Hollister is an English family name from the Gloucester region of England, now most numerous in the United States of America. In 1992, it was estimated there were 2204 households in the USA, 94 in Canada, 81 in Australia, 21 in New Zealand, 3 in Denmark and 371 in Great Britain.
One source suggests that the name Hollister is associated with Hollier, in the same way that Baxter is known to be a feminine form of Baker. The IGI suggests that the stronghold of the Hollister name is Wickwar in Gloucestershire, which happens also to be the stronghold of the Hallier surname, rather than Hollier.
The surname dictionaries usually reference a link between Hollister and Hollier and variously describe its meaning as relating to Old English or Old French words meaning "Dweller by the holly tree" - hardly surprising - or "Whoremonger" which most of us would prefer to pass over quickly. Such dictionaries rarely give any proof of such assertions and so must be considered as speculative.
There are two coats of arms often associated with the family name Hollister; however, it has not been shown that either have been officially linked to the name, since coats of arms are associated with individuals, not surnames. Coats of arms cannot automatically be claimed by any member of a family. The coat of arms is bestowed on an individual and is passed to the eldest child (usually son). Younger children officially have to use differencing when displaying arms.
Most often Burke's General Armoury is quoted as listing the following for the name Hollister:
This translates as:
A black field with a silver bend. On the bend 3 red circles. Above the bend a silver greyhound in line with the bend, and below the bend a silver dolphin erect with head upwards. At the top of the shield a silver field with 3 sprigs of strawberry with natural coloured fruit.
This is, however an erroneous link, even in terms of the surname. In fact this coat of arms is linked to the name Hollist. Commercial heraldry companies continue to link the name and the coat of arms.
Another coat of arms, a derivation of this, was published in an unknown US book. The differences include using strawberry fruit instead of the torteaux.
The first recorded migration of a Hollister to Australia was with the First Fleet in 1788, Job Hollister, on the Convict Transport Alexander. Hollister was sentenced in Bristol, England to 7 years of penal servitude in New South Wales, for stealing tobacco. He apparently left the colony in July 1793 for Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island.
In about 1855 Augustus Henry Hollister, of Frampton Cotterel, UK, migrated to Victoria to search for gold. Later his father, Levi Hollister, migrated to see the 3 sons who had migrated. This is the major Hollister line in Eastern Australia.
In 1866, James Hollister migrated to South Australia aboard the Prince of Wales from Somerset, England. This is the major Hollister line in South Australia
To the United States of America
Lieut. John Hollister went to America in 1642 and settled at Wethersfield, Connecticut; b. 1612; m. Joanna (d. 1694), daughter of Richard Treat, and died in April 1665. This is the major Hollister line in the USA.
The name in Denmark is founded by Gunnar Jensen who changed his name in the US and returned to Denmark in 1969. In 1979 Gunnar's grandson Daniel Hollister was born, and is the first in Denmark to have the name from birth.
List of notable persons with the surname
- Alice Hollister, American silent film actress
- Bob James, country singer born Robert James Hollister
- Brett Hollister, member of New Zealand Bronze Medal winning coxed fours at the 1984 Summer Olympics
- C. Warren Hollister, historian and author of "Medieval Europe: A Short History"
- Carroll Hollister, an American classical pianist, who often accompanied Yehudi Menuhin
- Cassius M. Hollister was a 19th-century American law enforcement officer
- Charles M. Hollister was an American football coach
- Dave Hollister, an American R&B vocalist during the 1990s, one-fourth of the R&B quartet BLACKstreet, and later a solo artist
- David Hollister, a Michigan politician
- Di Hollister, along with Christine Milne, first female Greens member of parliament in Australia
- George K. Hollister (1873–1952), American pioneer cinematographer
- Hollister brothers
- Lyle Eugene Hollister, one of the three Hollister brothers, all sailors in the United States Navy during World War II, who were killed in 1943
- Richard Jerome Hollister, one of the three Hollister brothers, all sailors in the United States Navy during World War II, who were killed in 1943
- William Howard Hollister, one of the three Hollister brothers, all sailors in the United States Navy during World War II, who were killed in 1943
- Howard Clark Hollister was a United States federal judge
- John Hollister, Republican congressman
- John B. Hollister (7 November 1890 – 4 January 1979) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio
- John J. Hollister, Jr. was an agriculturalist, banker and California state senator
- John W. Hollister (21 October 1869 – 8 March 1950) was an American football player and coach in the United States
- Leo E. Hollister, an American medical practitioner specialising in the psychotic effects of drugs
- Lindsay Hollister (born 1977), American actress
- Nancy Putnam Hollister, a Republican politician from the U.S. state of Ohio
- Ned Hollister was an American biologist
- Scott Hollister American life enjoyer
- Sara Northrup was the second wife of L. Ron Hubbard, and later known as Sara Northrup Hollister (by marriage)
- William Welles Hollister (1818–1886), California rancher and entrepreneur
- Kevin Colin Hollister (1986-present), Insurance sales tycoon
- Amy Hollister, character played by Beth Wohl in the Bones episode The Knight on the Grid
- Captain Frank Hollister, Captain of the Red Dwarf, Red Dwarf sci-fi television series
- Ethel Hollister, a character in the Campfire Girls novels
- Clay Hollister, sherriff of Tombstone, Arizona (played by Pat Conway) in the TV series Tombstone Territory
- The Happy Hollisters, children's mystery book family
- Hayley Wilson Hollister, character played by Dana Delany in As the World Turns
- Jack Hollister a.k.a. Skysurfer One, animated character in Skysurfer Strike Force
- John M. Hollister, fictional character who was claimed to have founded Hollister Co. in 1922 as a pacific merchant shop.
- Judge Yvonne Hollister, a Judge in the Judge Dredd series
- Juliet Hollister, founder of the Temple of Understanding
- Lily Hollister, a Marvel Comics character better known as the villain Menace
- Lynn Hollister, a character played by John Wayne in the movie A Man Betrayed
- Major Mad Dog Hollister, a character played by Bill Bailey, in the movie Water
- Maxwell Hollister, character in The Young and the Restless, played by Sam Behrens
- Park Ranger Hollister, character played by Steve Inwood in Grizzly II: The Predator
- Founders of Australia by Mollie Gillen
- "Brand History: get to know each brand's identity" (PDF). Abercrombie & Fitch. Retrieved 8 September 2009.