A contest for the letter J

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Every once in a while, a question arrives in our mailbox that doesn’t just stump but surprise me: what does the “J” in “J. Herbin” stand for? I can’t believe I never asked.

Unfortunately, no-one seems to know. Karen did some sleuthing online, and found a few sites with information about French male names of an era somewhat earlier than the one during which J. Herbin was alive (the 17th century). For the 17th century, all I could find is a site that focused on French Montreal. (Jean was more popular in France, while Jean-Baptiste and Joseph were more common in the colony, apparently.)

Karen figured that was that Jehan, Jean, or Jacques are the most likely contenders. But this is a question best crowdsourced — so if you have any information or hypotheses about the names of 17th century French sailors, please post it below or write to us!

Otherwise, just enter our contest: three lucky winners will get a surprise bottle of J. Herbin ink.

Enter by Wednesday, November 13 at midnight EST by completing this form.

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