Time for another batch of name quotes!
From the book A Life Observed: A Spiritual Biography of C. S. Lewis (2013) by Devin Brown:
Although born and baptized as Clive [Staples Lewis], Lewis soon took a disliking to the name his parents had given him. Sometime around the age of four, he marched up to his mother and, pointing at himself, declared that he was now to be known as “Jacksie.” This name, later shortened to Jacks and then to just Jack, became the only name he would answer to. In his book Jack’s Life, Douglas Gresham, Lewis’s stepson, provides the following background on why Lewis chose this name: ‘It was actually because of a small dog that he was fond of that he picked the name Jacksie, which was what the dog was called. It was run over (probably by a horse and cart as there were almost no cars in the time and place where he was a child), and Jack, as he later became known just took the name for himself.’
From a lecture on writing sci-fi and fantasy [vid] given by author Brandon Sanderson, an aside [at 36:05] about the name Brandon:
When I grew up in Nebraska, I was the only Brandon, like, in my school. It was a really original, interesting name. I’m like, ‘My parents came up with this great, original, interesting name.’ And then I moved to Utah to go to BYU and there were five in my freshman dorm. And then I realized: It’s a Mormon name! Who would have thought? It’s not in any of the scriptures but it totally is a Mormon name. There’s a ton. Brandon Flowers, right? Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson. There’s a lot of Brandons out there with an LDS background. Who knew?
[Brandon Flowers is the lead singer of The Killers, while Brandon Mull — like Sanderson — writes fantasy. Brandon Sanderson is behind the debuts of the baby names Kaladin and Sylphrena, btw.]
Speaking of Mormon names…from a recent Deseret News article about Utah’s unusual baby names by Meg Walter:
Heather Marné Williams-Young is named after Marné Whitaker Tuttle. According to legend, Marné Whitaker Tuttle’s mother named her Marne (with no accent) after the French town on the frontlines of World War I, thinking Marne, which rhymes with barn, was a beautiful name.
But Marné disagreed, so she added the acute accent over the e, and pronounced it “Mar-nay.” “There is nothing more Utah to me than women of a certain generation trying make their names more French by putting accents places they shouldn’t be,” Williams-Young says.
[Marné Tuttle (1920-2014), the wife of LDS church leader A(lbert) Theodore Tuttle, served as “temple matron” in the Provo Utah Temple in the early 1980s. During that time, Heather’s mother worked as a Temple employee. Both Heather’s mother and Heather’s mother’s roommate ended up giving their future daughters the middle name Marné.]
“There are a handful of us around Utah County who were all named after the same woman with the made-up name,” Williams-Young says. “I feel such a kinship with them.”
[One of Marné Tuttle’s own daughters, Clarissa, was also given Marné as a middle.]
From a 2015 article in History Today about Anglo-Saxon personal names by James Chetwood:
While it is hard to tell exactly how important the meaning of name elements were, it seems likely that people were aware, to some extent, that names carried some kind of meaning. Indeed, one of the most famous, or infamous, Anglo-Saxons is most often known to us today as Ethelred the Unready, the king who lost his kingdom to Cnut. However, the name Ethelred signified ‘noble counsel’. So, when his contemporaries labelled him Æðelræd Unræd they were not calling him ‘unready’, but using the meaning of his name to mock his lack of good counsel. Similarly, when Archbishop Wulfstan entitled his homily to the English people ‘Sermon of the Wolf to the English’, he was clearly doing so in the knowledge that the first part of his name did not just sound like, but signified, ‘wolf’. Surely it cannot be coincidence that ‘rich’, ‘strong’ and ‘beautiful’ were used in names, where ‘poor’, ‘weak’ and ‘ugly’ were not.
A feature of this naming system was flexibility. There was a finite number of elements, but they could be combined in a multitude of ways. This meant that, in essence, a name was created for, rather than given to, each person. So, while elements could be repeated to emphasize parentage and family links, there was very little repetition of full names and it would be unlikely that any two people within a community or family would have the same name.
From a recent article about baseball player Zebulon Vermillion in the New York Post:
Zebulon Vermillion, as he has to explain to just about everyone he meets, was born in Vail, Colo., not too far from the Rocky Mountains and a summit known as Pikes Peak. His parents, the outdoorsy type, read that the apex was named after Zebulon Pike, and it stuck with them.
Vermillion’s last name is Nordic and middle name — Cassis — French, after a fishing port in Southern France. His mother, who is trilingual, loves the city.
From the book Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire (2022) by Brad Stone, on the process of naming Amazon’s Alexa:
Bezos said he wanted the wake word to sound “mellifluous” and opined that his mother’s name, Jacklyn, was “too harsh.” His own quickly discarded suggestions included “Finch,” the title of a fantasy detective novel by Jeff VanderMeer; “Friday,” after the personal assistant in the novel Robinson Crusoe; and “Samantha,” the witch who could twinkle her nose and accomplish any task on the TV show Bewitched.
For more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.