Ever wonder how many Brooklyn Public Library patrons asked for baby name help per week during the late 1930s?
Me too! (What are the odds…)
Here’s the answer:
Aides of Dr. Milton James Ferguson, chief librarian, said yesterday that an average of 300 to 400 requests for help in naming the baby are received weekly by the Brooklyn Library and its thirty-five branches.
At that time, there were about 780 births per week in Brooklyn.
How did the librarians handle these requests? They had a system.
First they directed patrons to the baby name books.
If that didn’t work, they allowed patrons access to the 560,000 names in the library’s central registration office. Names on file included “Axford, Basline, Develia, Earline, Edellus, Emleta, Florayne, General, Gurdeon, Hency, Icelda, Linken, Meryren, Nylete, Pence, Permetta, Shulamith, Vicilla and Wyema.”
The third “extraordinary method, for emergency use only” was “coining a new name.”
This has resulted in such inspirational products as Iamboy, Glamoureen, Stottaway and Flimptz. The librarian-inventor of Flimptz suggested that it be bestowed upon “a blue-eyed boy of a rather pixie nature.”
Sadly, my source didn’t specify whether patrons ever used any of these made-up names, so if you ever meet a Brooklynite named Flimptz, please e-mail me right away.
Source: “Supplying Names for 300 to 400 Babies Taxes Ingenuity of Library Aides Each Week.” New York Times 26 Feb. 1938.