Linda

July 22, 2015 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Meaning “soft” or “tender”, a diminutive of names ending with “-linda” or “-linde”: e.g., “Belinda”, “Melinda”, “Rosalinda”, “Sieglinda”, etc. Also associated with the Spanish word, meaning “pretty”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lin, Lindall, Lindell, Lindie, Lindsay, Lindsey, Lindsie, Lindy, Linette, Linn, Linne, Linnet, Linnette, Linnie, Linsay, Linsey, Linsie, Lyn, Lyndee, Lyndi, Lyndie, Lyndsay, Lyndsey, Lyndsie, Lynette, Lynn, Lynna, Lynne, Lynnette, Linza, Lynda, Lynzee, Lynzie, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Linda, 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).
Linda, one of the other “irregular” children at Lily’s school, so deemed because of her pink plastic prosthetic arm, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).

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Oliver

December 3, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
Variation of the French “Olivier”; either from German, meaning “elven army”, or from Latin, meaning “olive tree”, or from the Nordic “Olaf”, meaning “ancestor’s descendant”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Oli, Olivier, Oliviero, Ollie, Noll, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Oliver Landry, Thea’s accompanist, and friend to both Thea and Fred, in The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather (written in 1915 and set in the 1890s).

WRITERS:
– Oliver Crawford (1917-2008), American author and screenwriter.
– Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright, and poet.
– Oliver Herford (1863-1935), American artist, humorist, illustrator, and writer.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), American author, lecturer, physician, poet, and professor.
– Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), English physicist and writer.
– Oliver W.F. Lodge (1878-1955), English author and poet.
– Oliver Onions (1873-1961), English writer.
– Oliver Sacks (b. 1933), Anglo-American author and neurologist.

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.

Laura

July 31, 2014 § 6 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Latin, meaning “laurel”. Feminine variant of “Laurence” / “Lawrence“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Lallie, Lally, Lara, Laraine, Laure, Laureen, Laurel, Lauren, Laurene, Lauressa, Lauretta, Laurette, Laurey, Laurie, Laurinda, Laurine, Laurissa, Laurita, Laury, Lavra, Llora, Lollie, Lolly, Lora, Loreen, Loren, Lorene, Loretta, Lorette, Lori, Lorie, Lorinda, Lorita, Lorraine, Lorri, Lorrie, Lory, Lowri, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Laura, the fake name used by Berry Joy and Georgie Gray to play their Lonely Hearts prank, in A Little Country Girl (1885), by Susan Coolidge.
Laura, the “fairy princess” Ted Shaffer plans to marry, in “In a Rag-Bag”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).
Laura Brooks (sometimes called “Brooksie”), who refuses to give up her friendship with Esther, in spite of the judgment and disdain her friends and family may heap upon her head, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
Laura Delano, an invalid who sells her artwork to try and support herself and her sister, Jessie, in “An Ivy Spray and Ladies’ Slippers”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
Laura Fleming, Ally’s cousin, who perhaps expects too much, in “Ally”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.
Laura Martin, a little orphan girl who worships Amelia Sedley during her time at Miss Pinkerton’s academy in Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray (published in 1847-48, but set in the 1810s-20s).
Laura Selwyn, one of Marian’s cousins, who knows all about the trick, in “An April Fool”, from A Flock of Girls and Boys.

WRITERS:
Check out this post for a starter list of writers named “Laura”.

QUOTATIONS:
– From “To My Brothers” by Norman Rowland Gale: “O brothers, who must ache and stoop / O’er wordy tasks in London-town, / How scantly Laura trips for you — / A poem in a gown!”

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