How popular is the baby name Mazo 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 Mazo.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Mazo


Posts that Mention the Name Mazo

Name Quotes #74: Chandler, Snehalatha, Teddy Jack

From the TV show Friends, a quote from character Chandler Bing:

You know, I can handle it. Handle’s my middle name. Actually it’s the, uh…the middle part of my first name.

From Cosmopolitan, a quote about the name of Cardi B’s sister Hennessy:

Yes, she’s named after the alcohol and yes, the story’s amazing.

While Bacardi is not Cardi B’s real name, Hennessy is most definitely her sister’s original moniker. Why? Because her father showed up drunk on Hennessy when she was born and insisted on naming her after his drink of choice.

From Rolling Stone, a quote about a baby named after a Gary Busey character:

[Leon] Russell’s son Teddy Jack, who was named after a Busey character from a regional TV show he performed on named Teddy Jack Eddy, produced Busey’s new project, his first solo release.

From the book Welty: A Life in Literature (1987), a quote from author Eudora Welty:

When I first began writing I didn’t realized the importance of names. I would just name characters anything. And then I realized how much it mattered, for cadence, and, for example, how families name their children in a kind of pattern, you know, everybody’s name beginning with B.

From the book Here at The New Yorker (1975) by Brendan Gill:

Indeed, there are writers remembered not for their novels but for their names: Mazo de la Roche, Ouida, Warwick Deeping.

From WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio, a quote about the history of Phalanx Station:

Phalanx Station was named after the local Trumbull Phalanx Company, which was not a business but a utopian community. […] It failed but the name remained. It became Phalanx Station after a railroad led the community southeast to Jefferson County, Ohio in the late 19th century. That failed, too, but again the name remained.

From Stuff.co.nz, a quote about a bright orange seagull with a fitting name:

Staff at the Buckinghamshire, England [animal] hospital say the gull somehow got curry or turmeric all over his feathers, which prevented him from flying properly. The bird, named Vinny after the popular Indian dish Vindaloo curry, put up a fight but eventually let the staff scrub his feathers.

From Best Life, a quote about Waverly, one of the most common town names in America:

Many of the 18 places in the United States called Waverly are named after Sir Walter Scott’s 1814 novel, Waverley. Not only is Waverly, Nebraska…named after the novel, but many of the city’s street names were also taken from characters within it.

(Here are more of the places named Waverly.)

From NDTV in India, a quote about names in the family of MA Sneha, the Tamil Nadu woman who is officially caste-less and religion-less:

In a country where a person’s name can denote his/her caste or religion, Sneha and her husband K. Parthibaraja have named their three daughters with a mix of Buddhist, Christian and Muslim names – Aadhirai Nasreen, Aadhila Irene and Aarifa Jessy.

[…]

Sneha’s two younger sisters have Muslim and Christian names – Mumtaj Suriya and Jennifer.

“My father-in-law PV Anandakrishnan and mother-in-law Manimozhi are both advocates, and belonged to different castes. They were rationalists and Leftists. Sneha was named after a Telangana girl Snehalatha died in police custody,” Parthibaraja told IANS.

The initials before Sneha’s name – MA – denote the first letter of her parents’ names.

From Vox, a quote about celebrities trying to trademark names:

The biggest celebrities started registering trademarks for their names around the same time publicity rights and likeness rights came into play, Clark says. One of the first pop stars to protect her name and likeness was Madonna in the 1980s, and one of the most influential trademark cases involving a celebrity name was the 1998 battle between Elvis Presley’s estate and a dive bar in Houston called The Velvet Elvis. (It is now called The Velvet Melvin.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

The Ephemeral Mateel

Kansas newspaper editor Edgar Watson “E. W.” Howe published his first novel, The Story of a Country Town, in his own newspaper, the Atchison Daily Globe, in 1883.

Encyclopedia Britannica said the novel “was the first realistic novel of Midwestern small-town life,” but an early 20th-century review said that the realism wasn’t, in fact, very realistic at all: “[T]he test of veracity fails in the unrelieved gloom of the story, which is bereft of all sunshine and joyousness, and even of all sense of relation to happier things.”

mateel, baby name, book, 1920s
Mateel Howe

One of the characters in the novel was pretty-but-shallow Mateel Shepherd, the daughter of a Methodist minister (named Rev. Goode Shepherd, naturally).

E. W. Howe must have liked the name “Mateel” quite a bit, because he named one of his children Mateel in 1883.

Readers must have like it, too, becase the number of U.S. babies named Mateel rose in the 1880s and was at its highest from the 1890s to the 1910s, judging by the records I’ve seen.

But the rare name Mateel didn’t appear in the U.S. baby name data until 1927, and it only stuck around for a single year:

  • 1929: unlisted
  • 1928: unlisted
  • 1927: 6 baby girls named Mateel [debut]
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

Why?

Well, Mateel Howe went on to become a writer like her father. Her career seems to have peaked with her debut novel, Rebellion, which won the Dodd, Mead & Co. and Pictorial Review “First Novel Prize” of $10,000 in 1927.*

What was Rebellion about? Essentially, the book was about “the difficulties of a daughter living with a depressed, authoritative and demanding father.” (Hm…)

Though both Edgar and Mateel publicly denied that the characters and conflict were inspired by real life, Edgar cut Mateel out of his will soon after the book was published. Here’s how Time put it:

Left. By Editor-Author Ed Howe, an estate valued at $200,000; in Atchison, Kans. To Society Editor Nellie Webb of his Globe, he left $1,500. To Niece Adelaide Howe he left $50,000. To Sons Eugene Alexander and James Pomeroy he left the remainder except for $1, which went to Daughter Mateel Howe Farnham who in 1927 won a $10,000 prize for Rebellion, a novel in which she satirized her father.

Old-timey drama aside, I’m still left wondering about the name Mateel. Did E. W. Howe create it for the character, or discover it somewhere? (I do see a couple of early Mateels in Louisiana. “Cloteal” was often used for Clotilde there, so I wonder if “Mateel” arose as a form of Matilde…?)

What are your thoughts on the name Mateel?

Sources:

*The very same year, author Mazo de la Roche also won $10,000 in a novel-writing contest…

More Literary Baby Names: Alayne, Jalna, Renny

baby name, alayne, book, movie, 1920s, 1930s
Alayne Archer, character in the movie Jalna (1935)

Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche found fame in her late 40s when her third novel, Jalna, won first prize (and $10,000) in the first “Atlantic Novel Contest” in 1927. The book was serialized in Atlantic Monthly, then released as a standalone volume.

The book’s main characters were members of the prosperous Whiteoak family. They lived at an estate in southern Ontario called Jalna. The estate had been built by family patriarch Capt. Philip Whiteoak, a retired officer of the British Army in India. He’d named it “Jalna” after the garrison town in India where he’d met his Irish wife, Adeline.

The book was a top-10 bestseller in the U.S. in both 1927 and 1928. It was such a big commercial success that the author kept writing novels about the Whiteoaks. She ended up with a total of 16 books, now known as the “Whiteoak Chronicles,” which cover four generations (1850s-1950s) of the fictional family.

Many of de la Roche’s character names — which included Finch, Pheasant, and Wakefield/”Wake” — came directly from from gravestones in Ontario’s Newmarket cemetery.

Given the popularity of the book, and the distinctiveness of the character names, it’s not too surprising that Jalna had an influence on U.S. baby name data in the ’20s and ’30s…

Alayne

Character Alayne Archer was introduced in Jalna when Eden Whiteoak, an aspiring poet, traveled to New York City to meet with a publisher. Alayne was the publisher’s assistant, and she and Eden became romantically involved.

The debut of the baby name Alayne in 1929 was due to the much-anticipated follow-up book, Whiteoaks of Jalna — specifically, to the book reviews that ran in newspapers throughout the U.S. during the second half of 1929. Many of them mentioned Alayne.

  • 1937: 19 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1936: 23 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1935: 16 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1934: 9 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1933: 5 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1932: 5 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1931: 9 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1930: 7 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1929: 11 baby girls named Alayne [debut]
  • 1928: unlisted

Notice how usage rose during the mid-1930s. This was due to a related reason: the movie Jalna (1935), which was based on the first book and featured actress Kay Johnson as Alayne. (By 1935, five of the 16 books were out.)

Jalna & Renny

The year after the movie came out, two more Jalna-inspired names emerged in the data. One was Jalna itself, which didn’t stick around long:

  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: 9 baby girls named Jalna
  • 1936: 6 baby girls named Jalna [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted

(You could compare to Jalna to Tara, the plantation in Gone with the Wind.)

The other was Renny, from Eden’s half-brother Renny Whiteoak, who became Alayne’s love interest after Alayne and Eden grew apart.

  • 1941: 8 baby boys named Renny
  • 1939: 5 baby boys named Renny
  • 1937: 8 baby boys named Renny
  • 1936: 9 baby boys named Renny [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted

Another factor that could have given Renny a boost that year was the fifth book in the series, Young Renny, which focused on that character specifically.

…So how did Mazo de la Roche come by her own unique name?

She was born “Mazo Louise Roche” in Ontario in 1879. She added the “de la” not (necessarily) to sound noble, but to reflect the historical spelling of the family name. And here’s what she said in her autobiography about her first name:

When my father saw me he said to my mother, “Let me name this one and you may name all the others.” And so he named me and there were never any others. Mazo had been the name of a girl to whom he once had been attached.

For more baby names inspired by old books, check out the posts on Trilby and on Nedra, Gerane, Doraine, etc.

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