The Baby Name Sissieretta

sissieretta jonesSissieretta Jones was a famous African-American soprano who performed both nationally and internationally from the late 1880s to the mid-1910s.

She began her career as an opera singer, earning the nickname “Black Patti” in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. (She was not a fan of the nickname.)

She sang for presidents and royalty, but racism prevented her from performing in most American concert halls. So in the mid-1890s she switched over to popular music, headlining the successful traveling show the “Black Patti Troubadours.”

Sissieretta’s unique name — originally her middle name (her first name was Matilda) — appears to be a blend of Sissie and the name of her mother, Henrietta.

Though she isn’t well remembered today, I’ve found dozens of people named in her honor including Sissieretta Duncan (born in 1893) and Sisseretta Valentine (born in 1920).

What do you think of the name Sissieretta?

Sources: Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones – Wikipedia, The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Image: White House Historical Association

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