Here you will see only the sim­ple black and white of the word on the page, pro­vid­ing a moment of peace and quiet, free from dis­trac­tions, as you pon­der the ques­tions and ideas pre­sented here, includ­ing those of your own name and sense of iden­tity. In Women, Their Names, & The Sto­ries They Tell, women dis­cuss every­thing from our old­est nam­ing tra­di­tions to the newest nam­ing trends.  Their sto­ries pro­vide the keys to a mul­ti­fac­eted sense of iden­tity. What are the psy­cho­log­i­cal impli­ca­tions of names while we are grow­ing up and once we are adults? What about asso­ci­a­tions to fam­ily, race, cul­ture, his­tory, and reli­gion? How do the younger gen­er­a­tions think about names and iden­tity? Can our old­est nam­ing tra­di­tions guide us as we enter the rapidly chang­ing world of the 21st cen­tury?  The essay­ists take us through the dif­fer­ent phases of life and pro­vide us with new ways of look­ing at the world based on diverse cul­tures and reli­gions. They enrich our under­stand­ing of iden­tity and  the world we live in. Read­ing their essays, you will expe­ri­ence the won­der­ful diver­sity of mankind and how much we have to offer one another. These women have changed my life. Read­ing Women, Their Names, & The Sto­ries They Tell, will also change you: you will have a more ful­fill­ing sense of self, new ways of relat­ing to oth­ers, and new knowl­edge in a vast array of top­ics. Women make this com­plex knowl­edge acces­si­ble by putting it in every­day sto­ries we can all under­stand and relate to—stories that are reas­sur­ingly famil­iar or com­pletely unexpected.

Because every­one has a dif­fer­ent story with unique insights, I invite women to con­tinue talk­ing about their given names on this web­site. Read­ing Women, Their Names, and the Sto­ries They Tell will help inspire you and guide you as you write your own story. The essays vary in length from a few sen­tences to one or two pages. Women and girls of all ages are invited to share their sto­ries. Younger  gen­er­a­tions are grow­ing up in a very dif­fer­ent inter­net age, which has enor­mous impli­ca­tions for their sense of iden­tity.  I would also like to open up the con­ver­sa­tion to men. To read some of the name sto­ries, sim­ply click on “Names” at the top of the page. To tell your own story, click on “Your Name” at the top of the page and fol­low the instruc­tions. Your last name is not nec­es­sary. Any addi­tional infor­ma­tion you can give about your cul­ture, reli­gion, age, or what part of the coun­try you come from would also be espe­cially help­ful, although not nec­es­sary. You can also post comments—all in our efforts to help one another along life’s path. Your essays and com­ments will appear after I’ve read them. Thank you for con­tin­u­ing the dis­cus­sion.

Elis­a­beth Wauga­man, Ph.D.

I have a B.A. from New­comb Col­lege of Tulane Uni­ver­sity and a Ph.D. from Duke Uni­ver­sity. My first book, released in 2006, was “Fol­low Your Dreams: The Story of Alberto Santos-Dumont.” All my roy­al­ties went to the Brazil Foun­da­tion to help chil­dren in Brazil. Twenty-five per­cent of roy­al­ties from Women, Their Names, and The Sto­ries They Tell will go to help women and chil­dren in the U.S. and twenty-five per­cent will go to help women and chil­dren abroad.