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News and Events

How did he get the name “Spike”?

February 12, 2016
Linda Blaser

Gummere was born in Boston in 1939 to Francis Barton Gummere and Dorothy Lippincott Gummere.

He got his nickname, “Spike,” in a bar in Harvard Square when he was just two hours old. It was a family friend who named him.

“It’s a true story. My father’s name was Francis Barton Gummere. My great-grandfather’s name was Francis Barton Gummere. I’m Francis Barton Gummere. My dad was called Bart. ‘I don’t want him to be called Bart, because then it’ll be Bart Junior, and I hate Junior,’ my dad told his friend. ‘Frank, Fran, and Francis are out of the question. What do I do?’”

The friend, who worked for the Boston Railroad, made a suggestion: Call him Spike. “I’ve been Spike ever since.”