The Naming of Abelard

I'm often asked how Abelard got the name that it did.

Peter Abelard - (1079 - April 21, 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and logician. The story of his affair with and love for Héloïse has become legendary. That affair was characterised by the letters that he and his lover exchanged. Peter Abelard moved philosophical thinking into an age of Conceptualism - He was also an accomplished composer and adored his music.

These things, a love of writing, of thinking and of music were key to my Mother's life too. At the end of the war, as the group of women she worked with in the War office in 1 Whitehall Place in London began to head back to their families and friends they agreed to form a correspondence magazine. This was an early form of mail facilitated "blog", with a folder of letters sent on a round robin circulation list with each letter annotated by the readers, removed, comments answered and new stories recounted before sending on again. In the 1950's my mother joined two correspondence magazines, called Phoenix, and Rapunzel. For security, each member took a pen name, and my mothers love of letters, or music and philosophy led her to choose a pen name of "Abelard".

The correspondence magazines are still running, and our family history is well preserved in the letters we still have from all those years.

No surprise, then, that in the 1970's my Father chose the 'Abelard' name when he set up his own business after a career in ICI. (He wasn't shy of writing himself having written a number of books on his areas of expertise, some of which now appear in digital form, 12 years after his death, this would have amused him). He retired in 1988 and the company closed, but in 2004 I set up in business again and found the old company name was still available. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Abelard was again reborn into a digital world, where writing and philosophy and music would still be as important now as it ever was.

Abelard too, because my Mother's name is Eloise.

My Father died in 1999, and my Mother in 2011, their spirit lives on in Abelard.

William Buist
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William Buist

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  • Chandra bose

    That was awesome! Probably one
    of the more interesting reads in awhile.Cover Letters 

  • Gary Lennon

    Now that is a real story! Fantastic pedigree and beautiful tradition too! Hope the name continues into future history!

  • 162319

    a very touching story, thank you.

  • Maureen Fair

    Phoenix as a correspondence magazine is still going strong but if any woman would like to join us please contact me, Maureen Fair, editor, on 

  • Martin Hughes

    One of the best stories behind a company name that I’ve come across.

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