Would You Bet on “Gamble”?

gamble, news, 1960s, baby name
Gamble on the cover of Life in April, 1960

Like the name Tirrell, the curious name Gamble appears regularly these days in the boys’ data, but it first popped up as a girl name — just once — in 1961:

  • 1963: unlisted
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: 5 baby girls named Gamble [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Another runaway heiress! This one was New York debutante/heiress Gamble Benedict, the granddaughter of Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935), co-owner of the Remington Typewriter Company.

During the last days of 1959, 18-year-old Gamble ran away from home to be with her 35-year-old Romanian-born boyfriend, Andrei Porumbeanu (who already had a wife, Helma, and daughter, Gigi).

Gamble and Andrei first fled to Paris, where they stayed for most of January. (Gamble turned 19 mid-month.) At the end of the month, Gamble was apprehended by Paris police and “flown home to her stern dowager grandmother.”

The pair ran off again in April, after Andrei had obtained a Mexican divorce. This time they went south. They married in North Carolina on the 6th, then took a plane to Florida for a honeymoon.

The story was in the news for months on end during the first half of the year. (Several years later, in 1964, Time magazine summed it up as an “endlessly publicized…runaway marriage.”)

So what became of the couple? They ended up having two sons (George and Gregory) and spent most of their time in Switzerland…before Gamble initiated divorce proceedings in mid-1963.

Though I never found an explanation for Gamble’s unique first name, my guess is that it’s a surname that can be found somewhere in her family tree.

What are your thoughts on the name “Gamble” for a baby (male or female)? Would you use it?

Sources:

Image: © 1960 Life

3 thoughts on “Would You Bet on “Gamble”?

  1. Nancy, your guess about the origin of the name Gamble was spot on.

    Her “stern dowager grandmother” was Katharine Geddes Benedict who was in turn the granddaughter of the Very Reverend Dean John Gamble Geddes, of Hamilton, Ontario. Gamble was the maiden name of the good Reverend’s mother, Sarah Hannah Boies Gamble.

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