The Joan Club


Recently, I was at a women's networking luncheon. We paired up in groups of two for a little networking exercise. I was paired up with another women named Joan. Now, I do not meet many women with the name Joan. It is not a common name these days, and usually it dates you. It was a more popular name during the mid 20th century and in previous centuries.

I decided it would be fun to create a club of women with the name Joan. And I thought I could start out the club listing some of the women past and present with the name Joan.

The Meaning of the Name Joan

The girl's name Joan is pronounced jone. It is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is "the Lord is gracious". It is the medieval feminine version of John. Joan has 6 variant forms: Joane, Joanie, Joannue, Jone, Jonee and Joni.

Displayed below is the baby name popularity trend for the girl's name Joan. (graph from the web site "



Joan of Arc - Messenger of God -- Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431) helped the French defeat the English and was burned at the stake in 1431. She said God gave her a mandate to drive the English out of France. This mandate came to her through her direct communication with such heavenly beings as Archangel Michael, St. Margaret and St. Catherine. She was called the Maid of Orleans and was a national political hero in France, as well as a religious heroine. She was canonized in 1920.

Joan Fontaine - actress -- Joan Fontaine (born October 22, 1917) is an Academy Award-winning British actress, who became an American citizen in April 1943. She was born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland in Tokyo, Japan, the younger daughter of Walter de Havilland, and the former Lilian Augusta Ruse, a British actress known by her stage name of Lilian Fontaine, who married in 1914, and divorced when Joan was two. Walter was a British patent attorney with a practice in Japan. She is the younger sister of actress Olivia de Havilland, from whom she has been estranged since 1975; both attended Los Gatos High School and the Notre Dame Convent Roman Catholic girls school in Belmont, California.

Joan Crawford - actress -- (1908-1977) born on March 23. US actress, dancer. She won an Oscar for "Mildred Pierce," 1945. Her reputation was tarnished by her daughter's 1978 biography "Mommie Dearest."

Joan Baez - Folk Singer -- Joan Chandos Baez (born in Staten Island, NYC, USA, on January 9, 1941, to Mexican and British parents) is an American folk singer and songwriter known for her highly individual vocal style. She is a soprano with a three-octave vocal range[1] and a distinctively rapid vibrato. Many of her songs are topical and deal with social issues. She is best known for her hits "There But For Fortune", "Diamonds & Rust" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", and to a lesser extent,"We Shall Overcome," "Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word" and "Farewell Angelina".

Joan Collins - Writer -- Joan Henrietta Collins OBE (born 23 May 1933) is a Golden Globe Award winning British actress and bestselling author.

Joan Kennedy - former wife of Ted Kennedy -- Joan Bennett Kennedy was born Virginia Joan Bennett on September 2, 1936 in Riverdale, New York. She was the daughter of Henry Wiggin Bennett, Jr. and the former Virginia Joan Stead. She attended Manhattanville College, a Sacred Heart Academy, along with several Kennedy daughters. Through them, she met her future husband, Edward Moore Kennedy (Ted Kennedy).

Joan Sutherland - Opera Singer -- Dame Joan Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE (born November 7, 1926) is an Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the bel canto renaissance of the 1950s and 1960s. Sutherland is known for her soprano voice of Wagnerian proportions with its extreme flexibility, ethereal presence and instantly recognisable unique silvery timbre. She was hailed La Stupenda after an Alcina performance in La Fenice in 1960. Joan Sutherland was born in Sydney. Her mother was a mezzo soprano who had given up her career. She learned a lot from her mother, with whom she used to sing and listen to many recordings. She attended St Catherine's School, Waverley, the oldest Anglican girls' school in Sydney. When Sutherland was 18, she started to study singing seriously. She made her debut in Australia as Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, in 1952.

Joan Rivers - American comedienne -- Joan Rivers (born Joan Sandra Molinsky on June 8, 1933) is an American comedienne, actress, talk show host, businesswoman, and celebrity. She is known for her brash manner and loud, raspy voice with a heavy metropolitan New York accent. Rivers is the National Chairwoman of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is a board member of God's Love We Deliver. Like the ground-breaking Phyllis Diller, Rivers' act relied heavily on poking fun at herself. A typical Rivers joke about her unattractiveness: "I used to stand by the side of the road with a sign: 'Last girl before freeway.'"

Joan Cusack - American Actress-- Born on 11 October 1962, New York, New York, USA with the birth name of Joan Mary Cusack. Cusack was the first regular cast member of "Saturday Night Live" (1975) (1985-86 season) to be nominated for an Academy Award. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Working Girl (1988). One of her conditions for starring in the show "What About Joan" (2001) was that it had to be produced in Chicago so she would not have to leave her family. In the mid-1980s, was a co-founder of the three woman improv comedy troupe, "An Impulsive Thing", with Bonnie Hunt and Holly Wortell.

Joan Benoit - Marathon Runner-- Joan Benoit Samuelson (born May 16, 1957) is an American marathon runner who won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the year that the women's marathon was introduced. As a result she was the first ever women's Olympic marathon champion. 

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