When I first started working on Robert Lowth’s letters, and in particular on the letters he had written to his wife Mary, I happened to tell a colleague about them. The colleague was surprised to find that Lowth’s private name for Mary was Molly, as this seemed very unusual to him. But the Lowths also had a daughter called Molly, or Mary in full, and in the letters he frequently refers to her as “ye. [the] dear little Molly”, and even as “ye. little Mollykin” and, using another endearment device, as “the dear Toms [Lowth’s eldest son] & Mollys”.
So it was interesting to read that John Wesley, too, addressed his wife Mary as Molly, as Annemiek Korf shows elsewhere in this blog. So this form of endearment for the name Mary turns out not to be so uncommon after all. Another Mary-called-Molly is Molly Pitcher, whose full name was Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley (1754-1832). A fascinating woman, I would say, as she is described as a camp follower but also, as this image illustrates, as a soldier!
Any other Molly’s, heroic or otherwise?