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.”
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?
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?)