Toby is a popular male name in many English speaking countries. It is also a popular name for Jewish women because of its similarity to the Hebrew name Tova. It is also a popular name for Yoruba women, however spelt Tobi.
The name is often used in its own right, but may also be a contraction of Tobias, Tobit, Tobin (an Irish surname - in Irish, "Toibin"), or Tobermory. In The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien "Toby" is used as a contraction of the hobbit name "Tobold", and "Old Toby" is used as a name for a type of tobacco. The only known Tobold outside of the Shire is Tobold M P Hemming in England/Australia
There are many characters in literature called Toby, including:
Toby was the name given to the slave Kunta Kinte, whose descendant the author Alex Haley wrote the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family about his roots in Africa, his ancestor's life in slavery, and the family's struggle for freedom in American society. Toby was often used as a name for slaves in the United States.