July 28, 2014 § 22 Comments

From “Elisabet”, the Greek form of the Hebrew “Elisheva”, meaning “oath of God”.

Aliza, Alizabeth, Bess, Bessie, Bessy, Betje, Bette, Beth, Bethan, Bethann, Betsy, Bette, Bettie, Bettina, Betty, Bettye, Birdie, Birdy, Buffy, Elisabeth, Elisabetta, Elisaveta, Elise, Elisheva, Elissa, Eliza, Ella, Elle, Ellie, Elsa, Else, Elsie, Elsje, Elspet, Elspeth, Elyse, Erszebet, Ilsa, Ilse, Isa, Isabel, Isabella, Isabelle, Izabela, Let, Lettie, Letty, Liana, Libby, Liddy, Lies, Liesl, Liese, Lilian, Liliana, Lilibet, Lilibeth, Lillian, Lillie, Lilly, Lily, Lis, Lisa, Lisbeth, Lise, Lisette, Liz, Liza, Lizabeth, Lizbeth, Lizette, Lizy, Lizzie, Lizzy, Pet, Pettie, Tess, Tessie, Tessy, Tetty, Ysabel, Ysabet, etc.

Elizabeth, maid-of-all-work for the Gray family while in Newport, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Elizabeth Alden (called “Lizzie“), member of the Mayflower Club in A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Elizabeth Bennet (called “Lizzy” or “Eliza” by her nearest and dearest), the clever, “fine-eyed” second Bennet daughter, and heroine of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (written in 1797, published in 1813).
– Middle name of Jenny Elizabeth Creighton (b. 1847), Jethro’s pretty sister, clever and strong-willed, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Elizabeth Horrocks (referred to as “Betsy” or “Ribbons”), the saucy butler’s daughter who tries to parlay the attention she gets from Sir Pitt into wealth, status, and a ladyship (through marriage), in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Lady Elizabeth Lennox, Dorothy and Humphrey’s grandmother, who hires Nurse Crumpet to care for her daughter Patience, and her adopted daughter Marian, in “Nurse Crumpet Tells the Story” (written in 1887, set circa 1630s-1669), from A Brother to Dragons, and Other Old Time Tales (1888), by Amélie Rives.
Elizabeth Martin, one of Robert Martin’s two sisters, who befriend Harriet Smith while they are students at Mrs. Goddard’s school for young ladies, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Elizabeth de Rochester, wife of Damer de Rochester, an ancestor of Mr. Rochester “slain at Marston Moor in the time of the civil wars”, whose tomb Jane notices in the church on her wedding day, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

– Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979), American poet and short story writer.
– Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973), Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), English poet.
– Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806), English classicist, poet, translator, and writer.
– Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893-1986), American poet and author.
– Elizabeth Craig (1883-1980), Scottish home economist, journalist, and writer.
Elizabeth Dodd (1909-1989), Scottish author and broadcaster who published under the pen name “Lavinia Derwent”.
– Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865), English novelist and short story writer.
– Elizabeth Goudge (1900-1984), English author.
– Elizabeth Hamilton (1756/58-1816), English essayist, novelist, satirist, and poet.
– Elizabeth Lowell (b. 1944), pen name of American novelist Ann (A.E.) Maxwell, who often collaborates with her husband, Evan Maxwell, and who also publishes under the pen name “Lowell Charters”.

– The classic children’s rhyming riddle: “Elizabeth, Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess, / They all went together to seek a bird’s nest. / They found a bird’s nest with five eggs in, / They all took one and left four in.” Since Elspeth, Betsy, and Bess are all diminutives of Elizabeth, all four names may refer to one person. And now you know how that riddle works.
– “Elizabeth“, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (published in 1873, but set in 1701-02; from Tales of a Wayside Inn, Part the Third: The Theologian’s Tale) tells the love story of John Estaugh (1676-1742) and Elizabeth Haddon (1680-1762), with her servants Joseph and Hannah as supporting characters, and Elizabeth herself described thusly: “But in meekness of spirit, and calmly, Elizabeth answered: / ‘All I have is the Lord’s, not mine to give or withhold it; / I but distribute his gifts to the poor . . . / His, not mine, are the gifts, and only so far can I make them / Mine, as in giving I add my heart to whatever is given . . .’ / . . . And Elizabeth answered with confident voice, and serenely / Looking into his face with her innocent eyes as she answered, / . . . For underneath that roof was no distinction of persons, / But one family only, one heart, one hearth, and one household. / . . . With them, but more sedately and meekly, Elizabeth Haddon / Sang in her inmost heart, but her lips were silent and songless. / . . . And John Estaugh made answer, surprised at the words she had spoken, / ‘Pleasant to me are thy converse, thy ways, thy meekness of spirit; / Pleasant thy frankness of speech, and thy soul’s immaculate whiteness, / Love without dissimulation, a holy and inward adorning. . . ‘ / . . . Patient and unrepining Elizabeth labored, in all things / Mindful not of herself, but bearing the burdens of others, / Always thoughtful and kind and untroubled . . . “


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