Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss Biography: Final Cuts, Part 1. What’s in a name?

Crockett Johnson, "How to write a book," illus. from Ruth Krauss's How to Make an EarthquakeI know. You thought that me posting omitted portions of the biography was over months ago. So did I. Thing is, the copyeditor for Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How An Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature (coming September 2012) was also charged with getting the manuscript shorter still.  And so… there are further cuts.  On the mistaken assumption that two or three people might find these interesting, I’ll share a few.  Today’s concern the derivation of surnames – Krauss and Leisk (Crockett Johnson‘s real name was David Johnson Leisk).  I find this sort of information interesting, but there are other proposed cuts that I find even more worthy of keeping.  So, these items (formerly of Chapters 1 and 2, respectively) are cut.

Derived from the German kraus, Ruth’s surname means “curly” – and her hair was curly.  Though it probably originates in Bohemia, Krauss and its variants also appear in neighboring countries Austria and Germany.

The name Leask may derive from the Norse or Danish word for “a stirring fellow,” or it may be a diminutive of lisse, Anglo-Saxon for “happy.”  Johnson’s ancestors spell the name Leask until the latter half of the nineteenth century, when they also spell it Leisk. These two spellings may explain the name’s variant pronunciations – “Lihsk” or “Leesk.” Johnson pronounced it “Lihsk.”

Are there more cuts to share? you ask.  (Or, possibly, you don’t ask.)  Yes.  Yes, there are.  Plus there’s lots more on the bio, stored away in various corners of this blog.  Posts tagged Crockett Johnson or Ruth Krauss or Biography are probably going to lead you to something connected to the biography.  OK, a few won’t  But most will.  Anyway.  Here are some related posts:

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