Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Marguerite in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Marguerite and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Marguerite.
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Many of the movie-influenced baby names I’ve posted about within the last few months (like Ormi) are names I discovered looking through old issues of Photoplay magazine.
They’re just a fraction of all the names I discovered there, though, so today and for the next few weeks I’ll be posting some of the others — the names that didn’t see increased usage thanks to early cinema, but that I still found interesting.
Actress Alatia Marton appeared in about 8 films (all shorts) in 1917 and 1918, but the name Alatia has never appeared on the SSA’s list.
Photo caption: “Alatia Marton is a Texan, and a resident of Dallas, which has more attractive girls to the block than — but comparisons are poor taste. She is just 21 years of age, of American-Scotch-Irish descent; 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 125 pounds, and has gray eyes; telephone operator, and not athletic — but she could learn; you never saw a Texas girl who couldn’t.”
Actress Aleta Doré appeared in a single film in 1925, but she had no influence on the usage of the name Aleta.
The article claimed Aleta Doré was the adopted sister of famous actress Marguerite Clark (who was in The Seven Sisters) but I couldn’t find any proof of this.
Actress Byrdine Zuber (also known as Bernadine) appeared in about 7 films (a mix of feature-lengths and shorts) from 1911 to 1919, but the name Byrdine name has never appeared on the SSA’s list.
Photo caption: “Byrdine Zuber is the dainty, blonde little girl who will soon endear herself to the picture-going public in films released by the Oz Film Manufacturing Company, which is engaged in filming Frank L. Baum’s delightfully fantastic stories. She was chosen from a great number of candidates for the role she interprets in the initial production, and her work in that picture easily proves the discernment of those who chose her.”
Actress Clarine Seymour (1898-1920) appeared in about 20 films (a mix of feature-lengths and shorts) from 1917 to 1920, but I don’t believe she influenced the usage of the name Clarine. (It’s hard to tell with this one, though.)
Photo caption: “Clarine Seymour worked harder and longer for her Big Chance than — possibly — any other young girl in motion pictures. This summery vision was snapped in her dressing room during her lark in Christie comedies.”
Katinka, Sari, Ella, Mici, Terka, Liza and Klara were the names of the seven sisters in the lost silent film The Seven Sisters (1915), which was based on a Hungarian play.
A 1916 advertisement for the movie, which was a vehicle for silent film actress Marguerite Clark, offered the following summary:
The story is as simple and as sweet and dainty as Little Marguerite herself. She is the fourth of a family of seven sisters. Under an old Hungarian marriage law she must not marry until the elder sisters have gone off. How she and her lover clear the way with the aid of that young man’s marriageable friends affords scope for some delightful comedy amid the quaintest and most beautiful old-world surroundings ever portrayed.
The names Katinka, Sari, Ella, Mici, Terka, Liza and Klara are Hungarian versions (or diminutives of Hungarian versions) of the names Katherine, Sarah, Eleanor (or some other El- or -ella name), Mitzi, Theresa, Elizabeth and Clara.
And now for today’s question…
Bacon, George Vaux. “Seven Sisters.” Photoplay Magazine Sept. 1915: 112-120.
On November 23, 1914 — just over 100 years ago — the first episode of the 20-episode silent film Zudora was released by motion picture studio Thanhouser. The film starred actress Marguerite Snow as protagonist Zudora.
Here’s a synopsis from late 1914:
Zudora is left an orphan at an early age. Her father is killed in a gold mine he has discovered. Half and hour after learning of the death of her husband, Zudora’s mother–a tight-rope walker with a circus–is stricken with vertigo, falls and is killed.
Zudora and the fortune from the mine, which grows to be worth $20,000,000, are left in the guardianship of Frank Keene, brother of Zudora’s mother. Zudora, giving promise of great beauty, reaches the age of 18. The uncle, who has set himself up as a Hindu mystic and is known as Hassam Ali, determines in his greed that Zudora must die before she can have a chance to come into her wealth, so that it will be left to him.
The 20 installments came out once a week until April 5, 1915.
While Thanhouser insisted that the serial was “a colossal success!” in ongoing advertisements, Zudora was not actually a hit with audiences. One reason for this was that Thanhouser had miscast James Cruze, the hero of their previous (and legitimately successful) serial The Million Dollar Mystery, as the villain in Zudora.
But the film did manage to make an impression on parents. Or at least the title did. The baby name Zudora shows up on the SSA’s baby name list for five consecutive years starting in 1914:
1918: 5 baby girls named Zudora
1917: 6 baby girls named Zudora
1916: 7 baby girls named Zudora
1915: 28 baby girls named Zudora (5 in Texas specifically)
1914: 5 baby girls named Zudora
Numbers from the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) are similar:
1919: 2 people named Zudora
1918: 4 people named Zudora
1917: 6 people named Zudora
1916: 5 people named Zudora
1915: 28 people named Zudora (plus one more with Zudora as a middle)
1914: 9 people named Zudora
Interestingly, according to Moving Picture World, one of those 1914 Zudoras was the niece of the late Charles J. Hite, who had been the president of Thanhouser from 1912 until he died in an automobile accident in mid-1914.
The film may have also had an influence on poet Conrad Aiken, whose 1916 chapbook Turns and Movies includes a poem called “Zudora.”
So what does the name Zudora mean? The sources I checked claimed it meant “laborer,” but each gave a different origin (e.g., Arabic, Indian, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu). Finally, on a random belly dancing site, I stumbled upon a plausible etymology:
Zudora a Variant Form of the Sanskrit Sudra, Meaning “Menial Laborer.” a Sudra Is a Member of the Fourth and Lowest Hindu Caste.
Shudra, also spelled Sudra, is indeed the lowest Hindu class — below the Brahmins, Kshatriya, and Vaishya, but above the Dalits (the untouchables). “The Shudra have classically lived lives of service. Slaves were often classified as Shudra, as were cobblers, blacksmiths, maids, cooks, and so forth.”
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.
The town of Wainwright in Alberta, Canada, was named for Wainwright Marguerite Forster, “the first baby born in the community of 30 settlers in 1908.”
Ms. Forster, in turn, had been named after William Wainwright, who was then the vice president of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. (The town was on the Grand Trunk line.)
During the town’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1958, Wainwright said: “I am very proud of the town and of the fact that it bears my name. It’s a strange first name for a woman and one that has caused quite a bit of confusion, believe me.”
A newspaper from 1891 mentions that President Harrison went on a short fishing trip to Mt. McGregor, just north of Saratoga Springs, in August. He stayed with one Judge McAdam while he was there.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen of Elizabeth, N.J., were also McAdam’s guests. The Allens had brought along their nameless 8-month-old baby girl.
The parents were unable to select a name for their child, and in their extremity they came to the president and asked him to choose one from a list of names. He selected Marguerite, and Marguerite Thompson Allen was baptized and Mr. Harrison became her godfather.
I wonder if Obama has named any babies yet. (Babies other than his own, I mean.)
Source: “The Two Presidents.” Daily Shield And Banner 22 Aug. 1891: 1.