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The name is found in United States records from the 19th century; the name Wendy appeared over twenty times in the U.S. Census of 1880. In Britain, Wendy appeared as a boy's name in the 1881 census of England, and was occasionally used as a diminutive for the Welsh Gwendolyn. It was also used as a surname in Britain from at least the 17th century. However, its popularity as a girl's name is attributed to the character Wendy Darling from the 1904 play Peter Pan and its 1911 novelization Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie. The name was inspired by young Margaret Henley, daughter of Barrie's poet friend W. E. Henley. With the common childhood difficulty pronouncing Rs, Margaret reportedly used to call him 'my fwiendy-wendy'.
Various Chinese rulers have held the name and title Emperor Wen, which in Chinese is read Wen(-)di (文帝). Chinese women with the same or similar-sounding characters as their given names often anglicise their names as Wendi or Wendy (e.g. Wendi Deng, Wendy Kweh).
In Germany, the name Wendy became popular because of a children's magazine series about horses.
- James Heath, John Phillips (1675). A Chronicle of the Late Intestine War in the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland (2nd ed.). London: J.C. for Thomas Basset. p. 480.
- Was the name Wendy invented for the book Peter Pan? at The Straight Dope
- Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, Dictionary of First Names, 1990
- The History of the name "Wendy"
- Think Baby Names - Wanda
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