WAS THE NAME WENDY INVENTED FOR PETER PAN?


J. M. Barrie did not invent the name Wendy for his 1904 play Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up (the book form of the story, Peter and Wendy, was published in 1911). He did popularize it, though. Barrie apparently was inspired to use the name by a young friend named Margaret Henley, the daughter of writer William Henley. Margaret, who died around 1895 at age 6, called Barrie her “friendy.” Since she couldn’t pronounce her Rs at the time, the word came out “fwendy,” or “fwendy-wendy,” in some versions of the story. But we have absolute proof that there were earlier Wendys, thanks to the just-released 1880 U.S. Census and the 1881 British Census. These documents show that the name Wendy, while not common, was indeed used in both the U.S. and Great Britain throughout the 1800s. See more