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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Popularity of the Baby Name Henrietta


Posts that Mention the Name Henrietta

Baby Girl with 24 Given Names

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.

Sources:

  • “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.

Early Recognition of the “Great-Grandparent Rule”

grandmother

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

Poll: Favorite “Feminine Blend”?

Nope, this isn’t a post about a pink smoothies. “Feminine blend” was a phrase Henry Louis (H. L.) Mencken used in his 1919 book The American Language to describe a female name created by blending two other names together. Here are the feminine blends he lists:

Adelloyd
(Addie + Lloyd)

Adnelle
(Addison + Nellie)

Adrielle
(Adrienne + Belle)

Armina
(Ardelia + Wilhelmina)

Bethene
(Elizabeth + Christine)

Birdene
(Birdie + Pauline)

Charline
(Charles + Pauline)

Leilabeth
(Leila + Elizabeth)

Lunette
(Luna + Nettie)

Marjette
(Marjorie + Henrietta)

Maybeth
(May + Elizabeth)

Olabelle
(Ola + Isabel)

Olouise
(Olive + Louise)

Romiette
(Romeo + Juliette)

Rosella
(Rose + Bella)

If you had to use one of the above in real life, which one would you choose?

Favorite "feminine blend"?

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Source: H. L. Mencken. The American Language. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1919.

The Baby Name Sissieretta

sissieretta jonesSissieretta 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.

Though she isn’t well remembered today, I’ve found dozens of people named in her honor including Sissieretta Duncan (born in 1893) and Sisseretta Valentine (born in 1920).

What do you think of the name Sissieretta?

Sources: Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones – Wikipedia, The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Class of 2013
Image: White House Historical Association