How popular is the baby name Henrietta 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 Henrietta.
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In late 1946, a baby girl was born to Paul Henning of Denver, Colorado. He’d heard of a man in Seattle who had 17 given names* and, impressed, decided that his own daughter’s name should be even longer. So she ended up with 24 given names.
Henning’s daughter–Mary Ann Bernadette Helen Therese Juanita Oliva Alice Louise Harriet Lucille Henrietta Celeste Corolla Constance Cecile Margaret Rose Eugene Yvonne Florentine Lolita Grace Isabelle Henning–was baptized in St. Elizabeth’s church Sunday.
If you were asked to cut this name down to just a first and a middle, using the names already listed, which two would you choose?
*The Seattle man, known as William Cary, had recently died. He’d been born in the mid-1860s and his 17 names had come from the surnames of officers in his father’s Civil War regiment.
“What’s in Name? This Baby Given 24 for a Starter.” Milwaukee Journal 11 Nov. 1946: 1.
“Man With 17 Names Dies in Seattle.” Abilene Reporter-News 1 Nov. 1946: 33.
A baby name becomes trendy for one generation. For the next two generations, while those initial babies are parent-aged and grandparent-aged, you can expect the name to go out of style. But during the third generation, once the cohort reaches great-grandparent age, the name is free to come back into fashion.
Evelyn is a name with a usage pattern that fits this description well.
I’ve seen it described elsewhere as the 100-Year Rule, but I prefer to call it the Great-Grandparent Rule, as it makes more sense to me to frame it in terms of generations.
Essentially, the pattern has to do with a name’s main generational association shifting from “a name that belongs to real-life old people” to “a name that sounds pleasantly old-fashioned.”
I used to think the pattern was one we’d only recently discovered — something we needed the data to see — but it turns out that at least one observant person noticed this trend and wrote about it in The San Francisco Call more than 100 years ago (boldface mine):
Time was — and that not very long ago — when old fashioned names, as old fashioned furniture, crockery and hand embroideries, were declared out of date. The progress of the ages that replaced the slower work of hand by the speed of machines cast a blight on everything that betokened age.
Spinning wheels were stowed away in attics, grandmothers’ gowns were tucked into cedar chests, old porcelain of plain design was replaced by more gaudy utensils and machine made and embroidered dresses and lingerie lined the closets where formerly only handwork was hung.
So with given names. Mary, Elizabeth, Jane, Sarah, Hannah and Anne, one and all, were declared old fashioned and were relegated to past ages to be succeeded by Gladys, Helen, Delphine, Gwendolyn, Geraldine and Lillian and a host of other more showy appellations.
Two generations of these, and woman exercised her time honored privilege and changed her mind.
She woke suddenly to the value of history, hustled from their hiding places the ancient robes and furnishings that were her insignia of culture, discarded the work of the modern machine for the finer output of her own fair hands, and, as a finishing touch, christened her children after their great-grandparents.
Old fashioned names revived with fervor and those once despised are now termed quaint and pretty and “quite the style, my dear.”
Pretty cool that this every-third-generation pattern was already an observable phenomenon three generations ago.
The article went on to list society babies with names like Barbara, Betsy, Bridget, Dorcas (“decidedly Puritan”), Dorothea, Frances, Henrietta, Jane, Josephine, Lucy, Margaret, Mary, Olivia, and Sarah (“much in vogue a century ago”).
Have you see the 100-Year Rule/Great-Grandparent Rule at play in your own family tree? If so, what was the name and what were the birth years?
Source: “Society” [Editorial]. San Francisco Call 17 Aug. 1913: 19.
Image: Frances Marie via Morguefile
Nope, this isn’t a post about a pink smoothies. “Feminine blend” was a phrase Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken used in his 1921 book The American Language to describe a female name created by blending two other names together. Here are the feminine blends he lists:
(Addie + Lloyd)
(Addison + Nellie)
(Adrienne + Belle)
(Ardelia + Wilhelmina)
(Elizabeth + Christine)
(Birdie + Pauline)
(Charles + Pauline)
(Leila + Elizabeth)
(Luna + Nettie)
(Marjorie + Henrietta)
(May + Elizabeth)
(Ola + Isabel)
(Olive + Louise)
(Romeo + Juliette)
(Rose + Bella)
If you had to use one of the above in real life, which one would you choose?
Sissieretta Jones was a famous African-American soprano who performed both nationally and internationally from the late 1880s to the mid-1910s.
She began her career as an opera singer, earning the nickname “Black Patti” in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. (She was not a fan of the nickname.)
She sang for presidents and royalty, but racism prevented her from performing in most American concert halls. So in the mid-1890s she switched over to popular music, headlining the successful traveling show the “Black Patti Troubadours.”
Sissieretta’s unique name — originally her middle name (her first name was Matilda) — appears to be a blend of Sissie and the name of her mother, Henrietta.
1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.
And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.
Now, on to the names…
The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.
Top Baby Girl Names
Top Baby Boy Names
The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.
As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.
Mary, 149 baby girls
Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)