How popular is the baby name Lilian in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Lilian and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Lilian.
The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.
The article also mentioned that, over the years, some names have been outpaced by their diminutive forms — Alfred by Alfie, Frederick by Freddie, Archibald by Archie, Charles by Charlie, Alexandra by Lexi, Sophia by Sophie, Eleanor by Ellie, and so forth.
*Blodwen is Welsh for “white flowers.” The Breton form is Bleuzen, in case you were wondering.
They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.
About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).
Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).
I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).
(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)
Finally, a few interesting details:
Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
A while ago I found a book called “A Collection of Original Acrostics on Ladies’ Christian Names” that was published in Toronto in 1888.
I won’t post any of the poems, which are all pretty cheesy, but author George J. Howson does include an intriguing selection of names. He notes that he wrote acrostics for “all the most popular feminine christian names of the day, and many more that, while not in common use, are known to exist in actual life.”
Here’s the list:
Have any favorites?
Hulda/Huldah is one I like. It’s one of those names that I always see on old New England gravestones but never come across in real life. Wonder when that one will become stylish again.
BTW, has anyone ever seen a good name acrostic? Like, one that’s actually well-written and/or thought-provoking? Because I don’t think I ever have.
Lord Francis Knollys was a close friend of the British royal family. So close that he served as as Private Secretary to the Sovereign under both Edward VII (from 1901 to 1910) and George V (from 1910 to 1913).
It’s not too surprising, then, that both of Knollys’ children were named in honor of the royals. His daughter was named Alexandra Louvima Elizabeth (b. 1888) and his son was named Edward George William (b. 1895).
Alexandra, Elizabeth, Edward, George, William — these are all names we know.
But “Louvima”? Where did that come from?
Turns out it’s an acronym. Edward VII (who was still “Albert Edward, Prince of Wales” back in 1888) and his wife Alexandra had six children: Albert Victor, George (later George V), Louise, Victoria, Maud, and Alexander John. “Louvima” was created from the first letters of the names of Edward’s three daughters:
Louvima = Louise + Victoria + Maud
The papers picked up on the interesting birth name right away. Here’s an article that appeared in a New Zealand newspaper in July of 1888:
Few people have noticed the second name bestowed on Sir Francis Knollys’ little daughter, who was baptised on May 5. Sir Francis, as every one knows, is the energetic and popular private secretary of the Prince of Wales, and in a torrent of grateful loyalty he has called his firstborn “Louvima,” a marvellous amalgam of the Christian names of the three young Princesses of Wales, “Louisa [sic], Victoria, Maud.” Since the expectant Mrs. Kenwigs invented the name of Morleena we have had nothing quite so good as this.
(Morleena Kenwig is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Nicholas Nickleby.)
Here’s a second-hand account printed in Notes & Queries that same month:
Louvima, a new Christian Name — It is stated in the newspapers — but it may not be correct; for, as Theodore Hook said to the credulous old lady, “Those rascally newspapers will say anything” — that Sir Francis Knollys, private secretary to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, has named his first-born Louvima, which is an ingenious amalgam of the names of the three daughters of the Prince — Louise, Victoria, and Maud.
After the news of Louvima Knollys got out, the rare name Louvima was given to baby girls in England (and other English-speaking regions) considerably more often. This lasted until the late 1910s.
Here are some of the Louvimas I found:
Hilda Louvima Pritchard, born in 1888 in England
Evangeline Louvima Brumbley, born in 1888 in England
Louvima Perline Ann Cunningham, born in 1889 in Arkansas
Lilian Louvima Daisy Blake, born in 1889 in South Africa
Louvima Primrose Massey-Hicks, born in 1890 in South Africa
Nina Louvima Shann, born in 1892 in New Zealand
Louvima Evelina Youell, born in 1893 in England
Louvima Griswold, born in 1894 in Idaho
Annie Louvima Brooksband, born in 1895 in England
Rita Louvima Faulkner, born in 1898 in Canada
Louvima Marie Crosson, born in 1901 in Florida
Louvima Naylor, born in 1902 in Iowa
Laura Louvima McKenzie, born in 1902 in Michigan
Florence Louvima Major, born in 1908 in Canada
I also discovered more than a few horses and boats named Louvima during this period.
One of those horses, in fact, belonged to the royal family itself. Which makes me wonder: who came up with the name originally? Was it Francis Knollys’ invention, or did he get the idea from someone in the royal family? Maybe one of the sisters? (The Romanov sisters — Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia — referred to themselves by the acronym “OTMA.”)
Louvima Knollys grew up very close to the royal family. In the photo below, taken in 1897, she’s posing with Queen Alexandra. The Queen is dressed as Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of France, and Louvima is dressed as a pageboy.
Louvima married twice, and had a son with her first husband (who died during WWI). Through her son she had four grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren. As far as I can tell, Louvima’s unique name has not (yet) been passed down to any of her descendants.
Bede, Cuthbert. “Louvima, a New Christian Name.” Notes & Queries 7 Jul. 1888: 6.
Dutt, William Alfred. The King’s Homeland. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1904.
A reader named Jamie isn’t expecting twin girls. If she were expecting twin girls, though, she and her husband wonder, “Would it be fair, suitable, weird, to name the girls Ivy and Lily?” Jamie says:
I’m not a fan of the matchy twin names – Kara and Kerri, John and Jack, but my husband and I both really like Ivy and Lily. Ivy is just a beautiful name that we love, but Lily pays tribute to his mother whose name is Lilian. Honestly we were thinking about using Liliana and shortening it to Lily. So – do Ivy and Lily qualify as matchy twin names since they are both flowers, and would it be weird for one of the girls to have a “longer more involved name” like Liliana (but shortened to Lily), and the other one just be Ivy (since I can’t think of anything Ivy would be short for).
I do think Ivy and Lily are too matchy, but it’s not because they’re both botanical. It’s because they’re both botanical, they both end with the same sound, they both have the same rhythm, they both feature the same vowels (in the same order), they both have very few letters…they’re similar in many ways. For me, that’s too close.
I think Ivy and Lily could work if they were both nicknames. Ivy could be derived from I-V names like Ivana, Ivette and Ivonne. Maybe even Olivia, Livia or Vivian. Another option would be first-middle combinations like Irene Veronica or Isabella Virginia for the initials I. V.