The First Appearance of Phronsie

The baby name Phronsie debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1940.

The curious name Phronsie first appeared in the SSA’s baby name data in 1940, and it popped up three more times that decade before leaving the charts for good:

  • 1946: unlisted
  • 1945: 6 baby girls named Phronsie
  • 1944: 5 baby girls named Phronsie
  • 1943: unlisted
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 8 baby girls named Phronsie
  • 1940: 5 baby girls named Phronsie [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A cute movie character named Phronsie (Sophronia) Pepper. She was the youngest Pepper child in a series of four feature films (Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Five Little Peppers at Home, Out West with the Peppers, and Five Little Peppers in Trouble) released in 1939 and 1940. Phronsie was played by child actress Dorothy Ann Seese in all four films.

The films were loosely based on the the series of “Five Little Peppers” books by author Margaret Sidney.

The names of the four other Peppers were Ben (Ebenezer), Polly (Mary), Joey (Joel), and Davie (David).

What are your thoughts on the name Phronsie?

Source: Filmography for Dorothy Ann Seese – TCM


3 thoughts on “The First Appearance of Phronsie

  1. Do you know how it’s pronounced? I want to say it with a short o like in “donkey,” but Sophronia looks like it would be pronounced with a long o like in “Moby.” I like the short-o pronunciation better, though it seems like a hard name to wear either way.

  2. In the movies it’s basically Fonzie with an R. So, closer to “donkey” than to “Moby.” The characters introduce themselves right away on in this video (0:15 to 0:23) if you want to hear her say it.

  3. Thanks! It’s cute the way she says it, but that might just be because she’s such a cute little girl.

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