"one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations," 1921, a reference to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and "Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), who was noted for keeping her chin up during disasters.
(1913) A children's book by the American author Eleanor H. Porter. The title character is an orphan girl who, despite the difficulties of her life, is always extremely cheerful.
Note: A “Pollyanna” remains excessively sweet-tempered and optimistic even in adversity.
An irrepressibly cheery person; undaunted optimist: or were we all a crowd of Pollyannas?
[1913+; fr the title and heroine of a novel by Eleanor Hodgman Porter, 1868–1920]