Alban

December 19, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
From the Latin place name, meaning “from Alba”, derived from the Latin word “albus”, meaning “white”. Also the name of a prominent English saint.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Albano, Albanus, Albany, Alben, Albin, Albinus, Aubin, Aubyn, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Duke Alban, whose land needs to be saved from a rampaging ogre, in the fantasy novel The Last Unicorn (1968) by Peter S. Beagle.

WRITERS:
– Alban Butler (1710-1773), English author and priest.
– Alban Stoltz (1808-1883), German author and theologian.
– Alban Thomas (c. 1660?-c.1740), Welsh cleric, poet, and translator.

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Josiah

September 15, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “Jehovah supports”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Iosias, Jos, Josias, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Josiah Bowden, the local parson in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Josiah Quincy, the “best young lawyer in Boston”, who defends Johnny against charges of theft and fraud, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).

WRITERS:
– Josiah Conder (1789-1855), English author and editor.
– Josiah Gregg (1806-1850), American author, explorer, merchant, and naturalist.
– Josiah Henson (1789-1883), American-Canadian abolitionist, author, and minister.
– Josiah Gilbert Holland (1819-1881), American novelist and poet who sometimes used the pen name “Timothy Titcomb”.
– Josiah Quincy III (1772-1864), American historian and politician.
– Josiah Priest (1788-1851), American pseudohistorical and pseudoscientific writer.
– Josiah Strong (1847-1916), American author, clergyman, editor, and organizer.
– Josiah Tucker (1713-1799), Welsh churchman, economist, and political writer.

Frances

August 27, 2014 § 5 Comments

ORIGIN:
Feminine form of “Francis“, from the Germanic / Old French word for “free”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Chica, Cissie, Cissy, Fan, Fannie, Fanny, Fran, Franca, Franci, Francie, Francka, Franka, Frankie, Franky, Frannie, Franny, Franzi, Paca, Paquita, Sissie, Sissy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Frances Wentworth (called “Fan” or “Fanny“, Will’s conceited, snobbish cousin in “That Little Smith Girl” from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).

WRITERS:
Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924), English author and playwright.
Frances (Fanny) Burney (1752-1840), English diarist, novelist, and playwright.
Frances Cornford (1886-1960), English poet.
Frances FitzGerald (b. 1940), American historian and journalist.
Frances Scott (“Scottie”) Fitzgerald (1921-1986), American journalist and writer.
Frances Marion (1888-1973), American author, journalist, and screenwriter.
Frances Osborne (b. 1969), English biographer and novelist.
Frances Eleanor Trollope (1835-1913), English novelist.
Frances Milton Trollope (1779-1863), English novelist and writer.
Frances Vane, Viscountess Vane (c.1715-1788), English memoirist and socialite.

Denis

August 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Alternate spelling of “Dennis“, from the medieval French version of “Dionysios”, derived from the name of the Greek god of wine, dance, revelry, and fertility.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Deion, Den, Denes, Denney, Dennis, Denny, Denys, Deon, Dion, Dionysios, Dionysius, Tenney, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Denis, one of the other pageboys Robin befriends during his stay in Sir Peter’s castle, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
– Denis Eady, the “rich Irish grocer” and one-time suitor of Mattie Silver, in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome (written in 1911, but set in the 1890s or first few years of the 1900s).

WRITERS:
– Denis Bond (b. 1946), English children’s book and television writer.
– Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French critic, philosopher, and writer.
– Denis Johnson (b. 1949), American writer.

Horace

August 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
English / French version of the Latin “Horatio” / “Horatius”, derived from the word for “hour”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Horacio, Horatio, Horatius, Orazio, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Sir Horace Fogey, one of Becky’s high society friends in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
– Sir Horace Fogle, a former partner in Fogle, Fake, and Cracksman, who manages to escape his firm’s failure smelling like a rose, though it ruins Mr. Scape, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– Horace (65 BC-8 BC), English name for the Roman lyric poet, satirist, and critic.
– Horace Gregory (1898-1982), American poet and literary critic.
– Horace Smith (1779-1849), English poet and parodist.
– Horace Walpole (1717-1797), English writer and politician.

James

August 2, 2014 § 14 Comments

ORIGIN:
From the same source as “Jacob”, from Hebrew, meaning “supplanter”, or possibly, “may God protect”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Giacomo, Hamish, Iago, Jae, Jacques, Jago, Jai, Jaime, Jaimie, Jamie, Jameson, Jamieson, Jamey, Jay, Jaymes, Jeames, Jem, Jemmy, Jim, Jimbo, Jimi, Jimmie, Jimmy, Jimsy, Seamus, Shamus, Sheamus, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
James, the manservant at 999 Marlborough Street, in “Ally”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
James, butler for the Joy family while in Newport, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
James, Mr. Woodhouse’s coachman in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
James, one of the Boston children roused to their chores at the start of Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
James Cooper, whose wife is one of those married friends from Bath that Augusta Elton cites as an example of how married women always give up their pursuit of music, in Emma.
James Alexander, the alias chosen by the con man who persecutes Georgie Gray and Berry Joy in A Little Country Girl.
– James Crawley (sometimes called “Jim“), one of the Rev. Bute Crawley’s sons in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
James Alexander Creighton (1849-1852), one of the three young Creighton boys who died of “paralysis” the year Jethro was born, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
James Marlowe (called “Jim“), the impetuous young man whose impulsive nature leads to a sorrowful mix-up, 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)
James McMull, the “young sprig of Scotch nobility” Miss Rhoda Swartz ends up marrying after Mr. Osborne fails to add her to his family, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– See this post for a long list of writers named James dating all the way back to the thirteenth century.

Thomas

August 2, 2014 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
Greek form of the Aramaic for “twin”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Maas, Tam, Tavish, Thom, Tom, Toma, Tomas, Tommaso, Tommie, Tommy, Twm, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Thomas, the Dashwood’s manservant at Barton Cottage, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).
Thomas, a local boy Robin went to school with, in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
Brother Thomas, one of the monks at St. Mark’s, in The Door in the Wall.
Thomas Burk (called “T.B.”), Dr. Archie’s secretary in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Thomas Cockram, the foreman of Reuben Huckabuck’s shop, who has designs on young Ruth, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Sir Thomas Coffin, “celebrated as a hanging judge”, in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Thomas Ward Creighton (called “Tom“; b. 1843), Jethro’s older brother, who, at just 18 years of age, runs off to join the Union Army, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Thomas Dover, missionary neighbor of the Misses Carey, in “Little Button-Rose”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Thomas Faggus (called “Tom“), the roguishly charming highwayman whose relation to the Ridd family gives them both prestige and trouble, in Lorna Doone.
Thomas Hancock, Mr. Hancock’s uncle, who originally ordered the silver set Mr. Hancock asks Mr. Lapham to make a replacement piece for, in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (written in 1943; set during the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War, 1773-1775).
Dr. Thomas Harrison (called “Doctor Tom“), who specializes in mending children’s hurt limbs, in “The Story of Little Syl”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories.
Thomas Hooper, a schoolboy who is in John’s corner during his fight with Robin Snell, in Lorna Doone.
Sir Thomas Liverseege, Governor of Coventry Island before his death opens the position up for Rawdon Crawley to take advantage of, in Vanity Fair.
Thomas Palmer, husband of Mrs. Jennings’ daughter ebullient daughter Charlotte, in Sense and Sensibility.
Rev. Thomas Tuffin has a daughter at Miss Pinkerton’s Academy, in Vanity Fair.

WRITERS:
– Thomas Alexander Browne (1826-1915), English author who sometimes published under the pen name “Rolf Boldrewood”.
– Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish essayist, historian, philosopher, and satiricist.
– Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), English essayist.
– Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot (1888-1965), English critic, essayist, poet, and playwright.
– Thomas Gray (1716-1771), English poet and writer.
– Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist and poet.
– Thomas Hood (1799-1845), English humorist and poet.
– Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471), German clergyman and writer.
– Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence (1888-1935), British army officer and writer.
– Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859), British historian
– Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German writer.
– Thomas Merton (1915-1968), American activist, monk, mystic, poet, and writer.
– Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Irish poet and songwriter.
– Thomas More (1478-1535), English author and statesman.
– Thomas Paine (1737-1809), British-American author and revolutionary.
– Thomas Wolfe (1900-1938), American novelist.

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