Monday, December 13, 2010

Chrismas (for Christmas)

According to AustenProse, one of the most outstanding illustrators of Jane Austen's oeuvre was a young woman named Christiana Hammond. Like Austen a century before her, "Chris" Hammond never married and tragically died quite young. She was, however, well educated and classically trained. An artist of considerable renown (she illustrated Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice, and Emma, along with assorted works by Thackery, Mrs. Gaskell, George Elliot, Oliver Goldsmith, and Maria Edgeworth), she went by a shortened form of her Christian name in order to maximize her chances for success in a Victorian man's world. We found 24 cases of Chrismas (for Christmas) in OhioLINK, only a handful of which look like they might be personal names or antiquated variants.

("Christmas Weather" by Chris Hammond, from Emma, 1898, courtesy of Indiana University's Lilly Library and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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