Audrey and Kevin DeKam of Oregon welcomed a baby boy on 3 October 2008. They named him Powell in honor of Powell’s Books in Portland.
Audrey DeKam told the staff at Powell’s that she and her husband couldn’t reach an agreement on a name, when she stumbled upon “Powell” in a baby name book and learned that it means “alert.” She instantly liked the name because it reminded her of Powell’s Books.
“It’s the first time in our long history that a baby has been named in our honor,” said store owner Michael Powell. “And it’s a wonderful reason to celebrate.”
Sadly, their baby name book was wrong. Powell doesn’t mean “alert.” The two possible origins are Paul, from the Latin paulus, meaning “small,” or the Welsh patronymic ap-Hywel, “son of Hywel,” with Hywel meaning “eminent, conspicuous.”
Regardless, I think it’s awesome to be named with a beloved bookstore in mind.
One of my own favorite bookstores is Parnassus, back home on the Cape. (Located right by Edward Gorey‘s house, now a museum.) I think Parnassus is a terrific name for a bookstore, but I don’t think I could give it to a baby. Maybe as a middle name…but not likely.
What’s the name of your favorite bookstore? Would it make a good baby name?