The Baby Name Miroslava

miroslava, actress, 1950
Miroslava on the cover of LIFE, 1950

Right at the start of the Cold War, the curiously Russian-sounding name Miroslava debuted on the U.S. baby name charts:

  • 1957: 10 baby girls named Miroslava (7 in Texas)
  • 1956: 6 baby girls named Miroslava
  • 1955: 16 baby girls named Miroslava (8 in Texas, 6 in New York)
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: 6 baby girls named Miroslava
  • 1952: 6 baby girls named Miroslava
  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Miroslava [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Czechoslovakian-born Mexican actress Miroslava Šternová, who gave Hollywood a shot in the early 1950s.

She was born in Prague in 1925. When the Germans overtook Czechoslovakia in 1939, her family (which was Jewish) fled. By 1941, they had resettled in Mexico.

Miroslava, billed mononymously, began appearing in Mexican films in the mid-1940s. She was introduced to American audiences in the matador movie The Brave Bulls (1951). Long before the movie came out, Miroslava appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine in July of 1950.

But her Hollywood career didn’t take off, perhaps due in part to her heavy accent. Her one other U.S. film was Stranger on Horseback, which was released in March of 1955 — a few weeks after Miroslava committed suicide at the age of 29.

The name Miroslava, used in various Slavic countries (including Russia), is made up of elements meaning “peace” and “glory.”

(Another Slavic feminine name that debuted on the U.S. charts during the Cold War? Svetlana, inspired by the daughter of Josef Stalin…)

Sources: Miroslava – Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen, Miroslava (actress) – Wikipedia, Miroslav – Behind the Name
Image: © 1950 LIFE

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