The Baby Name Ketti

ketti frings, look homeward angel

The name Ketti appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1959:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: 8 baby girls named Ketti [debut]
  • 1958: unlisted

This was the year after writer Ketti Frings’ play Look Homeward, Angel, which ran on Broadway from 1957 to 1959, was nominated for multiple Tony Awards and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The play, set in North Carolina in the mid-1910s, is an adaptation of the 1929 Thomas Wolfe novel of the same name:

Concentrating on the last third of Wolfe’s story, the play vividly portrays Eugene Gant, his mother, who is obsessed by her material holdings and who maintains barriers against the love of her family, his father, a stonecutter imprisoned by his failures, and the brother who never breaks away.

The author was born Katherine Hartley in Ohio in 1909. In 1938 she married German lightweight boxer Kurt Frings, who who gave her the nickname “Ketti.” (Kurt went on to become a Hollywood talent agent representing stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz.)

Do you like Ketti as a nickname for Katherine?

Sources: Ketti Frings, Stage and Film Writer –, Look Homeward, Angel – Samuel French, Inc.

P.S. In 1962, a singer named Ketty Lester (born Revoyda Frierson) had a hit on the charts called “Love Letters,” but it doesn’t look like the song influenced the usage of the baby name Ketty.

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