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Oh, Anne! I love so many things about you, and today I love the fact that you are a Name Freak like me. How do I know this? How does a kindred spirit know anything about another kindred spirit? Also, witness Anne, begging Marilla to let her rename herself “Cordelia” early in the book. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say more. I mean, this is a woman who named trees, ponds, and the china dogs which sat at either side of the hearth at Miss Patty’s boarding house (Gog and Magog). C’mon!
Going one step further, I think Lucy Maud Montgomery made Anne a name freak because of course she is a crazy-fan of names, and one of the best character namers in the history of fiction. Marilla Cuthbert, Minerva Tomgallon, Atossa and Samson Coates, and Captain Abraham Pringle?
Take that Luna Lovegood!
You think you’re so hot, Uriah Heep?
(By the way, if this is the first time you’re coming over to my blog, I, too, am a Name Nutter. Witness 2000’s “A is for Adam,” 2008’s “A is for Atticus” and this blog I wrote about Downton Abby baby/pet names.)
Of course, there’s a difference between spectacular, juicy character names and something we would actually slap on a poor, innocent baby in 2016. (However, I’m just dying to find an imperious lady rescue cat and name her Atossa.)
So, to celebrate the one year anniversary of “Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me” releasing, I decided to write a fun list of the AOGG/LMM names I think are beautiful, quaint, edgy and/or creative. For some of you, if my picks are a little too out there for a human baby, what about a fur baby?
Listed alphabetically then, here are 13 luscious Green Gables-inspired baby/pet names:
Melodic and gorgeous sounding, Avonlea has a soft “A” (not like the Avon lady), and a strong connection to all things Anne. What about Avonlea Anne, or Avonlea Jane, or Avonlea Mae? I think I like that last one best. It also evokes the cozy, close-knit community connection of Anne’s town. Pretty, poetic and singular. I met a baby girl who’s Mama and Papa nabbed Avonlea as a middle name from “A is for Atticus.” Charlotte Avonlea for the win!
“I would love to be called Cordelia,” our pal Anne said to Marilla that first day. “It’s such a perfectly elegant name.” Yes, elegant, stylish, romantic and creative. And such a bounty of nicknames! Cute Cordie and antique Delia are tops.
Felix King was a character in Maud’s books “The Story Girl” and “The Golden Road.” Some of you may recall Gus Pike’s awesome PEI brogue in the “Road to Avonlea” show—“Fay-lix and Fa-La-city (Felicity) Kang”. J Felix, though well used in Europe and Australia, is rarely used here. Not sure why—Felix the cat? Oscar and Felix from “The Odd Couple”? Whatever weirdness prevents this name from rising, it should still appeal to parents looking to revive an antique. It means “happy, lucky” which is a seriously upbeat meaning, isn’t it?
- Gilbert. I think we all know how I feel about Gilbert. Many of you feel the same way. I would love to see Gilbert rise as a baby name, obviously. It was a top 100 name in 1920, so it should be making a comeback soon. A young couple I know was toying with it as a tribute to my Gil, and also the young father to be’s father’s Dutch name, Gijsbert! They went with Peter, a grand choice, but, but, but…I’m still pining for Gilbert.
- Jamesina/Phillippa: Of course, we are speaking here of Aunt Jamesina, Stella Maynard’s sweet little aunt who kept house for Anne and the roomies at Patty’s Place during college in Nova Scotia. “She’s the sweetest aunt that ever lived, in spite of her name. She can’t help that! She was called Jamesina because her father, whose name was James, was drowned at sea a month before she was born. I always call her Aunt Jimsie,” Stella said, giving us another nickname for Jamesina. While I think it’s potent and strong for modern baby namers such as Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds to name their daughters plain old James—after all, many, many of our modern girl names started out as male names, including Hilary and Carol—a more elaborate homage to a special James holds lots of old timey charm. Take Phillipa, as in Phil Gordon, Anne’s kindred college pal. Veddy British indeed, which I love, and can be shortened to the adorable Pippa, as in Phillipa “Pippa” Middleton. Jamesina: James, Jamie, Jimsie. Phillipa: Phil, Pippa, Pip
7. Lennox: If you haven’t read “Anne of Windy Poplars,” lately, you may be foggy on Lennox Carter’s provenance. He was a learned man, a professor at Redmond College with whose love life Anne interfered, with grand results: Lennox ended up marrying Esme Taylor, despite her boorish father, Cyrus, and his crabby mood the day Lennox came to call. (Of course Anne interfered and saved the romantic day! She’s a Yenta!). This is a marvelous, blue-blooded Scottish name with “commanding clout” (“A is for Atticus”). Achtung! Brad and Angelina: Here’s an option with an X ending for your next boy! Lennox: Len, Lex, Knox, Nox.
8. Lucy/Maud: Though Anne fans have named their baby girls Lucy for many years, to honour Lucy Maud Montgomery, the great and bosom LMM went strictly by Maud. Pretty, happy Lucy is already popular in the US and all over the world in its various iterations (Lucia, etc), so how about we talk Maud? Straight shooter, strong Maud may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Maudie is sweet and appealing. Listen to the Nameberry geniuses chat up Maud: “Maud, lacy and mauve-tinted, was wildly popular a hundred years ago, but has been rarely heard in the past fifty. Some stylish parents are starting to choose Maud again, especially as a middle.”
10. Marilla: How pretty, and how identifiable as something only an Anne fanatic would confer on her bundle of joy! Short for Amaryllis—really!—Marilla charms and endears. Anne thought so—she named her youngest daughter Marilla “Rilla” Blythe after her adoptive mother. My friend Bernadeta of Blue Moon (a real person, with a real place on PEI!) has a daughter named Rilla Diana. #Superfan
11. Una: Una who, now? Why, Una Meredith, of course, kindred soul frolicking in Rainbow Valley with Anne’s kids. Random thoughts: U is the loneliest letter in the alphabet when it comes to baby naming. Could be fun as a first initial. Also, one time I interviewed Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard fame and he told me his daughter’s name is Una Marigold, which I LOVE. Quick, who knows the Marigold connection to LMM?
12. Valancy: Next to the Anne books, “The Blue Castle” is my favorite of LMM’s 20-some books. Really, a scrumptious treat of a story, which I will blog about soon! Its heroine: Passive-to-Plucky Valancy Stirling, a 29 year old “spinster” who suddenly gets the courage to lead her own life instead of letting her family—a clamjamfry of louts—do it for her. I never knew before where Maud came up with Valancy, until now. Blogger Abby of Appellation Mountain has cracked the code, I think: “She must have borrowed Valancy from Isabella Valancy Crawford, a successful freelance poet in the 1870s and 1880s, a time when such a thing was rare. Born in Dublin, she lived her adult life in Canada, eventually settling in Toronto. While she wasn’t a superstar in her lifetime, a 1923 compilation of her work put her back in the spotlight – just in time for Montgomery to write The Blue Castle.”
13. Walter: Oh, Walter! Not only was Walter Shirley Anne’s tender father, but he was also the name of quite my favorite of Anne’s children. Walter Blythe “had all his mother’s vivid imagination and passionate love of beauty. Frost of winter, invitation of spring, dream of summer and glamour of autumn, all meant much to Walter.” The Aiden of its day (Walter was #13 in the 1880’s), Walter is around #300 or so now, being embraced by parents who value books, history, and scholarly pursuits. I predict a Walter comeback, any year now.
I’m giving away a vintage slate from my favorite little treasure trove, Reinspired Treasures right here in cozy Avonlea (er, Alger Heights!). Comment below on your favorite AOGG name from the above list, or off the list, and you’ll be entered to win this darling slate, just perfect for whacking your own Gilbert Blythe over the head with!
Love! I’m getting ready to read AOGG with my third (and youngest) daughter. This was such a good reminder of some of my favorite characters. Can’t wait for her brand new copy to arrive in the mail–couldn’t share the many copies around here, of course… every little girl deserves her own personal new hardcover version of Anne! 😉 Thanks for sharing this collection of favorites!
Amanda, you are so right–every girl deserves her own copy of the best book ever! And you’re welcome. I had SO MUCH fun!
Debra Morris says
When my first daughter was born in 1972, I named her Rebecca Blythe. I love the name Blythe- light, spring-like, happy. It’s like a name for the fairies that populate the shores of the Lake of Shining Waters.
My second daughter’s name is Rachel and my 3rd daughter’s name is Emily Mae. Emily is actually my favourite LMM series!
You’re so right….Blythe gives a well, blythe feeling!
Always have loved Marilla . . and have always wished my middle name was Anne with an E not just plain Ann . . lol . . if I had to select one RIGHT NOW for a granddaughter I would pick Marilla or Emily
I love Marilla, too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could name grandchildren?? 🙂
Jeannie Prinsen says
Cordelia is a lovely name, isn’t it. I remember when I was about 9 or 10 years old, reading the Anne books aloud to my grandfather, who had glaucoma and was no longer able to read. When I got to the name Cordelia I didn’t know it was pronounced “Cor-DEEL-ya”; I pronounced it “COR-da-LEE-a.” My mom said later that it sounded so cute she didn’t have the heart to correct me. 🙂
That is an adorable story! Thanks for sharing, Jeannie!
Heather Tuba says
After you named me ‘Marceline’ (or something), I am compelled to comment. I went downstairs and grabbed my copy of Chronicles of Avonlea off the bookshelf. The very first name that jumped at me as a perfect name for a boy ‘Montgomery’. And what about Monty for a little guy? I’m in love, and writing this one on a list for future grandsons. Other names: Theodora, Margaret (Maggie), and my own (not from the book, although a variation), Olive. I met a little ‘Olive’ two weeks ago and fell in love with the name. I had not paid attention to the plethora of names in Montgomery’s books, but just scanning a few pages, I may have to reread. Who needs to buy a baby name book? Unless it’s yours of course!
“Unless its yours of course…” Yes, indeed! 🙂 I love Olive, too!
Avonlea Mae. Love it!
Perfection, isn’t it?
Cindy G says
How about Averil from Anne’s first novel, Averil’s Atonement?
I can’t remember, was Averil and man or a woman?
A woman!! 🙂
I’ve actually had 2 pets named in connection with Maud. The very first cat I ever had was named Maud and my best friend had named her cat, Frede after LMM’s best friend. I would love to say that my love for cats was really brought forth by Maud but that cat was one of the crankiest most unfriendly animals ever to exist. Ironically I now have a cat named Josie Pye and she is one of the sweetest animals ever to walk this planet. So my naming has not matched personalities very well.
Ha! I would love to see a photo of Josie Pye, the cat! May I and then post it?
Love this! My daughter is named Avonlea Grace and I get compliments on how beautiful it is all the time! Love love love Anne of Green Gables!
Wow! Hannah, you did so well naming your daughter! Obviously, I love, love, love AOGG, too! 🙂
Crystal Norman says
Mathew for a boy is one of my favourites.
And isn’t Matthew Cuthbert the worthiest of namesakes?
I love all of these names! Walter is a family name so we might use that for a boy. I have been trying to talk my husband into Blythe for a girl.❤
Wouldn’t that be swell? Blythe and Walter? Are you expecting now? Sounds like you are on a great baby naming track, Kim!
tera l bramble says
My daughter’s middle name is Anne after Anne of Green Gables.My dog’s name is Charlotte after Charlotte Town.