Sorry, Mom is wrong!

 

As you may know,  the name of the former Connecticut governor, U.S. Senator, Aetna president, and Baseball Hall of Famer Morgan Bulkeley is often pronounced two ways:  BULK-lee and BUCK-lee.    Only one is correct: BULK-lee.

I spoke to Bulkeley’s great-grandson, Morgan G. Bulkeley IV,  who told me BULK-lee is the correct way to pronounce his family name and everyone in the family says it that way and always has.      The Bulkeley Bridge and Bulkeley High School are named after the late governor, and those are both pronounced BULK-lee.    There is some belief that the bridge is BULK-lee and the school is BUCK-lee, but the authority on the pronunciation says that is not true. 

So why do so many people pronounce it the incorrect way?    For some, BULK-lee may be difficult to say.    People who mispronounced the name in 1925 then taught their children this wrong way, and then those children passed it on to the next generation, and so on.    If you grow up being told that is how to pronounce it, you believe it.   That’s why I often hear “my mother went to Bulkeley and she pronounced it BUCK-lee, and they are vehement in their defense of the incorrect pronunciation. 

 

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3 Responses

  1. Don’t forget “Baseball History Alive” is dedicating a bronze plaque on the site of the old Hartford Base Ball Grounds in honor of the Hartford Dark Blues, the team was owned by Morgan G. Bulkeley. He was a pioneer of the early game and once promised a championship to Hartford (in 1875) over their arch-rivlas the Boston Red Stockings. He was a great contributor to Hartfrord and led the Bulfinch 10 in 1917 to save the Old State House from demolition by offering $50 thousand dollars of his own money to start a fund to save the deteriorating building. He was the first Mayor to serve a full term in the building when it was City Hall in the early 1880′s. A great figure in Hartford history. I am glad you cleared up the name pronounciation, being from the midwest I always said Bulk-lee too, and was often corrected. I guess I was right all along.

  2. Thanks for the clairifiction. The fact that some pronounce it one way and others the other always bothered me.

  3. I’m glad you tackled this issue. How about setting people straight (including the folks at WFSB) about Coventry and Barkhamsted? They are pronounced “CUV-entry”, not “CAH-ventry”, and “BARKEM-sted” not “BARK HAM sted”. That’s like calling “GREN-ich” “GREEN-wich” (like the color green). Another thing that drives me up the wall is mispronouncing that river in eastern Connecticut. It is named for the famous river that runs through London, and the Brits call it the “Tems”, not the “THAMES”.

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