About Reginald T Townsend
Reginald Townsend was born in Newport, Rhode Island on August 3, 1890, with a gold spoon in his mouth. The gold spoon turned to plate some ten years later when the family fortunes declined, and the Townsends moved to New York.
He was educated in New York City and later at Princeton University. Armed with his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912 he sallied forth to earn his living, but that was a year of financial depression and no appropriate position seemed available in New York. So he took a job as a mill hand in the paper mills of Price Brothers & Company of Canada and set out for the little town of Kenogami, at the headwaters of the Saguenay River in Quebec.
At the outbreak of World War I, he returned to New York and became Associate Editor of The Worlds' Work magazine which was published by Doubleday, Page and Co.
When the United States entered the War in 1917, unable to qualify for military service because of extreme myopia, he became Editor of the Red Cross Magazine. Early in 1918 he went to France with the American Red Cross, holding the rank of Major.
After the Armistice, he came back to New York and renewed his connection with Doubleday, Page. He was now appointed Editor of Country Life in America. It was during his decade-long tenure as Editor that he traveled to Alberta and took the first of many journeys with the Trail Riders of the Canadian Rockies. Although he was to be stranded in Wolverine Pass on this first outing in 1924, this didn't deter him from returning in subsequent years. In 1929, he donated the Townsend Trophy to be awarded annually to the best amateur photograph taken on the trail.
Like many other luxury magazines, Country Life ceased publication in the 1930s as the Great Depression worsened. Reg Townsend next entered the advertising business, joining the firm of Lennen and Mitchell. There he spent seventeen happy years, becoming a partner and vice-president until his retirement in 1951. He often said he had three "firsts" in the advertising business: 1) he never changed agencies, 2) he never got an ulcer, and 3) he never amassed a fortune.
Wishing to wind up his career in the service of his country (and never one to sit still for long), in 1951 he helped to establish Radio Liberty, which beamed uncensored news and information into what was the Soviet Union. Established with CIA funding along with Radio Free Europe at the height of the Cold War, Radio Liberty continues to operate today and was a major source of news during the fall of Communism in the late 1980s.
He was an avid member of many clubs and historical societies in New York City, among them the Circus Saints & Sinners, the Explorer's Club, the St. Nicholas Society and the Coffee House of New York.
Married in 1919 to Eva Drexel Dahlgren, they divorced in 1931. In 1951, he married Ruth Poor Blake and acquired a ready-made family of three sons and a daughter. His own son was born in 1954.
Retired from Radio Liberty in 1973, he made his home in Cross River, New York, where he died in 1977.
Biography, courtesy of Reg Townsend's son, Tony Townsend