Starlet Names from the Early 1900s

Ever heard of the WAMPAS Baby Stars?

They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.

WAMPAS baby stars 1928

About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).

Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).

I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).

  • 7: Dorothy
  • 6: Helen
  • 4: Elizabeth
  • 3: Frances, Ruth, Virginia
  • 2: Anita, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Clara, Doris, Dorothea, Eleanor, Evelyn, Gladys, Gwendolyn, Hazel, Jacqueline, Katherine, Laura, Louise, Lucille, Margaret, Maria, Marian, Marie, Marion, Mary, Patricia, Violet
  • 1: Adamae, Alberta, Alma, Anne, Audrey, Augusta, Blanche, Carmelita, Caryl, Constance, Derelys, Dolores, Duane, Edna, Eleanor, Ena, Enriqueta, Ethel, Ethlyne, Evalyn, Flora, Gisela, Gloria, Gretchen, Hattie, Helene, Ina, Ingeborg, Jacquiline, Jean, Joan, Jobyna, Josephine, Juanita, Julanne, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kitty, Launa, Laurette, Lena, Lenore, Lilian, Lola, Lu Ann, Lucile, Madeline, Marceline, Martha, Mildred, Myrna, Natalia, Natalie, Nellie, Neoma, Olive, Olivia, Patsy, Rita, Rochelle, Rose, Sally, Suzanne, Sidney, Toshia, Vera, Vina

And here are the leftover stage names:

  • 5: Sally
  • 4: Mary
  • 3: Joan, June
  • 2: Betty, Jean, Judith, Pauline
  • 1: Alice, Bessie, Boots, Claire, Colleen, Dolores, Dorothy, Elinor, Evelyn, Fay, Frances, Gigi, Ginger, Gladys, Gloria, Gwen, Iris, Janet, Joyce, Julie, Karen, Kathleen, Lila, Lina, Lois, Lona, Loretta, Lucille, Lupe, Marian, Molly, Mona, Natalie, Patricia, Sue

(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)

Finally, a few interesting details:

  • Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
  • Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
  • Sidney is Sidney Fox, a female who had the name Sidney/Sydney long before the name became trendy for girls.
  • Lina is Lina Basquette, who I mentioned in last week’s name quote post.

Which of the above names do you like best? Why?

Source: Derelys Perdue – Biography – Movies & TV – NYTimes.com

One-hit wonder baby names | 1920s: Derelys | 1930s: Dixianna, Torchy | 1940s: Donivee, Drene | 1950s: Frosty, Eisenhower, Judalon, Bimbo, Gogi, Theonita, Kookie | 1960s: Bonanza, Apasra, Twiggy | 1970s: Corelle, Sirica, Comaneci, Ibe, Jitu, Kairaba, Kizi, Kuntakinte, Lavare, Reannan, Travolta | 1980s: Kimario, Lencola, Nykeba, Fame, Nahema, Chachi, Senchal, Jeopardy, Tyecha, Mergeron, Calizza, Lutece, Marlesa, Tereva, Matlock, Christop | 1990s: Keemo, Ziyadah, Corvina, Picabo | 2000s: Iuma, Tsitsiki, Qorianka, Sensi, Euphoria

2 Responses to Starlet Names from the Early 1900s

  1. There are so many beautiful names listed here that have kind of become somewhat obscure… In the event that I ever do have a child, I’d like to choose a name you don’t hear that often anymore either.

    Really love Adamae ~ so very pretty! Gretchen is really beautiful, too.

  2. Here’s another interesting one: Del-Fin Thursday.

    There was an attempt at a WAMPAS revival in 1956, and she was one of the girls in that group.

    She won Miss Hawaii in 1950 as Dell-Finn Kalaupaona Poaha, she’s in the IMDB as Dell-Finn Poaha, and an obituary from a decade ago (for her father) lists her as Dell-Fin Kalaupaona III Poaha Luchinger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*