Over at The Public Domain Review, I found a collection of 51 novelty playing cards — several incomplete decks, mixed together — from 1916 that feature the images and names of popular movie actresses from that era.
Below are all the first names from those cards, plus where those names happened to rank in the 1916 baby name data. (Two-thirds of them were in the top 100, and over 95% fell inside the top 1,000.)
Bertalda Bertalda was a character played by actress Marguerite Snow in the short film Undine (1912).
Bertha Bertha Kalich was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Ukraine) in 1874. Bertha was also a character name in multiple films, including Fisher Folks (short, 1911) and Caravan (1946).
Beryl Beryl Mercer was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in England in 1876. Beryl Morhange was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1915. Beryl was also a character name in multiple films, including Only the Maid (short, 1915) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939).
Beulah Beulah Bondi was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1960s. She was born in Illinois in 1889. Beulah was also a character name in multiple films, including Beulah (1915) and The Martyr Sex (1924).
Binnie Binnie Barnes was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was born in England in 1903. Binnie was also a character name in multiple films, including Children of Chance (1930) and Big House (1938).
Blanche Blanche Friderici was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to 1930s. She was born in New York in 1878. Blanche Sweet was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1950s. She was born in Illinois in 1896. Blanche was also a character name in multiple films, including The War o’ Dreams (short, 1915) and The Wild Party (1923).
Blanchette Blanchette was a character played by actress Marguerite Snow in the film The Patriot and the Spy (1915).
Blanny Blanny Wheeler was a character played by actress May Allison in the film Fair and Warmer (1919).
Blanquette Blanquette was a character played by various actresses (such as Madge Stuart and Margaret Lockwood) in various movies called The Beloved Vagabond, all based on the novel of the same name by William John Locke.
Bleuette Bleuette Bernon was an actress who appeared in films from the 1890s to the 1900s. She was born in France in 1878. Her birth name was Léontine Ernestine Gauché.
Bliss Bliss Milford was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in South Dakota in the late 1880s.
Blossy Blossy Waveney was a character played by actress Olive Sloane in the film The Door That Has No Key (1921).
Bodil Bodil Rosing was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Denmark in 1877. Bodil Ipsen was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Denmark in 1889.
Bona Bona was a character name in multiple films, including The Silken Spider (short, 1916) and The Wine Girl (1918).
Bonita Bonita Granville was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1980s. She was born in Illinois in 1923. Bonita was also a character name in multiple films, including A Question of Seconds (1912) and Arizona (1913).
Bunty Bunty Payne was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1912. Her birth name was Gladys Helena Pain. Bunty was also a character played by actress Ilka Chase in the film The Careless Age (1929).
Burahami Burahami was a character played by actress Gladys Frazin in the film Kiss Me Sergeant (1932).
Buria Buria was a character played by actress Maude Eburne in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).
Burnu Burnu Acquanetta was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1990s. She was born in Wyoming in 1921. Her birth name was Mildred Davenport.
Butterfly Butterfly McQueen was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1980s. She was born in Florida in 1919. Her birth name was Thelma McQueen.
The baby name Belita first appeared in the SSA’s dataset in 1943:
1947: 18 baby girls named Belita
1946: 19 baby girls named Belita
1945: 20 baby girls named Belita
1944: 18 baby girls named Belita
1943: 7 baby girls named Belita [debut]
Where did it come from?
Figure skater-turned-film star Belita, a contemporary of Sonja Henie. Belita was being featured in a film called Silver Skates in 1943.
She was born Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner in England in 1923. She competed (as Belita Jepson-Turner) at the Winter Olympics in Berlin in 1936, placing 16th in ladies’ singles.
While stranded in the U.S. during World War II, she embarked upon a Hollywood career. Some of her other films include Lady, Let’s Dance! (1944), Suspense (1946), and Never Let Me Go (1953), which starred Clark Gable and Gene Tierney.
And her unusual name? It was inspired by an Argentine estancia (ranch). Her great-grandfather had relocated to Argentina in the 1800s and established five sizeable estancias, mainly for raising cattle. He also built railroads to his properties. One of the estancias (and the associated railroad station) was named La Belita after his wife, Isabelita. “Since then there has always been a Belita in the family,” Belita said.
Belita retired from both skating and show business during the second half of the 1950s.
The following baby names add up to 144, which reduces to nine (1+4+4=9).
“144” girl names: Yuritzy, Harleyquinn
“144” boy names: Constantino, Johnanthony, Oluwalonimi
9 via 153
The boy name Quintavius adds up to 153, which reduces to nine (1+5+3=9).
9 via 171
The following baby names add up to 171, which reduces to nine (1+7+1=9).
“171” girl names: Oluwatomisin
“171” boy names: Konstantinos, Oluwatimilehin
9 via 180
The unisex name Kamsiyochukwu adds up to 180, which reduces to nine (1+8+0=9).
What Does “9” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “9” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “9” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“9” (the ennead) according to the Pythagoreans:
“It is by no means possible for there to subsist any number beyond the nine elementary numbers. Hence they called it ‘Oceanus’ and ‘horizon,’ because it encompasses both of these locations and has them within itself.”
“Because it does not allow the harmony of number to be dissipated beyond itself, but brings numbers together and makes them play in concert, it is called ‘concord’ and ‘limitation,’ and also ‘sun,’ in the sense that it gathers things together.”
“They also called it ‘Hyperion,’ because it has gone beyond all the other numbers as regards magnitude”
“The ennead is the first square based on an odd number. It too is called ‘that which brings completion,’ and it completes nine-month children, moreover, it is called ‘perfect,’ because it arises out of 3, which is a perfect number.”
“It was called ‘assimilation,’ perhaps because it is the first odd square”
“They used to call it […] ‘banisher’ because it prevents the voluntary progress of number; and ‘finishing-post’ because it has been organized as the goal and, as it were, turning-point of advancement.”
“9” according to Edgar Cayce:
“Nine – the change” (reading 261-14).
“Nine indicates strength and power, with a change” (reading 261-15).
“Nine making for the completeness in numbers; […] making for that termination in the forces in natural order of things that come as a change imminent in the life” (reading 5751-1).
“As to numbers, or numerology: We find that the number nine becomes as the entity’s force or influence, which may be seen in that whatever the entity begins it desires to finish. Everything must be in order. It is manifested in those tendencies for the expressions of orderliness, neatness. To be sure, nine – in its completeness, then – is a portion” (reading 1035-1).
Does “9” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 18, 63, 99, 144) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. For example, maybe your favorite sport is golf, which has 18 holes per game.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 9, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).
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).