Feminist Last Naming Practices

Nontraditional Last Name Stories

Julia Pendleton-Knoll

Julia Pendleton-Knoll is the daughter of parents who each retained their individual natal names, but gave their children a hyphenated last name. According to Ms. Pendleton-Knoll, the decision was mostly her mother’s.
When asked why she has a hyphenated name, Ms. Pendleton-Knoll responded, “My mom didn’t want to give up her last name. And she didn’t hyphenate her last name, so it’s just the kids. She didn’t want to lose the Pendleton… Lots of times my mom gets upset when people call her Mrs. Knoll or Mrs. Pendleton-Knoll. They never do that to my dad, though..” While Ms. Pendleton-Knoll finds the length and pronunciation of her name to be cumbersome, when asked what her future plans are, in terms of her last name, she expressed uncertainty, saying, “I don’t know. I guess it depends on my husband’s last name, if he has a cool last name. I don’t know if this is possible but Pendleton-Knoll is so long and I go by P-K a lot, so maybe if I just shortened that to P-K. I don’t think I would take my husband’s last name and I wouldn’t mind having my kids have my husband’s last name because for me it’s annoying to have a hyphenated last name… I really can’t predict now or say what people should do because I don’t want to lose my name. Then there will be no more P-Ks. I want my kids to have my last name!… No, I’m going to keep my last name but I don’t know about if I have kids.”

Interviewer: Kelson Brighton

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