Name Change: Lydia to Lidian

Lydia "Lidian" Emerson (1802-1892), second wife of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Lydia “Lidian” Emerson (with son Edward)

Transcendentalist writer and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson proposed to his second wife, Lydia Jackson, via letter in January of 1835.

We do not have Lydia’s reply to the proposal, but it came swiftly. […] Within a week he was calling her Lidian (though he continued for a while to write Lydia on the envelope) and they began planning a life together. It has been suggested that Emerson called her Lidian in order to head off the inevitable New England pronunciation of her married name as Lydiar Emerson, but all that we know for certain is that he remarked to a cousin at the time that “the philistines baptized her Lydia, but her name is Lidian.”

Ralph married Lydia/Lidian later the same year, in September.

In her correspondence, she signed herself “Lidian” when the letters went to her husband or to individuals within the Emerson circle; to her sister, she remained “Lydia.”

On her gravestone, her name is written “Lidian Emerson.”

Which name do you like more, Lydia or Lidian?

Which do you prefer, Lydia or Lidian?

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Sources:

Brünnhilde, the Viking Cat

Brunnhilde the Viking kitty

Today is Leif Erikson Day! To celebrate, here is a photograph of “Brünnhilde” — a cat dressed up like a Viking, complete with a tiny Viking helmet. The photo was taken in 1936 and is now part of the Library of Congress photo archive.

Her Viking name — a version of the valkyrie name Brunhild — is derived from a pair of Germanic elements meaning “coat of mail, armor, protection” and “battle, fight.”

Something tells me that Brünnhilde wasn’t this kitty’s real name, though. What do you think this cat was called on a day-to-day basis?

Sources: Behind the Name, Nordic Names, Brünnhilde – LOC

[Similar posts: What Would You Name the Catfish-Riding Boy? and What Would You Name the Two Frenchmen?]

Unusual Baby Name: Zelute

Here’s an interesting name I spotted a few months ago: Zelute. It belonged to Miss Zelute B. Cheever (1796-1873) of Lynn, Massachusetts.

The name apparently comes from a Greek word — more often transliterated as zeloute — that’s used several times in the Bible. It means something along the lines of “desirous,” “covetous,” or “earnestly seeking,” but also “jealous” or “envious,” depending upon the context.

It’s related to the more familiar words zealous and zeal. (Zeal has begun popping up in the data lately, btw.)

What are your thoughts on the name Zelute? (How about Zeal?)

Baby Name Battle: Piper vs. Pippa

Piper and Pippa have a lot in common: both are 2-syllable p-names, and both debuted in the SSA data in the 1950s thanks to the influence of famous actresses.

Since the ’50s, though, their paths have diverged. Piper has become popular, and now sits inside the top 100. Pippa, on the other hand, has yet to reach the top 1,000.

Piper comes directly from the surname, which was originally an occupational name for a pipe player.

Pippa, short for Philippa, can be traced back to the ancient Greek name Philippos, meaning “fond of horses.”

If you were having a daughter, and you had to name her either Piper or Pippa, which would it be?

I'd choose:

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Five-Name Friday: Girl Name for Naomi’s Sister?

It’s time for one last Five-Name Friday! (I’m going to stop publishing suggestion-posts for the time being, though I may bring them back in the future.)

Today’s request, oddly enough, may be the shortest one we’ve ever seen:

Girl name to go with Naomi (sister’s name)?

Can you come up with five solid baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Choose your five names before looking at anyone else’s comment.
  • Be sincere. Stick to legit recommendations you would offer a real-life friend.
  • Five names total in your comment, please. If you go over, the extras will be deleted.

Which 5 baby names are you going to suggest?