The Dolores-like baby name Dellora appeared in the U.S. data for a total of six years, seeing peak usage in 1922:
- 1925: unlisted
- 1924: 8 baby girls named Dellora
- 1923: 13 baby girls named Dellora
- 1922: 14 baby girls named Dellora
- 1921: 7 baby girls named Dellora
- 1920: unlisted
- 1919: 7 baby girls named Dellora
- 1918: 5 baby girls named Dellora
- 1917: unlisted
Much of this usage is attributable to heiress Dellora Angell (1902-1979) of St. Charles, Illinois.
Her name first started popping up in the newspapers in late 1918, upon the death of her maternal aunt, Dellora Gates. Aunt Dellora was the widow of wealthy industrialist John W. Gates, and she left the bulk of the Gates fortune to her last two close relatives: her brother Edward, and her teenage niece/namesake Dellora (the daughter of her deceased sister Lavern).
In the early 1920s, the newspapers began linking young Dellora to various suitors (e.g., a Brazilian physician named Vantini, an oil man named Campbell).
In late 1922, she finally got engaged to a childhood friend from St. Charles named Lester Norris, described as a “poor artist and son of the village undertaker.” (He was a newspaper cartoonist; he later became a businessman.)
They had a small wedding in March of 1923. After that, they rented a small apartment in St. Charles, where Dellora “began housekeeping, doing her own cooking and sewing, and having a lot of fun doing it.”
For several years the newspapers continued to report on Dellora’s growing family, and her unusual decision to live so simply:
The richest young woman in the world, who, from the number of her millions, and her youth and beauty, one would expect to find wintering at Cannes, moving with the seasons from one smart watering place to another and filling her wardrobe with Parisian gowns and jewels, lives quietly in a Middle Western town, wears gingham dresses, as she does own housework, and looks after her two babies herself.
(They went on to have a total of five children: Lavern, Lester*, Joann, Robert, and John.)
In the meanwhile, Dellora and Lester (and Dellora’s uncle, Edward) quietly gave back to the community of St. Charles. They funded/created a theater, a municipal center, a hospital (named “Delnor,” a contraction of Dellora Norris), a hotel, a community center, and made numerous other contributions and donations to schools, churches, and so forth. Today, Dellora’s name lives on in the name of the Dellora A. Norris Cultural Arts Center.
What are your thoughts on baby name Dellora? Would you consider using it on a modern baby?
- “J. W. Gates’s Widow Dies at Age of 63.” New York Tribune 29 Nov. 1918: 12.
- “Coming June Bride Is Worth at Least Million.” Riverside Daily Press 11 Jun. 1921: 1.
- “Has Dellora Angell, $38,000,000 Heiress, Again Run Away From Love.” Evening World [New York] 18 Jul. 1922: 16.
- “Heiress Engaged.” Riverside Daily Press 10 Nov. 1922: 1.
- “Humble Life Preferred by Millionaire Bride.” Evening Star 16 Nov. 1923: 38.
- “The Gates Heiress and Her “Love-In-a-Cottage”.” Ogden Standard Examiner 26 Jul. 1925: 22.
- Szymczak, Patricia M. “The Legacy.” Chicago Tribune 15 Jan. 1989.
*In July of 1925, it was reported that baby Lester, born in April, was still nameless and “in lieu of a permanent name” was being called Skeezix after the comic strip character (see Clovia).