Your middle name, Eliot, is because of T.S. and because of George and because it’s a writer’s name, soft and scholarly. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you the other secret function of it: it’s an escape hatch, too, from Amna. Maybe “Amna” could be a burden, we thought. Maybe one day you’d tire of answering, “Amna’s a different name–where is it from?” And if that day comes, we wanted you to have options.
You may have noticed, though, that you don’t have a safety parachute from your last name. It’s long, and it’s bulky, and it can’t be ignored. That’s also by design–my clunky gift to you.
I wanted you to have my last name. And I wanted it to be a burden.
The best approach? Blind hiring. Masking names in the first instance “would remove [bias] at least at the early stages,” [Rupa] Banerjee says, noting that many British firms have tried blind hiring with great success in recent years. In Canada, blind hiring is rare, but it has been proposed by a member of Parliament for use at the federal level.
So should applicants change their names to boost their chances? Absolutely not, researchers say. “That’s not the message that we’re trying put out there,” Banerjee stresses. The onus, she says, needs to be on employers to understand that such bias exists and to address it internally.
Hailing from Maharashtra, Irawati Karve (née Karmarkar) was born into a cultural context that prized education above all else, and had the means to acquire it. Her father was working as an engineer in Burma, when she was born. She was named after the Irrawaddy river of Burma. Her unique name was perhaps a premonition of the continued global heritage of her life and the diversity of her work has entailed.
One of Lewis and Clark’s primary methods for creating new terms was naming animals or plants according to some salient feature, whether physical, behavioral, or otherwise. The explorers noticed “a curious kind of deer,” in Clark’s words, “its ears large and long,” that was obviously different from eastern deer. Lewis explains in his journal how they chose a name for it: “The ear and tail of this animal … so well comported with those of the mule … that we have … adapted the appellation of the mule deer.” Lewis called a small swan that he spotted along the Pacific coast the whistling swan because it made “a kind of whistling sound.”
What a shame boys aren’t named after admirable qualities, like Grace, or emotions, like Joy, or precious jewels, like Jade!
In embracing the idea that there might be a range of genders, and that body parts do not in themselves constitute gender identity, millennials have displayed a healthy disregard for traditional roles and expectations. I’m betting the generation which follows might create even more fluid boundaries, and it will all begin with their names.
RaonJena Coffee and Dessert, located in the Glen Lochen plaza at 39 New London Turnpike, was named after the couple’s twin 3-year-old daughters (they also have a 7-year-old girl) Raon and Jena, and the Korean name also translates to “happy us” or “happy family.”
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a reader looking for lists of old-fashioned double names. She was aiming for names like Thelma Dean, Eula Mae, and Gaynell — names that would have sounded trendy in the early 1900s. She also mentioned that she’d started a list of her own.
So I began scouring the interwebs. I tracked down lists of old-fashioned names, and lists of double names…but I couldn’t find a decent list of double names that were also old-fashioned.
I loved the idea of such a list, though, so I suggested that we work together to create one. She generously sent me the pairings she’d collected so far, and I used several different records databases to find many more.
I restricted my search to names given to girls born in the U.S. from 1890 to 1930. I also stuck to double names that I found written as single names, because it’s very likely that these pairings were used together in real life (i.e., that they were true double names and not merely first-middle pairings).
Pairings that seemed too timeless, like Maria Mae and Julia Rose, were omitted. I also took out many of the pairings that feature now-trendy names — think Ella, Emma, and Lucy — because they just don’t sound old-fashioned anymore (though they would have a few decades ago).
The result isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a decent sampling of real-life, old-fashioned double names. I’ve organized them by second name, and I also added links to popularity graphs for names that were in the SSA data during the correct time period (early 1900s).
Rafaela Ottiano was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Italy in 1888. Rafaela was also a character played by actress Alice Joyce in the short film The Bag of Gold (1912).
Reno Browne was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in (Reno) Nevada in 1921. Her birth name Josephine Ruth Clarke. Reno was also a character played by actress Ethel Merman in the film Anything Goes (1936).
Rosina Galli was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born in Italy in 1906. Rosina was also a character played by actress Jose Collins in the film The Last Stake (short, 1923).
Rosita Marstini was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in France in 1887. Rosita was also a character name in multiple films, including Hell’s Valley (1931) and Zoo in Budapest (1933).
As usual, the disclaimer: Some of the names below were already on the rise. Others may have been influenced by more than just the single pop culture person/event listed. I leave it up to you to judge the degree/nature of pop culture influence in each case.
I was surprised that Adonis and Wade jumped in usage as much as they did.
I was also surprised that Wrigley barely jumped at all in usage. Maybe “Wrigley” reminds too many people of gum?
Where the heck is Usain? Why is Usain not in the data yet? Sure, track and field is relatively unpopular in the United States. Still, I thought Rio might do it — with the help of that viral photo of Usain Bolt cheekily grinning at the competition in the middle of that 100 meter sprint.
Finally, as a former ’80s kid, I did have my fingers crossed for Voltron. Oh well…
How about you? Did any of these rises/falls surprise you?