Tuesday, October 17, 2006

the DuBois name

It is still unclear whether the name should be Dubois, Du Bois, or DuBois. Until very recently I had always thought it was one word. After being questioned on it by Larry Lowery and mentioning my thoughts to him on the spelling, I had a dream shortly after where I am certain that my departed grandmother admonished me with "Yes, Wendy, it was one word but it had a capital 'B'. " The next day I had the sense of 'aha' with me all day as I remembered him signing it that way and found several old letters, poems, etc where he had signed it as one word -- with the capital 'B'. But my excitement waned as I noticed on some manuscripts and other documents that he had typed it as 2 words. Finally I dug out his baptism certificate and if it can be considered a valid source his name is Gaylord MacIlvaine Du Bois -- 2 words. On my mother's birth certificate it is one word -- with a capital 'B'.
More information on the name can be found on the Dubois Family Association website where it is mentioned that there were discrepencies way back and there seems to have been 2 lines that handed down the alternate spellings. Click the link below for more on the
DuBois Family History
The following poem was also gleaned from the DuBois Family Association website and if read through to the end the correct pronunciation is inevitable.

The Du Bois Name

Not putting much trust in the Edict of Nantes
Our Huguenot ancestors ran out of France.

Old Chretien's offspring soon scattered afar,
All firmly convinced that their name was du Bwa.

But some stayed in Leyden and then, oh my gosh,
Translated the name to the Dutch Van der Bosch.

And some went to Scotland, the land of their choice,
Where clansmen corrupted their label to Boice.

But Louis and Jacques came across to New York,
Where Dutch, French and English all mingled their talk.

And ever since then, in this polygot nation,
Folks ask us, "Please, what's the right pronunciation?"

'Tis no longer du Bwa as so many suppose
And it is not Du Boys, and of course not Du Boze.

Du Boy is not right, nor is Du'Bois correct,
For the accent is not where some people suspect.

Please read this out loud so the sound of your voice
By this rhythm records that our name is Du Bois'.



Anonymous said...

But is it "doo" or "dyu"?

David Porta said...


When Gaylord Du Bois was credited, spelling was not consistent, and I had wondered, though I have stuck with the spelling used by Randall Scott in his transcription of the Account Books.

I say, "When Gaylord Du Bois was credited." That was only when his name appeared, crediting him as the writer. Mostly, it does not appear at all. Comic book stories routinely did not contain creator credits back in the late '30s through to the late '60s. (Stan Lee at Marvel Comics changed that.)

Western Publishing (for whom GDB worked) finally put in creator credit boxes in some of his comics in the 1970s. How it may have appeared (DuBois or Du Bois) could have depended on the editor or the letterer, and would not necessarily have been how GDB himself might have signed his work, had he signed it.

Moreover, many of the Big Little Books written by Du Bois were signed "Buck Wilson." His Tailspin Tommy BLBs credited only the comic strip's creator, Hal Forrest. GDB wrote the first Lone Ranger novel, and was credited as the author in the first printing; but later printings were brought into conformity with ghost-written sequels, all credited to the Loner Ranger's creator, Fran Stryker (who created the LR for radio).

GDB produced "work for hire." GDB wrote "juvenile fiction": BLBs, adventure novels, comic strips (he was one of the ghost writers for two newspaper strips, circa 1939-1940, King of the Royal Mounted, and Red Ryder), and comic books. He did not own the rights to anything he wrote, and much or most of what he wrote for was licensed, to begin with; such as his long-running assignments writing the comic-book adventures of Tarzan (probably his best-know work -- he put in over 20 years on it), and Roy Rogers (over 15 years writing Roy Rogers Comics).

I spell it Du Bois.

It is nice to know that is how it is written on his birth certificate.

wourpet said...


It's Doo

Jesse Hamm said...

Thanks for clarifying, Wendy.

Good news -- Gaylord's TARZAN stories are being reprinted in lush new hardbound editions!