Yesterday, I was looking up some articles about hedge funds in Fortune Magazine’s archives, and I had to use microfilm. Microfilm! The magazine’s web archives only go through the 1980s, and EBSCO’s only through the 1970s. (That’s an electronic database available through larger libraries.)
I had forgotten how to use a microfilm reader and had to have a librarian show me.
One of the articles I wanted was an April, 1966 interview with Alfred Winslow Jones, considered to be the inventor of the hedge fund. It was the first article that really explained the concept to the wide world.
Here’s what struck me, though. Poor Warren Buffett’s name was misspelled even back then: “Stayman, whose wealth comes primarily from a woolen business, also has money in the two other big hedge funds, City Associates and Fairfield Partners, and in Buffet (sic) Partnership, Ltd., a $45 million Omaha operation that uses hedge principles to some extent but that has mainly, and very successfully, concentrated on long-term investment.”
Buffett did have a private fund that eventually was liquidated and converted into the shares of a publicly traded textile manufacturer that he controlled, Berkshire Hathaway. Then, as now, everyone wanted to spell his last name with just one T.
Romance author Danielle Steel has a similar spelling problem. Everyone wants to add an extra e to Steel. Why, I don’t know.
Logue is misspelled all the time. I get Louge, Loque, Loge, Luge, and Logan. (For what it’s worth, it’s an Irish name that rhymes with “vogue”.) When I was younger, it bothered me, but now I’m resigned to the fact that last names are hard and most people don’t misspell names to be jerks. It probably helps my acceptance that I’ve misspelled names more than I’d like to admit. However, I think that if you reach the household-name status of a Warren Buffett or a Danielle Steel, proper spelling should go with the territory. Right?
Magazine fact-checkers should pick up on that, and they should have back in 1966. Of course, maybe Mr. Buffett didn’t take the fact-checker’s call.