How to Write a Couple’s Name in a List?
We are working on formalizing our donor wall at the museum at which I work. I wish to list couples with (first name), (middle initial, (last name) and (suffix) assuming they have all of these. We typically list the man first, unless the woman has a different last name in which case she goes first. I am struggling with how to address a couple with the same last name, but the man has a suffix. Would it write:
—–John M. and Jane L. Smith, Jr.
—–Jane L. and John M. Smith, Jr.’
—–—–or something else?
The problem with those two options is – she is not ‘Jane L. Smith, Jr.’
I note at the New York City museums, where I have looked to see what they do, they use three forms. The first two are formal, the third one informal:
———-Mr. and Mrs. John M. Smith, Jr.
———-John M. Smith, Jr. and Jane L. Smith
———-Jane and John Smith
—–#1) The top on is the tradition form for a couple that uses the same surname. It does not include the woman’s given name, but many couples are O.K. with that.
—–#2) The middle one retains the ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ order,
—–#3) This last one is usually explained as ‘keeping his name as a unit’. It is also less formal.
Back to the New York museums: I am looking at the wall, trying to figure out their rules, and right there in the middle of the list is something completely different! When I see this wild card, I think they used what the donor put on the pledge form. If I have to choose between making the editor/committee happy — and the donor happy … I would vote for making the donor happy. It’s the donor’s name, it is their donation, and they should have their name as they want it to appear.
Another form you see when couples have equal precedence but use different names – man & woman or single sex couple – is: ‘Jane L. Apple and Susan M. Zappa’ … alphabetical by surname.
– Robert Hickey Name on an Award Certificate Diploma Plaque