Babies Named for Princess Ebba

ebba bernadotte, ebba munck
Princess Ebba Bernadotte

Way back in 1888, the name Ebba appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time.

It was the top debut name of the year, in fact.

According to the SSA, Ebba became the name of at least 18 U.S. baby girls in 1888:

  • 1890: 13 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1889: 13 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1888: 18 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1887: unlisted
  • 1886: unlisted

The SSDI reveals that the actual number is at least 50:

  • 1890: 51 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1889: 38 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1888: 51 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1887: 15 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1886: 11 baby girls named Ebba

Why the Ebba spike?

Miss Ebba Munck. She was a lady-in-waiting to Viktoria of Baden, who later became Queen of Sweden when her husband, Prince Gustaf, became King.

Ebba and the future king’s little brother, Prince Oscar, met in 1885. They weren’t permitted to marry until several years later, though, as Ebba was a non-royal and Oscar’s parents wouldn’t consent.

They were finally engaged in January of 1888 and married in March of 1888. Both events were mentioned in many U.S. newspapers.

By marrying Ebba, Oscar gave up both his royal title and his right of succession to the Swedish throne. By marrying Oscar, Ebba became Princess Ebba Bernadotte. (She couldn’t become an official Princess of Sweden, so her title was derived from the name of the royal House of Bernadotte.)

Where does Ebba’s name come from? It’s a feminized form of Ebbe, a diminutive of Germanic names like Eberhard. The element eber means “boar.”

Source: “Old World News by Cable.” New York Times 18 Mar. 1888.

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