In 1900, various newspapers printed an editorial by Lora La Mance that was mostly about the common surname Smith, but also mentioned (at the end) a person in Pennsylvania with the unlikely given name “Seven Weeks Sleighing in March.” Here’s the relevant bit:
We must first explain that in the olden days it was the custom to speak of an unusually long spell of one kind of weather after this paradoxical manner, “five-weeks-rain-in-June,” “seven-weeks-frost-in-August,” etc. Of course it is an impossible thing to compress more than four and a a half weeks in a month. But the meaning was so many weeks of such and such kind of weather beginning in such a month. And now, after this long preamble, to return to our oddest of all odd given names. Something over 100 years ago a snowstorm in Pennsylvania set in about the first of March. A long spell of sleighing followed, traditional for years for the length of time that it lasted this late in the season. What did these parents do but name the baby boy that same along with the snowstorm, but Seven Weeks Sleighing in March Smith! My grandfather when a child knew this Smith of a singular name–then an oldish man–and heard the story of how he received his queer name. Grandfather said the man went by the name of Weeks usually, but if he chose to sign his name his initials were written S. W. S. I. M. Smith, in itself a unique distinction.
Lora La Mance was somewhat of a public figure back then, and her mother, Kezia, was from Pennsylvania. So I imagine this story came from maternal grandfather, Valentine Waltman, born in 1790. If Weeks was an “oldish man” when Valentine was a child, then Weeks would have been born sometime in the mid-1700s.
I can’t find any record of him so far, but I want to! Are there any Pennsylvania-based historians/genealogists out there who can verify the existence of Seven Weeks Sleighing in March Smith?
Source: La Mance, Lora S. “Fourteen Million Living Smiths.” Salt Lake Herald 22 Jul. 1900: 14.
The baby name Donivee made the SSA’s baby name list just once, in 1942:
1942: 5 baby girls named Donivee [debut]
Where did this one-hit wonder baby name come from?
It was inspired by Donivee Purkey, an actress who gave Hollywood a shot in the early 1940s.
From mid-to-late 1941, 19-year-old Donivee Purkey of Texas was touted as a talented newcomer to motion pictures. The image of “Pretty Purkey” at right was published in August; Hedda Hopper wrote about her in September; Ann Marsters told readers to “watch for a pretty girl named Donivee Purkey” in October.
By the end of the year, Donivee Purkey’s name had changed twice: first to Lora Lee, then to Donivee Lee.
Despite all the hype and name-changing, though, Donivee Lee’s film career fizzled. Her first movie was supposed to be Cecil B. DeMille’s Reap the Wild Wind, but it’s not listed on her IMDb page. Out of the four movies listed, The Great Moment (1944) is the only one in which she played a credited role.
According to one source, Donivee ended up marrying a Hollywood executive. I’m guessing she stopped pursuing a film career at that point.
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.