Fitzhugh Townsend is best remembered as the co-founder and first champion, in 1894, of the Intercollegiate Fencing Association (IFA). He repeated as champion in 1896. After college, Townsend represented the New York Fencers Club and won the AFLA national championship in foil individual in 1900 and 1903. Townsend was an electrical engineering instructor at Columbia from 1897 until his death in 1906 from typhoid fever He was the co-author, with Prof. George F Sever, of Laboratory and Factory Tests in Electrical Engineering. Townsend was the inventor of an improved railway signal device, involving a number of ingenious features, that was under consideration by the New York Central and other railroads at the time of his death.