough, a trio of Dowards appeared. On Facebook, there were more. And here, in the White Pages, I found that Doward is the 37,989th most popular name in America (in 2011), and that the current 118 Dowards are scattered nicely around the country, with a preponderance in Texas, which happens to be the place where Mathematics Today was most heavily marketed.

The Dowards I found so far are of an age to be first-generation Dowards, conceived sometime after we started adding Dowards to textbooks. Who can say how many Doward Juniors there might be after 30 years? I call this some kind of success.


Diane said...

And I helped!

Anonymous said...

Me too! This makes me very happy, for a Monday.