18 May 2010

Are you a Boston Brahmin?

Did you know Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (1809-1894)—the physician, professor, writer, and father of the Supreme Justice—coined the phrase "Boston Brahmin" to describe the uppercrust of society in 1860? 

If you're a descendant of one of the First Families of Boston, you could be a Boston Brahmin and not know it! Lucky for us, Wikipedia offers a list of who belongs in this select group, including the Adams, Bacon, Cabot, Chaffee, Choate, Cushing, Crowninshield, Dana, Delano, Dudley, Eliot, Emerson, Endicott, Forbes, Holmes, Jackson, Lawrence, Lodge, Lowell, Minot, Otis, Parkman, Peabody, Perkins, Phillips, Putnam, Quincy, Saltonstall, Thorndike, Tudor, Weld, Wigglesworth, and Winthrop families.

Of course, you can't just be a name-dropper. You need one or more of the following attributes, preferably all of them, to rank right up there with your peers: old New England roots, great wealth, political clout, cultural influence, and uppercrust sensibilities.

Hmm, no wonder I can't find some of my ancestors in the Boston records. They didn't make the list.

1 comment:

  1. I am indeed a Dana. But I was born in San Francisco, at a time (1950) that everyone there thought that was a first name. In fact, in school they usually switched my first name (now common, but then unknown) with my last. Dana is also an Italian name, so we often got election mail in Italian.