The Baby Names Suellen, Carreen & Melanie

melanie, gone with the wind, movieThis is the last Gone with the Wind post, I swear. :)

In the story, Scarlett O’Hara has two sisters, Suellen (Susan Elinor) and Carreen (Caroline Irene), and a sister-in-law/best friend, Melanie. All three of these names were given a boost after the book and the movie were released in 1936 and late 1939, respectively.

Melanie

Usage influenced by the book, which was published in mid-1936:

  • 1934: 9 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1935: 9 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1936: 13 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1937: 39 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1938: 53 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1939: 57 baby girls named Melanie

Usage influenced by the movie (Melanie Hamilton was played by Olivia de Havilland):

  • 1940: 200 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1941: 308 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1942: 388 baby girls named Melanie
  • 1943: 406 baby girls named Melanie

The name Melanie is quite old (it comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “black” or “dark”) but its usage was revived by Gone with the Wind. It went on to crack the top 100 for the first time in 1968 and has been popular ever since. It ranked 82nd in 2010.

Suellen

Usage influenced by the book:

  • 1934: unlisted
  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1936: 5 baby girls named Suellen [debut]
  • 1937: 30 baby girls named Suellen
  • 1938: 31 baby girls named Suellen
  • 1939: 40 baby girls named Suellen

Usage influenced by the movie (in which Suellen O’Hara was played by Evelyn Keyes):

  • 1940: 141 named Suellen
  • 1941: 159 named Suellen (7 Sueellen)
  • 1942: 144 named Suellen (5 Sueellen)
  • 1943: 138 named Suellen (11 Sueellen)
  • 1944: 113 named Suellen (11 Sueellen)
  • 1945: 106 named Suellen (5 Sueellen)

That 159 in 1941 was as high as it ever got. Over the following decades, usage of the name petered out. The last time Suellen made the SSA’s baby name list was 2007.

Carreen

Usage influenced by the book:

  • 1934: unlisted
  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1936: unlisted
  • 1937: 8 baby girls named Carreen [debut]
  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1939: unlisted

Usage influenced by the movie (Carreen O’Hara was played by Ann Rutherford):

  • 1940: 6 baby girls named Carreen
  • 1941: 8 baby girls named Carreen
  • 1942: unlisted

It charted again a few times in the ’60s and ’70s, but that’s it. The last time it made the list was 1975.

Other Gone with the Wind posts: Scarlett, Gone With & Wind, Tara

6 thoughts on “The Baby Names Suellen, Carreen & Melanie

  1. I wonder how many Sues and Susans were Sue/Susan Ellens, especially after the movie. I wonder about alternative spellings of Carreen, too.

    Given my mother’s love of GWTW, I’m surprised I wasn’t named Melanie (Scarlett or Carreen wouldn’t work well with our last name). My sister does have a Su- double name similar to Suellen, though.

  2. Just wondering, but the character Suellen on Dallas didn’t have any effect on the name popularity in the 80s?

  3. @C in DC – Both Susan and Sue shot up in popularity during the ’30s. Some of that could have come from GWTW. (They were both on their way up anyway, though, so who knows how much of an influence the book/movie really had.)

    Susan:

    • 1935 – 1,801
    • 1936 – 2,156
    • 1937 – 2,643
    • 1938 – 3,554
    • 1939 – 4,887
    • 1940 – 6,757
    • 1941 – 8,887
    • 1942 – 12,017
    • 1943 – 14,886
    • 1944 – 16,328

    Sue:

    • 1935 – 2,023
    • 1936 – 2,223
    • 1937 – 2,503
    • 1938 – 2,589
    • 1939 – 2,621
    • 1940 – 3,105
    • 1941 – 3,363
    • 1942 – 3,630
    • 1943 – 3,846
    • 1944 – 4,036

    I found a few names like Carreen. Karine, for example. None seemed to be influenced strongly by either the book or the movie, though, so it’s hard to know if any were used as variants of Carreen.

    @Alecia – Here are the numbers for Suellen and Sue Ellen (respectively) during the years Dallas was on the air. (Wikipedia tells me the character spelled her name “Sue Ellen.”)

    • 1978 – 12; 7
    • 1979 – 19; 10
    • 1980 – 20; 23
    • 1981 – 9; 21
    • 1982 – 21; 12
    • 1983 – 14; 8
    • 1984 – 6; 8
    • 1985 – 7; 7
    • 1986 – 8; 14
    • 1987 – 5; 5
    • 1988 – not listed; 7
    • 1989 – not listed; 6
    • 1990 – not listed; not listed
    • 1991 – 5; 5
  4. I seem to remember that both Suellen and Carreen were nicknames formed by smashing together their two formal names and I was wondering if those names were influenced by the book and movie, so was glad to see you check on Susan, which I thought was probably Suellen’s first name.

    Okay, I just checked Wikipedia and Carreen was Caroline Irene. Suellen was Susan Elinor.

  5. Ah! I didn’t even think to check that. Thank you.

    Here are the numbers for Caroline:

    • 1935 – 1,048
    • 1936 – 1,075
    • 1937 – 1,093
    • 1938 – 1,115
    • 1939 – 1,005
    • 1940 – 1,161
    • 1941 – 1,172
    • 1942 – 1,391
    • 1943 – 1,353
    • 1944 – 1,212

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