Ebenezer

August 21, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Hebrew, meaning “stone of help”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ben, Bennie, Benny, Eb, Ebb, Eben, Eben-ezer, Ebeneezer, Ez, Eez, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Ebenezer Carron (called “Eb“; b. 1843), Jethro’s cousin, a hot-headed young man who joins Tom in running off to enlist in the Union Army, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).

WRITERS:
Ebenezer Beesley (1840-1906), Anglo-American composer and hymn-writer.
E. (Ebenezer) Cobham Brewer (1810-1897), English lexicographer and writer.
Ebenezer Cooke (c.1665-c.1732), English poet and satirist.
Ebenezer Elliott (1781-1849), English activist and poet.
Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754), Scottish minister and writer.
Ebenezer Forrest (fl. 1774), English attorney, dramatist, and writer.
Ebenezer Jones (1820-1860), English poet.
Ebenezer Landells (1808-1860), English artist, children’s book writer, illustrator, and publisher.
Ebenezer Joseph Mather (1849-1927), English philanthropist and writer.
Ebenezer Porter (1772-1834), American minister, translator, and writer.
Ebenezer Prout (1835-1909), English composer, teacher, and writer.
Ebenezer Rhodes (1762-1839), English artist, editor, poet, publisher, topographer, and writer.
Ebenezer Platt Rogers (1817-1881), American author and minister.
Ebenezer Sibley (1751-c.1799), English astrologer, physician, and writer.
Ebenezer Syme (1825-1860), Scottish-Australian journalist and publisher.
Ebenezer Thomas (1802-1863), Welsh poet and teacher who also published under the pen name “Eben Fardd”.

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.

Annamaria

September 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Combination of “Anna” and “Maria“; variation of “Annemarie”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Anna Maria, Anna Marie, Anne Marie, Annamarie, Annemarie, Marian, Marianne, Maryann, Maryanna, Maryanne, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Annamaria, one of Sir John and Lady Middleton’s children, in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (set between 1792-1797, published in 1811).

WRITERS:
– Anna Maria Bennett (c. 1750-1808), English novelist (sometimes credited as “Agnes Maria Hall”)
– Anna Maria Bunn (1808-1889), Australian author.
– Anna Maria Falconbridge (1769-c. 1816), English writer.
– Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), Irish novelist (sometimes credited as “Mrs. S.C. Hall”)
– Anna Maria Hussey (1805-1853), English scientist, writer, and illustrator.
– Anna Maria Lenngren (1754-1817), Swedish poet, translator, and writer.
– Anna Maria Ortese (1914-1998), Italian poet and short story writer.
– Anna Maria Porter (1780-1832), English poet and novelist.
– Anna Maria Rückerschöld (1725-1805), Swedish author.
– Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), German-Dutch engraver, painter, poet, and scholar.
– Anna Maria Wells (c. 1794-1868), American poet and children’s book writer.

Esther

August 29, 2014 § 3 Comments

ORIGIN:
Possibly Persian, meaning “star”, or derived from “Ishtar”, the name of the Babylonian and Assyrian mother goddess of love, fertility, and war.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Aster, Eistir, Esfir, Essi, Essie, Esta, Estee, Ester, Estera, Esteri, Eszter, Eszti, Hester, Ishtar, Istar, Yesfir, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Esther Bowdoin, whose shabby home life belies her blue-blooded ancestry and artistic heritage, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Esther (or Edna or Etka) Kroll Shaine — “Esther in Hebrew, Edna in English, and Etka in Russian” — Lily’s increasingly-senile grandmother in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

WRITERS:
You can find a good, solid starter list of writers named “Esther” in this post.

Sarah

August 6, 2014 § 8 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternately spelled “Sara”, from Hebrew, meaning “lady” or “princess”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Cera, Cerah, Sadie, Sal, Sallie, Sally, Sairey, Sairy, Sara, Sarai, Saraih, Sarette, Sarey, Sari, Sariah, Sarina, Sarit, Sarita, Sary, Sera, Serah, Serita, Seryl, Sorale, Soralie, Sorella, Suri, Syril, Tzeitel, Zara, Zarah, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Sarah, a housemaid at the Reed’s house, Gateshead Hall, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
Sarah Parsons, a neighbor of the Kennedy’s who is befriended by Ida Standish in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Sarah Reed (née Gibson), Jane’s selfish, hard-hearted aunt-by-marriage, in Jane Eyre.
Sarah Ridd, the lovely and good-hearted farmer’s widow who is mother to John, Annie, and Eliza, in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).

WRITERS:
– Sarah Stickney Ellis (1799-1872), English author.
– Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), American writer and editor.
– Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), American author.
– Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (1835-1905), American children’s book writer who published under the pen name “Susan Coolidge”.

Anna

August 6, 2014 § 9 Comments

ORIGIN:
From “Hannah” (as used in the Greek and Latin Old Testament), a version of the Hebrew name “Channah”, meaning “favor” or “grace”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ana, Anabel, Anais, Andie, Andy, Aneke, Aneta, Ani, Ania, Anica, Anika, Anissa, Anita, Anitra, Anka, Anke, Ann, Annabel, Annabella, Annabelle, Anne, Anneke, Annetta, Annette, Annick, Annicka, Annie, Annika, Anniken, Annis, Anny, Anouk, Antje, Anushka, Anya, Channah, Hana, Hanna, Hannah, Hanne, Nainsi, Nan, Nancie, Nancy, Nanette, Nannie, Nanny, Nina, Ninon, Ona, Onna, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Anna Kronborg, Thea’s jealous and priggish older sister, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).
Anna Page, Sidney’s mother, who takes in boarders to help pay the bills after her sister, Harriet, leaves to start a dressmaking business, in K. by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1914).
Anna Raymond, the girl Dolly Lorton is gossiping about when her friend Sally Ware calls her on it, in “The Youngest Miss Lorton”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Anna Richards, Mary Marcy’s friend and seat-mate, in “An April Fool”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Anna Snezak, co-owner (with her husband, Morris) of AnaMor Towers apartments, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Anna Weston, the baby girl possibly named for her mother, who signs her name “A. Weston” (née Taylor), in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
Anna Winslow, president of the Mayflower Club in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.

WRITERS:
– Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966), pen name of Russian poet Anna Andreyevna Gorenko.
– Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825), English critic, editor, essayist, poet, and children’s book writer.
– Anna Maria Bennett (c. 1750-1808), English novelist (sometimes credited as “Agnes Maria Hall”)
– Anna Maria Bunn (1808-1889), Australian author.
– Anna Maria Falconbridge (1769-c. 1816), English writer.
– Anna Katherine Green (1846-1935), American poet and novelist.
– Anna Maria Hall (1800-1881), Irish novelist (sometimes credited as “Mrs. S.C. Hall”)
– Anna Maria Hussey (1805-1853), English scientist, writer, and illustrator.
– Anna Kavan (1901-1968), English novelist, short story writer, and painter.
– Anna Maria Lenngren (1754-1817), Swedish poet, translator, and writer.
– Anna Maria Ortese (1914-1998), Italian poet and short story writer.
– Anna Maria Porter (1780-1832), English poet and novelist.
– Anna Quindlen (b. 1953), American author, columnist, and journalist.
– Anna Maria Rückerschöld (1725-1805), Swedish author.
– Anna Seghers (1900-1983), pen name of German writer Anna Reiling.
– Anna Sewell (1820-1878), English novelist.
– Anna Maria van Schurman (1607-1678), German-Dutch engraver, painter, poet, and scholar.
– Anna Marie Wilhelmina (A.M.W.) Stirling (1865-1965), English author who published under the pen name “Percival Pickering”.
– Anna Maria Wells (c. 1794-1868), American poet and children’s book writer.
– Anna Wheeler (c. 1780-1848), Irish activist and writer.

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.

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