How popular is the baby name Dorcasina in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Dorcasina.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dorcasina

Posts that Mention the Name Dorcasina

What Do You Think of Altruria?

sunset-islandThe names Dorcasina, Malaeska, and Trilby were inspired by characters from 19th-century novels. Altruria also comes from a 19th-century novel, but not from a character.

A Traveler from Altruria (1894) by William Dean Howells was first published in installments in Cosmopolitan in 1892-1893. The protagonist is Aristides Homos, a visitor to America from the fictional island of Altruria, “a Utopian world that combined the foundations of Christianity and the U.S. Constitution to produce an “ethical socialism” by which society was guided.”

The fictional place-name Altruria is a play on the word “altruism,” which was coined relatively recently (circa 1830) by French philosopher Auguste Comte.

Though A Traveler from Altruria isn’t well-remembered today, it was influential during the 1890s. Altrurian Clubs started sprouting up across the country. A short-lived commune called Altruria was established in Sonoma County, California, in the mid-1890s. And at least two babies were given the (middle) name Altruria:

  • Carrie Altruria Evans, born in 1900 in Van Wert, Ohio
  • Lester Altruria Eby, born in 1895 in Des Moines, Iowa

The official history book of the Van Wert Altrurian Club even mentions Carrie by name:

Carrie Altruria Evans, born 1900 in Ohio
Carrie Altruria Evans, b. 1900

What do you think of Altruria as a baby name? Do you think it could be an alternative to the fast-rising Aurora (which broke into the top 100 last year)?

Sources: Science fiction The 19th and early 20th centuries – Encyclopedia Britannica, Altrurian Club History – Ohio Memory Collection, Altruism – Online Etymology Dictionary

Book-Inspired Baby Name – Dorcasina

Not long after I discovered the name Malaeksa, I went off in search of other long-forgotten best-sellers with unique names in their titles, to see if any of those names had been picked up in real life as well.

The best one I found? Dorcasina.

It comes from the book Female Quixotism, Exhibited in the Romantic Opinions and Extravagant Adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon (original title) by Tabitha Gilman Tenney.

dorcasina sheldon book

At least one literary historian has said that Female Quixotism (1801) was the most popular novel written in America prior to the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).

The book is “a comic, boisterous anti-romance” set in Philadelphia around the time of the revolution. The protagonist, Dorcas Sheldon, is a young romantic who decides to rename herself:

At this time Miss Dorcas became extremely dissatisfied with her unfashionable and unromantic name; but as she could not easily change it, she was determined to alter and give it a romantic termination. She, therefore, one day, after expressing great dislike to it, begged her father, in future, to call her Dorcasina.

Dorcasina was not character you’d want your child to emulate (“Dorcasina is courted, hurt, and tricked by almost everyone who crosses her path, both friends who wish to protect her and villains who wish to take advantage of her”) and yet a handful of baby girls were named Dorcasina after the book was published, mainly during the first half of the 19th century. Some examples:

  • Dorcasina Bowker, b. 1811 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Hotchkiss, b. 1812 in New York
  • Dorcasina Totman, b. 1820 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Wilkinson, b. 1825 in Kentucky
  • Dorcasina Harlow, b. 1826 in Massachusetts
  • Dorcasina Rolfe, b. 1840 in Michigan
  • Dorcasina Willard, b. 1855 in Massachusetts
  • Ruth Dorcasina Gill, b. 1880 in Louisiana

Other baby girls were given slightly different versions of the name, including Dorcassina and Dorcasine.

What do you think about the name Dorcasina? (Do you like it better than Dorcas?)