Maturity still not achieved

It’s pretty bad, isn’t it, that one of my favourite aspects of my 1930s NYC/USA research is the hilarious names I keep coming across.

Exhibit A: Rexford Tugwell.

Readers, I admit that I laughed for about half an hour. And then I made the mistake of telling Scott about Monsieur Tugwell. More laughter.

For the record, Mr Tugwell was a dead interesting bloke. A member of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Brain Trust and thus a key contributor to the New Deal.



  1. angharad on #

    Rexford Tugwell of THE BRAIN TRUST. It just gets better.

  2. angharad on #

    for the first time, i’m glad you enabled the capital, ’cause sometimes a girl needs her big letters.

  3. Nate on #

    True, true, but amusing name or not Rexford Tugwell was a pretty impressive guy who made serious contributions to Roosevelt’s New Deal, and his family continues to be involved in public service. His son Frank Tugwell is the president of Winrock, an international agricultural development nonprofit that works all over the world, and his grandson, Bryce, works with me at the Jane Goodall Institute. Go Tugwells!

  4. sylvia_rachel on #

    That’s an awesome one. The spousal unit and I have a sort of running competition to see who runs across the most humorous, embarrassing, or peculiar names in the course of our ordinary existence (going looking on purpose is not allowed). It’s great fun, but I’m not sure I’ll ever better two of my very early finds: Dick Hehr (a member of the Alberta Cabinet in the early 1990s) and Anita Dyck (a real-estate agent who used to advertise on bus-stop benches in Calgary in the late 1980s).

    Sounds to me like Mr Tugwell — like his better-known fellow sufferers Fitzwilliam Darcy and Robertson Davies — was a victim of the widespread and unfortunate trend of giving defenceless little boys their mothers’ maiden names …

  5. Karen on #

    Oh, Rexford. Tugwell, sir. Tugwell.

  6. john cash on #

    How about Guy Tugwell? (“Guy” was his middle name)

  7. marrije on #

    No way. I do not believe you. This is just one of Maureen’s cats or her swanky ski intructor or something, real people do not have names like that.

  8. Amber on #

    Some people need to get a grip.

    And start pulling themselves together.



  9. Gina Black on #

    Sounds like a WC Fields character.

  10. Camille on #

    Mr. Tugwell also has a fairly hot picture going on there. [/ gross objectification] 😀 😀 😀

    (I leave the puns to the more skillful, it always ends up badly when I try.)

  11. cherie priest on #

    Heh. You sound like me — I rummage through cemeteries and the like in search of such names, pretty much whenever I can. That’s where some of my best characters have come from!

    Though I got “Jedediah G. Swakhammer” off the local news, and that one was pretty sweet, too.

  12. Tez Miller on #

    Remember the Olympics? DICK POUND! 😉

  13. PixelFish on #

    Okay,this is a bit before Tugwell’s time, but our favourite person (aside from the uber famous Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau) in the Concord, Mass, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is (pause for dramatic emphasis) Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar. He has such a great tombstone too. It reads “Fearless of Death” at the tail end of a list of glowing attributes.

    I’ve got a picture here:

  14. Nicola on #

    I know exactly what you mean! I work for the federal parliament and I get many giggles (too many, probably!) out of the names of some witnesses at parliamentary inquiries. My fave so far is Professor Zumbo. Just great. A close second though came in a recent speech in which an MP was rattling off the names of a bunch of primary school students in his electorate. The winner of the best name was (drum roll, please): Tiger Boontang! I kid you not.

  15. Justine on #

    Nate: As I mentioned in the post, Rexford Tugwell was a most impressive man. How lovely to hear that his son and grandson have followed in his footsteps.

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