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Most of my documentation and personal signatures show me as J Anna - this is not an affectation. The initial J stands for Jadwiga - a beautiful Polish name which points to my heritage. I was given the name by my parents in deference to one of Poland's most famous saints, Jadwiga, Królowa Polski (Queen of Poland). Not to be confused with another royal Jadwiga Śląska (Silesia). Their (patron) saints days are celebrated on either the 15th or 16th of October and confusion reigns constantly - I have always celebrated my patron saint's day on 15th October.

This does not explain why I do not use the name on an everyday basis. All members of our family have two 'first' names (previously known as 'Christian' names) and a name of choice received at confirmation - mine is Maria.

Unfortunately, computers do not allow for a second name to be used as a first name, so I am constantly, even after all this years, greatly upset by the mispronounciation of this beautiful name. The first syllable, 'Jad', is not pronounced with a hard 'j' as in 'jag(uar)' for insances, but as in 'Yad' (Vashem). The second syllable, 'wig' is not pronounced as the English word for hair piece, but with a 'v' sound transposing the 'w' with the same strength as the 'vid' in the word video. The final 'a' is short and sharp and not as in 'ay'. If you choose to look at the video of the Polish tennis player you will hear her pronounce the name correctly.

Variations of the name are 'Edwige' (in French and which pronounciation I do like) and 'Hedwig' from the German also used as a name for Harry Potter's owl.

I thought that it would be appropriate to devote a page to women bearing the name of Jadwiga in my personal section.

I will start with our great-aunt:

'Ciocia Jadzia' - Jadwiga Tintz :

Great Aunt Jadwiga

Our cousin Sister Jadwiga

A nun in the religious order of

Jadwiga - a cousin who is a nun



1930s Polish Tennis Star - Jadwiga Jędrzejowska

Fabulous Portrait of JJ in 1933

A rare still of JJ playing at Wimbledon where she reached the Final in 1937


Born 15 October 1912 in Krakow / Died 28 February 1980 in Katowice / Married Alfred Gallert, 1947

Played under maiden name after marriage. Unlucky never to have won a major title. Her forehand was the biggest of her era. She remains the greatest ever Polish player,make or female.

Jędrzejowska reached the singles final of a Grand Slam tournament on three occasions, still a record for Polish tennis.

Wimbledon (1937): lost to Dorothy Round 6–2, 2–6, 7–5.
US Championships (1937): lost to Anita Lizana 6–4, 6–2.
French Championships (1939): lost to Simone Mathieu 6–3, 8–6.
In women's doubles, Jędrzejowska won the 1939 French Championships with Mathieu, defeating Alice Florian and Hella Kovac in the final 7–5, 7–5. Jędrzejowska's record in other Grand Slam women's doubles finals was as follows:

French Championships (1936): Jędrzejowska and Susan Noel lost to Mathieu and Billie Yorke 2–6, 6–4, 6–4.
US Championships (1938): Jędrzejowska and Mathieu lost to Alice Marble and Sarah Palfrey Cooke 6–8, 6–4, 6–3.
In the mixed doubles final at the 1947 French Championships, Jędrzejowska and Christian Caralulis lost to Eric Sturgess and Sheila Summers 6–0, 6–0.

At the age of 44, Jędrzejowska reached the women's doubles quarterfinals of the 1957 French Championships with partner Pilar Barril.

According to Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail, Jędrzejowska was ranked in the world top ten from 1936 through 1939 (no rankings issued from 1940 through 1945), reaching a career high of World No. 3 in those rankings in 1937.

Played the French 9 times from 1931 to 1948, making SF in 1937 and RU in 1939.
Played Wimbledon 10 times from 1931 to 1947. QF 1935,38-39, SF 36, RU in 1937.
Played US in 1937 (RU) and 1938 (QF).
All 21 slams she made the QF 4 times, SF twice, and twice RU.

Jadwiga, Królowa Polski (Queen of Poland)

Jadwiga as illustrated by Jan Matejko

As illustrated by Jan Matejko the endearing image I was brought up with whilst learning the history of Poland

Jadwiga, Queen of Poland

Lithographic pint made by W. Walkiewicz according to painting of Wojciech Gerson. Edited for Art Associations in Lviv in 1876

Jadwiga Slaska (Silesia)

Saint Jadwiga

Polish Text / English Text

Hedy Lamarr

Actress known for the scandal that was perpetrated in 1933 when she starred in 'Ecstasy' which reached no. 8 in the top 50 Cinema listings in 1933 but also a woman inventor!

Hedy Lamarr on the cover of Life Magasine in 1942

Hedy Lamarr the glamorous film actress on the cover of the 1st of June, 1942 Life Magazine cover - image sourced via The Guardian &

Hedy Lamarr's invention

But what would her adoring public have thought of this Inventors patent lodged in August 1942 which would eventually lead to the development of the wi-fi that we are so reliant on today? - Image sourced from The Guardian - Lamarr's patent, filed in 1941, was developed with the American composer George Antheil. Photograph: USPTO

Although she achieved international fame as a Hollywood movie star, Lamarr was not satisfied by acting. In her trailer between takes, and staying up all night at home, she practised her favourite hobby: inventing. In an audio recording used in Bombshell, she discusses her love of science, her failed experiments (effervescent cola tablets) and her successes, including streamlining her lover Howard Hughes's racing aeroplane. "I don't have to work on ideas," she says. "They come naturally." Lamarr's greatest scientific triumph was intended for the US navy during the second world war, but is now used in modern wireless communication. Her "secret communication system" used "frequency hopping" to guide radio-controlled missiles underwater in a way that was undetectable by the enemy. It was Lamarr's brainwave (though some say she may have first seen a sketch of a similar idea in the office of her first husband, the Austrian munitions manufacturer Fritz Mandl) and she developed it together with a friend, the composer George Antheil. The patent was granted in 1942.

The military took her idea and eventually used it, but Lamarr was advised that she would make a greater contribution to the war effort as a pinup rather than as an inventor: entertaining troops, pushing war bonds and, as the documentary notes, selling kisses. Lamarr's invention didn't become widely known until near the end of her life, in the late 1990s. It gained more traction when her obituaries were published in 2000. Since then the news has spread and she has become an icon of women in science – in comic books, plays and even that modern monument, a Google Doodle. All the time that Lamarr was making big films in Hollywood (and missing out on even more, including Casablanca and Gaslight) the press kept writing about her love life (six marriages and six divorces), and her sultry, kittenish looks. Anything but her invention – despite the fact that it had actually been made public in 1941. The National Inventors Council leaked the story to the press, leading the LA Times to call Lamarr a "screen siren and inventor … [whose] invention, held secret by the government, is considered of great potential value in the national defense program". The story disappeared and by 1944, when Motion Picture Magazine referred to Lamarr's intelligence, it was talking about her "discovering a new headdress". As Lamarr aged, she became a joke – even the ghostwriter of her memoirs turned them into something so "fictional, false, vulgar, scandalous, libelous and obscene" that she sued the publishers. Source : The Guardian

Jadwiga Piłsudska-Jaraczewska

Daughter of Polish national hero Marshał Józef Piłsudski - obituary

Jadwiga Pilsudzka Spitfire pilot

Jadwiga Piłsudska-Jaraczewska with officers during the war

Jadwiga Pilsudzka with fellow Spitfire pilots

Jadwiga Piłsudska-Jaraczewska (second from right) with other ATA pilots during the war
Images courtesy of The Daily Telegraph

Jadwiga "Apostoł" (Apostle)

Member of the Polish Resistance / Concentration Camp survivor

Jadwiga Apostol Book Cover

Hedwig - the Harry Potter Owl

Why did J.K.R choose this particular name for Harry's Owl I wonder? Was she just mesmerised by the beauty of the name or did she revere any of the great heroine's that had previously owned the name?

According to the literary 'lore' - "Harry Potter's Trusted Owl, was named Hedwig. He found this name in his 'History of Magic' textbook." But this still doesn't explain why J.K.R chose it!

A very determined contributor to states '"Hedwig" was the name of a medieval saint, and that is where J.K. Rowling got the name.' I like it best of all the comments (you can see them by following the link) but why would J.K.R. use the name of a saint to name an owl (as a Roman Catholic I find that difficult to swallow) unless, it follows that many comments state that Hedwig was more than a pet or companion for Harry, she was endowed with protective powers, akin perhaps to a guardian angel in which case that could fit the bill but it still does not answer the question directly. provides a comprehnsive list of the unusual names and placenames found in the book, for Hedwig the following is given - "Hedwig: In a recent interview, Mrs. Rowling said that Hedwig is the name of a medieval saint. Someone e-mailed me this very helpful site that has very good info on St. Hedwig. (Thanx!) St. Hedwig had seven children and was married several times. She cared for the sick and supported the poor. There's a school named for her, this school provides education for abandoned and orphaned children. Do you see a connection here? Hedwig, the owl, cares for Harry who is orphaned, and this school named after St. Hedwig cares for the orphaned." This is unhelpful on two counts - 1) when was this interview (what does 'recent' mean and where was it published/transmitted?) and which website was provided for a much-married saint?

Wiki (after following several links) gives us : "Hedwig is Harry Potter's owl, given to him in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as an eleventh birthday present by Rubeus Hagrid, who purchases the owl in Diagon Alley at the Eeylops Owl Emporium. Harry gives her this name after reading it in a book on the history of magic. Hedwig is used for delivering messages throughout the series, and also serves as a companion to Harry, especially when he is unable to interact with other wizards. It is implied throughout the books that Hedwig can fully understand Harry's speech. In the fifth book, Order of the Phoenix, Hedwig is intercepted by Dolores Umbridge and is hurt, but is later healed by Professor Grubbly-Plank. In the seventh book, The Deathly Hallows, Hedwig is killed by a curse from a Death Eater; in the film version, she is killed defending Harry from the Death Eater. According to Rowling, Hedwig's death represents the loss of Harry's innocence. Although the character of Hedwig is female, she is played on film by male owls (female snowy owls have dark patches of plumage, while only the males are completely white). The John Williams composition which serves as title music for the entire film series is named "Hedwig's Theme". " I love the fact that Hedwig is up there with 'Dr. Zhivago and Lara's theme' by having one of her own (I didn't know that before!)

Big debate on about Hedwig's demise and a gobble-de-gook response from J.K.R. which doesn't help a bit - I think I'll leave it for the time being!

Even if I cannot find the answer to this, I can at least appreciate the '4 reasons' of explanation on the Pottermore website!

Harry Potter and Hedwig the Owl

Image sourced from 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' as featured on the Pottermore website

4 reasons Hedwig was better than everyone else at Hogwarts

Hedwig was one of J.K. Rowling's most beloved creations – perhaps even more so than some of her human characters.

It's unlikely that there's a single Harry Potter fan who didn't shed a tear when Hedwig was killed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Despite a distinct lack of dialogue beyond the occasional hoot, Hedwig was a favourite of many fans of the series. Here's why…

Hedwig had character

She may not have been able to vocalise it, but you know that Hedwig had a feisty spirit. How many times did she gaze at Harry reproachfully or nip his finger, or cuff him about the head with an outstretched wing…

"The soup was stone cold, but he drank half of it in one gulp. Then he crossed the room to Hedwig's cage and tipped the soggy vegetables at the bottom of the bowl into her empty food tray. She ruffled her feathers and gave him a look of deep disgust. 'It's no good turning your beak up at it, that's all we've got,' said Harry grimly." - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Hedwig was more than Harry's pet

While Harry stayed with the Dursleys every summer, Hedwig was one of the few reminders he had that Hogwarts was real. She was his constant connection to the wizarding world up until her death. She wasn't just a pet to Harry, or a creature to deliver his post; she was also a friend. As Harry says in Order of the Phoenix, Hedwig 'was the only friend he had at number four, Privet Drive'.

"When Harry felt overwhelmed (or couldn't deal with Ron and Hermione's bickering) he would often visit Hedwig's roost in the Hogwarts owlery. Her silent comfort and the quiet of the owlery was something of a refuge. She nipped his finger, perhaps rather harder than she would ordinarily have done, but hooted softly in a reassuring sort of way all the same." - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

She was smart (and not just for a bird)

Hedwig (and the same could be said of the other owls at Hogwarts – except maybe Pigwidgeon) proved time and time again that she had more smarts than your average snowy owl.

"She always knew that a letter addressed to Snuffles was intended for Sirius; and now that we think of it, never even needed an address to be written on an envelope. She was also able to follow more complex instructions, such as 'keep pecking [Ron and Hermione] till they've written decent-length answers' in Order of the Phoenix. She always managed to show up wherever Harry was, even when he had run away from Privet Drive. Harry was something of a homing beacon for Hedwig – and that's perhaps because they were each other's home. She sometimes flew in to nibble his ear and have a bit of toast before going off to sleep in the owlery with the other school owls." - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

She really meant something to readers

Nothing proved how important Hedwig was more than the reaction of fans when she was killed during the Battle of the Seven Potters in Deathly Hallows. In the book, Hedwig was killed as she sat in her cage by Harry's side – as she had so many times before – as they attempted to escape on the back of Hagrid's motorcycle. In the film, the scene was made even more heartbreaking, as Hedwig was killed while attempting to protect Harry from Death Eaters.

J.K. Rowling has said previously: 'The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security. She has been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood. I'm sorry... I know that death upset a LOT of people!'

"'No – HEDWIG!'
The broomstick spun to earth, but he just managed to seize the strap of his rucksack and the top of the cage as the motorbike swung the right way up again. A second's relief, and then another burst of green light. The owl screeched and fell to the floor of the cage.
'No – NO!'
The motorbike zoomed forward; Harry glimpsed hooded Death Eaters scattering as Hagrid blasted through their circle.
'Hedwig – Hedwig --'
But the owl lay motionless and pathetic as a toy on the floor of her cage." - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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