I just finished reading a fantastic biography of Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite poets. The book is My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson, by Alfred Habegger. Though it's quite a long read at 800 pages (which includes notes, appendices, etc), I highly recommend it. It's got every detail related to Dickinson's life, as well as substantial comparisons to other Dickinson biographies. The other great thing about it - there were a lot of amazing names!
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Early nineteenth-century New England was full of all kinds of names - rare Biblical, virtuous Puritan, classic English. As I was reading, I kept a list of all of the great names I came across; some are friends and family of Dickinson, some are other figures around her life and time. There may be a few fictional - character names were excellent in 1800's novels! A few have notes attached if I felt the name was super rare or unique, or had cool data.
Asahel Nettleton - Asahel means "created by God"
Betsey Fay Norcross
Zebina Montague - Very little data available
Thankful Dickinson - One of the most common Puritan virtue names in the seventeenth century
Sabra Howe - Sabra means "prickly pear"
Eudocia Carter Converse
Abiah Root - Abiah means "God is my father" - this could be a nice alternative to Abigail
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
Brainard Harrington - Brainard means "courageous raven"... not highly recommended, though
Edward Payson Crowell
John Long Graves
Elbridge Gridley Bowdoin
George Frisbie Whicher
Hiram Adolphus Hawkins
Phydelia Kellogg - Possibly means "faithful," though it's rarely been recorded
Sophia Van Vranken
Ithamar Conkey - Incredibly rare Biblical name, one of the sons of Aaron
Fidelia Hayward Cooke
Cerinthia Inghram - Very little data available
Orvis F Bigelow