Diana

August 26, 2014 § 2 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latin, meaning “divine”, from the Roman goddess of the moon, hunting, forests, and childbirth.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dajana, Dede, Dee, Di, Diahann, Dian, Diane, Dianna, Dianne, Dijana, Kiana, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Diana, a girl at school Lily befriends, one of the other “irregular” children in her grade, in Sleeping Arrangements, by Laura Cunningham (published 1989, set in the 1950s).
Diana Duval, one of Lily’s first friends, “a dirty blonde in every sense”, in Sleeping Arrangements.
Diana Rivers (later Fitzjames), one of St. John’s sisters, who befriend Jane after she leaves Thornfield, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
– Diana Athill (b. 1917), English editor, novelist, and memoirist.
– Diana Gabaldon (b. 1952), American author.
– Diana Gould (b. 1944), American author and screenwriter.
– Diana Hendry (b. 1941), English author and poet.
– Diana Wynne Jones (1934-2011), English writer.
– Diana Mitford, the Hon. Lady Mosley (1910-2003), English socialite and writer.
– Diana Morgan (b. 1913), English novelist.

Virginia

August 24, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Feminine version of a Roman family name, meaning “maid” or “virgin”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Geena, Gena, Gigi, Gina, Ginia, Ginger, Ginnie, Ginny, Jeana, Jeanna, Jinnie, Jinny, Virgee, Virgie, Virgy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Virginia Herrick, the lovely daughter of the overseer of Caryston Hall, in Virginia of Virginia, written by Amélie Rives in 1888.

WRITERS:
– Virginia C. (V.C.) Andrews (1923-1986), pen name of American novelist Cleo Virginia Andrews.
– Virginia Clay-Copton (1825-1915), American memoirist and socialite.
– Virginia Hamilton (1934-2002), American children’s book writer.
– Virginia Henley (b. 1935), English novelist.
– Virginia Rudd Lanier (1930-2003), American mystery writer.
– Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), English writer and modernist.

David

August 22, 2014 § 4 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “beloved”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Dai, Daividh, Dauid, Dave, Daveth, Davey, Davide, Davie, Davis, Davit, Davy, Daw, Dawid, Dawud, Dewie, Dewey, Dewydd, Dovid, Taavetti, Taavi, Tavi, Taffy, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Brother David, the stonemason, one of the monks at St. Mark’s in The Door in the Wall (written in 1949 and set sometime between 1327-1377), by Marguerite de Angeli.
David Langston, the titular clean-living “harvester of the forest”, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.
David Wyburn, Esther’s cousin, who works as a clerk at Weyman & Co.’s importing-house, in “Esther Bodn”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).

WRITERS:
David Craig (b. 1929), pen name of Welsh novelist James Tucker, who also publishes as “Bill James” and “Judith Jones”.
David Herbert (D.H.) Lawrence (1885-1930), English critic, essayist, novelist, painter, playwright, and poet.
David Malouf (b. 1934), Australian novelist, playwright, and short story writer.
David McCullough (b. 1933), American author, historian, and lecturer.
David Mitchell (b. 1969), English novelist.
David Sedaris (b. 1956), American author and humorist.
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), American essayist, novelist, professor, and short story writer.
David Walliams (b. 1971), English activist, actor, children’s book writer, and comedian.

Augusta

August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

ORIGIN:
Feminine form of “Augustus”, meaning “majestic” or “venerable”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Gus, Gussie, Gussy, Gusta.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Augusta Brocklehurst, the second daughter of the formidable and hypocritical supervisor of Lowood Institute, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Augusta Hawkins, the vain and self-important younger daughter of a Bristol merchant, who Mr. Elton selects for his wife after being disappointed in his first choice, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).

WRITERS:
– Augusta, Lady Gregory (1852-1932), Irish dramatist, folklorist, and theatre manager.

Isabella

August 14, 2014 § 10 Comments

ORIGIN:
Latinate version of “Isabel“, a medieval variant of “Elizabeth“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Beileag, Bell, Bella, Belle, Belina, Belinha, Ibbie, Ibby, Ilsa, Ilse, Isa, Isabel, Isabela, Isabele, Isabell, Isabelle, Isbel, Iseabail, Isebel, Isebela, Isebele, Isebell, Isebella, Isebelle, Ishbel, Isobel, Isobela, Isobele, Isobell, Isobella, Isobelle, Issie, Issy, Izabel, Izabela, Izabele, Izabell, Izabella, Izabelle, Izzie, Izzy, Libbie, Libby, Sabella, Sabelle, Ysabel, Zabel, Zabella, Zabelle, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Isabella Knightley (called “Bella“), the older of John and Isabella’s two daughters, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).
– Isabella Knightley, née Woodhouse, “a pretty, elegant little woman, of gentle, quiet manners”, “a devoted wife, a doting mother”. Emma’s older sister, married to Mr. Knightley’s younger brother John, in Emma.
– Isabella McGilvray (called “Bella“), the daughter of a wash-woman and house-cleaner who lives in the tenement behind Grandpa Bennet’s house, and who Katy befriends, in “That Ridiculous Child”, from The Youngest Miss Lorton, and Other Stories by Nora Perry (1889).

WRITERS:
– Isabella Bird (1831-1904), English explorer, naturalist, photographer, and writer.

Samuel

August 7, 2014 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
From Hebrew, meaning “God has heard” or “name of God”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Sam, Sami, Sammie, Sammy, Semuel, Shem, Shemuel, Shmuel, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Samuel Warburton, Mrs. Warburton’s husband, a scientist and scholar, in “Pansies” from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.

WRITERS:
– Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), Irish novelist, playwright, and poet.
– Samuel Butler (1613-1680), English poet and satirist.
– Samuel Butler (1835-1902), English writer and iconoclast.
– Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), American author and humorist who wrote under the pen name “Mark Twain”.
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), English critic, poet, and philosopher.
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), English moralist, writer, and lexicographer.
– Samuel Pepys (1633-1703), English diarist.

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.”

Clara

August 6, 2014 § 7 Comments

ORIGIN:
Alternate version of “Clare”, from the Latin name “Clarus”, meaning “clear” or “bright”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Chiara, Claire, Clare, Claretta, Claribel, Clarice, Clarinda, Clarissa, Clarette, Kiara, Kiera, Klare, Klara, Klarissa, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Clara, the “honest and quiet; but heavy, mindless, and unimpressible” German woman Mr. Rochester took as a mistress following Céline Varens’ betrayal, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.
– Clara, Rosamond Carey’s mother, who sends her to stay with three maiden cousins, in “Little Button-Rose”, from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Clara Carey, wife of Dr. Carey, David Langston’s dearest friend, in The Harvester (1911) by Gene Stratton Porter.
– Clara, Ella Carver’s cousin, for whose baby she buys pretty little things made by Almira Miller, in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.
Clara Harrington, a girl who unknowingly assisted in the trick on Tilly Drake, in “An April Fool”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– 
Clara Jeffreys (née Partridge), one of Augusta Elton’s friends from Bath that she cites as an example of how married women always give up their pursuit of music, in Jane Austen’s Emma (1815).

Eva

August 6, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Alternately spelled “Ava”, the Latin form of “Eve”, from Hebrew, meaning “breath” or “life”. Sometimes used as a diminutive of “Evangeline”, “Evelyn”, etc.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Ava, Chava, Chavah, Eabha, Efa, Eve, Eveline, Evelyn, Evie, Evita, Evvie, Evvy, Hava, Havva, Hawa, Yeva, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Eva, a young guest of Mrs. Warburton’s, rather inclined to be helpful, in “Pansies” from A Garland for Girls, by Louisa May Alcott, 1887.
– Eva Nelson, a kind, thoughtful girl, who wants to do good in the world but doesn’t know how, in “A Little Boarding-School Samaritan”, from Nora Perry’s A Flock of Girls and Boys (1895).
– Eva Randal, an older girl who Anna Winslow emulates by reading to the working-class girls at the Union in “May Flowers”, from A Garland for Girls.

WRITERS:
– Eva Ibbotson (1925-2010), English novelist.

Victor

August 5, 2014 § 1 Comment

ORIGIN:
Latin, meaning “conqueror”.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Vic, Viktor, Vittorio, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
– Victor Aurelius XVII, sovereign of 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).

WRITERS:
Victor Appleton (b. 1947), pen name of American fantasy, science fiction, and Western author Robert E. Vardeman, who has also published under the pen names “Cliff Garnett”, “Daniel Moran”, “F.J. Hale”, “Edward S. Hudson”, “Jackson Lowry”, “Karl Lassiter”, and “Paul Kenyon”.
Victor Hugo (1802-1885), French dramatist, novelist, and poet.

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