A Man Named Shirley

Shirley Bagby

A man named Delos had a father named Shirley.

This raised a few eyebrows when we were filling out legal forms. I didn’t much question it earlier on because he was always Grandpa Shirley to me.

But I got to thinking about it recently and did some research.

Of all the people named Shirley, 99.41% are female and 0.59% are male.

It was given by Charlotte Brontë to the heroine of her novel Shirley (1849). According to the novel, her parents had selected the name in prospect of a male child and used it regardless. Shirley had earlier been used as a boy’s name (Charlotte Brontë refers to it as a ‘masculine cognomen’), but this literary influence fixed it firmly as a girl’s name. It was strongly reinforced during the 1930s and 40s by the popularity of the child film star Shirley Temple. (Source.)

Shirley was a hard-working, friendly, spiritually minded, unassuming, and unpretentious man. And look at the son he gave the world.

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2 thoughts on “A Man Named Shirley

  1. Ace Bagby WAS the Cambrian school district! I was hired by Ace in 1968 and taught at Bagby. My mother, Emily Mozzone, was hired by Ace about 63 years ago. She began in the old Cambrian School in Kinder and I went with her.
    Ace was a wonderful superintendent. Always lent a listening ear and hired me even though my mom taught in the district!! He believed in my abilities as a teacher. He helped us and supported us with his care and positive ways.
    We were fortunate to have known him.
    Jeanne Mozzone Scullion

    • Thank you, Jeanne, for sharing. I think the best lesson I got from my father’s example was that everyone is important regardless of their status in life. I grew up to be a “listener,” and it is nice to see how my father’s ability to do that was well-appreciated through the years.

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