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4thjuly-14x

As we celebrate Independence Day, it’s important to look beyond the generals who led the battles and the men who signed the Declaration, and also pay tribute to the women who contributed to the history of the period—whether by actually sneaking onto the battlefield or by playing a role behind the scenes, or influencing the cultural life of the times.

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sweet baby

There’s no sweeter pleasure than serenading your baby with a lullaby, which can even be nicer if the song’s title references the sweetness of your daughter’s (or son’s) name.  An amazing number of songs fit this bill, dating from the early days of the republic to the Golden Age of jazz and swing, right through to contemporary rock— from the barbershop quartet harmonies of Sweet Adeline to the Rolling Stones’ rendition of Sweet Virginia. Most of these songs have lyrics you can actually croon, while just a few are instrumentals you can set your own words to.

Here they are:

ADELINESweet Adeline is an old standard that was a favorite of barbershop quartets.  JFK’s grandfather John F. Fitzgerald, mayor of Boston, made it his theme song, and Mickey Mouse serenaded Minnie with it in a 1929 cartoon.  Sweet name Adeline reappeared on the pop list in 1999, and is now Number 288.

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Fourteen Shades of Elizabeth

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The royal and biblical Elizabeth accounted for approximately a quarter of all girls’ names in early Britain, and when she emigrated to Colonial America, close to the same percentage of all girl babies were christened with that name— sometimes even more than one in a family. So it’s no wonder that numerous nicknames would pop up to distinguish among all the Elizabeths– several of which would go on to be used as independent names.
Of course Elizabeth itself is a wonderfully elegant classic, but here are some of the most appealing variations on the Elizabethan theme.

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july4a

This year once more, and again with apologies to our dear Britberries,  we honor some of the (more interestingly named) heroes in the struggle of the US to gain its independence from the mother country, as well as some of the more unusually named Signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Here, some early patriotic baby names:

Women

BETSY (Elizabeth) Ross—even though she may not have actually made the first American flag

DEBORAH Sampson — first known female to impersonate a man in order to join the army and take part in combat

LYDIA Darragh – Quaker woman who (probably) warned Washington of an impending attack

MERCY Otis Warren –a political writer and propagandist who authored plays and poems advocating independence

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