Before becoming part of Disney’s cult films, Peter Pan and his friends first appeared in the novel “Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”, by James Matthew Barrie. It is he who is at the origin, at the beginning of the 20th century, of this pretty feminine first name created from scratch.
James Matthew Barrie is a Scottish writer, to whom we owe the theater work Peter Pan, or the boy who didn’t want to grow up, performed for the first time in 1904. The first edition of the novel dates from 1911. It is therefore at the beginning of the 20th century that we discover the story of this boy living in an imaginary world (Neverland), in the company of the Tinkerbell and Darling children. Years later, in 1953, Disney took up the incredible story of Peter Pan, better known to everyone. We of course find his sidekicks there: Wendy Darling, Mary and Michel, but also those against whom he fights: Captain Hook, without forgetting Mouche…
But what is less known is that one of these characters has a now famous first name, which did not exist before the release of the novel. Indeed, Scottish author James M. Barrie invented the female name Wendy, in a very particular way. It all came from a little girl who was used to calling him “Fwendy”. A small phonetic distortion of “friendly” which means “friendly” in English. This is how the writer had the idea of calling Peter Pan’s friend Wendie. He thus created his character, and invented a first name at the same time. An anecdote which subsequently allowed many parents to give this beautiful feminine first name to their children.
In England, the first name Wendy became widespread in the 1920s following performances of the play and the release of the novel. In France, this first name is rather rare, but it enjoyed resounding success in 1994 with 1,122 births recorded that year. Today, this first name is losing slightly in popularity, since there are only 132 Wendys left in 2022. However, other first names derived from Wendy such as: Cindy, Windy, Wendie, Wendeline, Gwen, Wande have appeared. Enough to leave the choice to parents who are fans of cult Disney novels or cartoons to opt for a first name whose little story has left its mark.