Thursday, December 6, 2012

Abraham or Abe? Jefferson or Jeff?

This is rather silly, but it has run around my head in the last couple of days, so I figured this would be a good outlet to write it out and see if anything interesting or worthy comes of it.

Does it matter how formally or informally we refer to historical figures? Is saying President Lincoln any more acceptable than referring to him as Abe, Old Abe, Abraham or something similar? What about President Davis or Jeff Davis, or Jefferson Davis?

Of course context is important as a scholarly study would be much more formal than a blog or a conversation, but what about during a  simple conversation between two Civil War buffs/students/bloggers or even professors? Or even something more than simple, but not published? Or how about in this new world of blogging and social media? Is it rude to use such nicknames for people who have been dead for more than a century? 

Is it a sign of disrespect to refer to "Bobby Lee" or Billy Sherman instead of Robert E. Lee or William T.Sherman? (And what about leaving out the middle initials - Robert Lee and William Sherman?)

Yeah, this isn't exactly a new level of scholarship or research, but these thoughts rambled around my brain a bit and I thought this was a good place to express and explore them.



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