The Unexpected Introduction of Jade

katharine hepburn, jade, dragon seed, movie, baby name, 1940s

Here’s one I didn’t expect: the baby name Jade, very trendy during the last quarter of the 20th century, was put on the onomastic map in the U.S. thanks to one of the strangest roles of Katharine Hepburn’s career.

  • 1947: 18 baby girls named Jade
  • 1946: 32 baby girls named Jade
  • 1945: 37 baby girls named Jade
  • 1944: 6 baby girls named Jade [debut]
  • 1943: unlisted

The war drama Dragon Seed, released in the summer of 1944, told the tale of Chinese peasants fighting off Japanese invaders during 1937, at the start of the during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was based on the 1942 novel of the same name by Pearl S. Buck.

Hepburn played Jade, a Chinese woman who led the resistance in her village. (These days it would seem pretty out-of-touch — or possibly racist — to cast a non-Asian actor in a role like this one. Back then, though, it was the convention.)

After getting this boost in the mid-1940s, the name Jade stuck around in the data. In fact, it ended up reaching the top 100 for a couple of years in the early 2000s.

Do you like the name Jade? Would you use it?

Source: Dragon Seed – TCM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.