Agnes

August 25, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latinized version of the Greek “Hagne”, meaning “pure” or “chaste”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aggie, Aggy, Agi, Agnese, Agnessa, Agneta, Agnete, Agnetha, Agneza, Agnieszka, Aigneis, Annice, Annis, Aune, Hagne, Iines, Ines, Inez, Jagna, Janja, Nainsi, Nance, Nancie, Nancy, Nensi, Nes, Neske, Nessie, Nessy, Nest, Nesta, Neysa, Oanez, Ynes, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Dame Agnes, who mends Robin’s clothing in preparation for his journey to Sir Peter’s castle, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
– Agnes Brendan, a fashionable, stuck-up, ill-behaved Boston girl in “That Little Smith Girl” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– Agnes Canning, Philip’s mother and the subject of the portrait of the title, in “The Portrait” (1885), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
– Agnes (later Canning), the young relative of the elder Agnes, in “The Portrait” (1885), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen.
– Agnes Grant, Kitty’s sister in “Esther Bodn”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
– Agnes Johnstone, a pupil at Lowood Academy, who, along with her sister Catherine, is invited to tea with some friends at Lowton, resulting in Miss Temple being chastised by Mr. Brocklehurst for allowing “two clean tuckers in the week” when “the rules limit them to one”, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Agnes Newton Keith (1901-1982), American author.
– Agnes Smedley (1892-1950), American journalist and writer.
– Agnes Strickland (c. 1797-1874), English historical writer and poet.

Philip

August 21, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the Greek “Philippos”, meaning “friend of horses”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Felip, Felipe, Filib, Filip, Filippos, Filippus, Flip, Phil, Phillip, Philippe, Philippos, Pilib, Pip, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Philip Canning, the narrator of “The Portrait” (1885), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
– Rev. Mr. Philip Elton, the handsome and seemingly-agreeable vicar of Highbury, who turns out to be rather conceited and inconsiderate, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
– Philip Frederick Ottenburg (called “Fred“), the dynamic young brewing heir who launches Thea’s operatic career, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), American essayist, novelist, philosopher, and short story writer.
Philip Freneau (1752-1832), American editor, poet, and polemicist.
Philip Latham (1902-1981), pen name of American astronomer and science fiction author Robert S. Richardson.
Philip Pullman (b. 1946), British fantasy author and playwright.
Philip Roth (b. 1933), American novelist.
Philip Van Doren Stern (1900-1984), American author, editor, and historian.

Henry

August 11, 2014 § 11 Comments

ORIGIN:
From German, meaning “home-ruler” or “leader of the army”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Amerigo, Amery, Anri, Arrigo, Emmerich, Emery, Emory, Enrico, Enrique, Enzo, Hal, Hank, Harald, Harold, Harri, Harry, Heimrich, Heinrich, Heinz, Hennie, Henny, Henri, Hendrik, Hendry, Henning, Henrik, Henryk, Herrold, Herry, Imre, Imrich, Imrus, Ric, Rico, Rik, Rikki, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Uncle Henry, one of the several relatives who always give in to Dolly’s pleading, in “The Youngest Miss Lorton”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Henry Arden, Cannie’s minister father, who lacks the strength for life on a New England farm, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Henry Biltmer, owner of the small ranch Thea visits in Arizona, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Henry Pierre Bowdoin, Esther’s artist father, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Henry Dashwood, father to our heroines Elinor and Marianne, their younger sister Margaret, and their selfish and greedy half-brother John, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Henry de Lindsay, one of Sir Peter and Lady Constance’s two sons, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
Henry Giles, Israel Thomas’ son-in-law, who joins in the watch over the Creighton farm when it’s threatened by Guy Wortman and his gang, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Henry Jameson, “a trader without a heart”, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.
Henry Knightley, the oldest of John and Isabella’s children, the heir of Donwell Abbey should Mr. Knightley never wed and have children of his own, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Henry Lynn, one of the Lynn brothers who are members of Mr. Rochester’s social set, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
Col. Henry Mortimer, who must solve a ghostly mystery to save his son’s life, in “The Open Door” (1881), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Henry Nathanmeyer, the kindly Jewish businessman whose wife serves as Thea’s patroness in Chicago, in The Song of the Lark.
Mr. Henry Woodhouse, Isabella and Emma’s father, a “much older man in ways than in years”, in Emma.

WRITERS:
– Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), American historian and writer.
– Henry Beston (1888-1968), American writer and naturalist.
– Henry Cole (b. 1955), American children’s book writer and illustrator.
– Henry Fielding (1707-1754), English novelist and dramatist.
– Henry Green (1905-1972), pen name of English novelist Henry Vincent Yorke.
– Henry James (1843-1916), Anglo-American novelist.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet and educator.
– Henry Lucy (1842-1924), English journalist and humorist.
– Henry Louis (H.L.) Mencken (1880-1956), American editor, critic, satirist, and writer.
– Henry Miller (1891-1980), American writer.
– Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American activist, author, poet, and philosopher.

Alice

August 7, 2014 § 8 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Greek, meaning “truth, or from German via French, meaning “noble”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ada, Adelheid, Adelaide, Adelais, Aileas, Aleece, Aleida, Ali, Alicia, Alida, Alise, Alisha, Alisia, Alison, Alissa, Alix, Aliz, Alli, Allie, Ally, Alyce, Alys, Alyssa, Elicia, Elke, Heidi, Lecia, Lise, Lisa, Lissa, Lyssa, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Alice, a young guest of Mrs. Warburton’s, rather inclined to be bookish, in “Pansies” from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Alice Bennet, one of Katy’s older sisters, who comes down with the measles, forcing Katy to go and stay with their grandfather, in “That Ridiculous Child”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Alice Fairfax, housekeeper at Thornfield, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
Alice Fleming (called “Ally”), a little orphan girl who can’t seem to find her place in the world, in “Ally”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Alice Frewen, friend of the Gray girls and Berry Joy, youngest of the group of girls next to Cannie and Marian, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Alice King, a girl who could do more good in the world if she were more thoughtful, in “A Little Boarding-School Samaritan”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Alice Lorton, the sensible oldest sister of the Lorton family, in “The Youngest Miss Lorton”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories.
Alice Raymond, the wonderful girl Jim Marlowe hopes to marry, in “The Tragedy of the Unexpected”, from Nora Perry’s The Tragedy of the Unexpected and Other Stories (published in 1880, but set in the 1870s).
Alice Turner, Connie’s older sister, who refuses to sleep in a “haunted” room, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Alice Wood, the girl chosen by Miss Oliver to help Jane with her school, in Jane Eyre.

WRITERS:
See here for a starter list of writers named “Alice”.

QUOTATIONS:
– From “The Children’s Hour” (1859), by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “From my study I see in the lamplight, / Descending the broad hall stair, / Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra, / And Edith with golden hair.”

Francis

August 5, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the Late Latin word “Franciscus” (meaning “Frenchman”), from the Germanic / Old French word for “free”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Chica, Chico, Ferenc, Feri, Fran, Franca, Francesco, Francisco, Franciscus, Franco, Francois, Frank, Franka, Frankie, Franky, Franny, Frans, Franz, Franzi, Paca, Paco, Pancho, Paquita, Paquito, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Francis, William Dobbin’s manservant in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Francis Bowyer, the kindly vicar whose wife befriends Mary Vivian after her godmother’s death, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.

WRITERS:
– Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English writer and statesman.
– Francis Macdonald (F.M.) Cornford (1874-1943), English poet and scholar.
– Francis Scott Key (F. Scott) Fitzgerald (1896-1940), American author.
– Francis Francis (1822-1866), English writer.
– Francis King (1923-2011), English novelist, poet, and writer.
– Francis Marrash (1836-1873), Syrian writer and poet.
– Francis Scott Key (1779-1843), American author and amateur poet.
– Francis Sempill (c.1616-1682), Scottish poet and satirist.
– Francis Wyndham (b. 1923), English author, editor, and journalist.

Sophia

August 5, 2014 § 8 Comments

ORIGIN:
Greek, meaning “wisdom”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Fifi, Sofi, Sofia, Sofie, Sofiya, Sonia, Sonja, Sonya, Sophie, Sophy, Vivi, Zophi, Zophia, Zophie, Zosia, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Duchess Sophia, who writes dreary domestic comedies for performance in Pumpernickel, where Amelia, Dobbin, Jos, and Georgy visit for a while on their Grand Tour, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Sophia Blackburn, a friend of Mrs. Bowyer’s in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
– Miss Sophia Grey, the heiress Willoughby marries after being disinherited by his aunt, Miss Smith, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).

Betsy

August 4, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternately spelled “Betsey” or “Betsie”, diminutive of “Elizabeth“, meaning “oath of God”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bess, Bessie, Bessy, Betsey, Bette, Beth, Bette, Bettie, Betty, Buffy, Elspet, Elspeth, Pet, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Betsy, one of the Lexington girls clamoring to partner with Rab at the Silsbee country dance in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Betsy Barnes, a housemaid who convinces herself that she has seen a ghost, in “Old Lady Mary” (1884), from Stories of the Seen and Unseen by Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant.
Betsy Horrocks, known as “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).
Betsy Paramore, the girl Tom Faggus was set to marry before the financial failure that drove him to become a highwayman, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).

WRITERS:
– Betsy Byars (b. 1928), American children’s book author.
– Betsy Colquitt (b. 1927), American poet.

QUOTATIONS:
– “Sweet Betsy from Pike” is an American ballad, written in the 1850s: “Did you ever hear tell of sweet Betsy from Pike / Who crossed the wide mountains with her lover Ike?”

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