Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Zelinda

Today’s mystery name is Zelinda, which first appeared in the data in 1951:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 9 baby girls named Zelinda
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 6 baby girls named Zelinda
  • 1951: 11 baby girls named Zelinda [debut & peak usage]
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted

Dozens of -linda names were in the data in the early ’50s, but “Zelinda” stands out because it both popped up and peaked in the very same year. This suggests that it had a source, but…I can’t find that source.

A handful of Italian films from around that time featured the name, but I don’t think any of these films were screened in the U.S. (Incidentally, there’s an Italian folk tale called “Zelinda and the Monster.”)

Similarly, I see “Zelinda” in the newspapers during 1950 and 1951 thanks to various high schools staging the operetta The Belle of Bagdad, which includes a character named Zelinda. But this doesn’t seem notable, as “Zelinda” was in the newspapers during the ’30s and ’40s as well for the very same reason.

The one clue I can offer is that many of the 1951 Zelindas were born in the south (Kentucky, Texas, Alabama).

Do you have any thoughts about what influenced the baby name Zelinda?


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