National Geographic : 1891 Apr 30
The American Board on Geographic Names. 39 Germany have adopted substantially the same system of rules. Recent publications from these countries evidence the intention to apply them as rapidly as circumstances will permit. Although we may rebel at first on seeing such familiar names as Cairo spelled with a K, Mecca with double k, and Muscat converted into Maskat, it is believed the general principles adopted will eventually receive acquiescence-perhaps half-hearted at first and as the utility of the system becomes more apparent through its universal adoption and we realize that maps from whatever nation will give us the names of the same places in substantially the same form, our prejudices must give way. Under the provisions of an executive order issued on the fourth of September last, our own Government has virtually adopted the European system in the treatment of foreign names, thus bring ing us in accord with the principal nations upon a most impor tant subject to students and geographers the world over. The executive order constitutes a board composed of ten representa tives from different departments and bureaus of the Government service, to which all questions relating to the work of the board that may arise in the departments are to be referred, and re quires all persons in the Government service to respect the decis ions that may be rendered. The board in its first bulletin, re cently issued, has announced its adoption of the English system for the treatment of foreign names and transliteration into Roman characters, and has presented principles to guide in reaching de cisions affecting home names. These principles will doubtless be added to as new questions arise, so that at no very distant day we may see formulated a set of rules that will be instructive as well as useful in their application. The first bulletin seems to have been received favorably, and we may hope, as the work of the board advances and the importance of the subject is more generally realized, that it will gain the hearty endorsement of the public and a support that must largely increase the usefulness of its labors. In conclusion, permit me to congratulate the society upon its first attempt at scientific exploration in the field. The Mount St. Elias expedition, under the leadership of Mr. I. C. Russell with Mr. Mark B. Kerr as topographer, left Seattle, Washington, in June last, and after spending more than two months on the mountain sides, one-half their time above the snow line, have 6-NAT. GEOG. MAG., VOL. III, 18)1.
1891 Mar 28