How popular is the baby name Pannonica in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Pannonica and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Pannonica.
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My favorite baby name stories tend to be those that I find most memorable. Several of them (e.g., Aku, Karina, Maitland) even taught me something new. In a few cases, it’s not the original story I like so much as something that happened later on in the tale (as with Georgia, Salida, Speaker).
I’ve been listening to jazz music lately, and this reminded me that I’ve never blogged about the name Pannonica. I’ve talked about Thelonious, but not about Pannonica.
Baroness Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter didn’t sing or play an instrument. She was a wealthy jazz enthusiast who befriended and supported Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and others.
Nica knew all the great New York jazzmen and helped them, whether by buying groceries, acting as an occasional ambulance service, paying overdue rent, getting musicians’ instrument out of hock or making hospital visits.
She was born Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild in late 1913, the fourth child of banker and naturalist Charles Rothschild (of the Rothschild family) and Hungarian baroness Rozsika Edle von Wertheimstein.
The story behind her second middle name isn’t quite clear.
Nica’s great niece Hannah Rothschild says it wasn’t a butterfly, but a rare type of moth, Eublemma pannonica.
According to The Gallery at Hermès, which exhibited some of Pannonica’s photographs in 2008, she was “named for a wild plant of eastern Europe’s Pannonia Plain, noted as a habitat of moths – which were a passion of her father’s.”
The story of Pannonica’s name may not be known, but any species called “pannonica” would indeed be endemic to the Pannonian Plain in east-central Europe. The Plain was named after the ancient Roman province Pannonia, which in turn was named after the Pannonians of Illyria.
Nica de Koenigswarter passed away in 1988, but her name lives on the titles of several jazz songs including “Pannonica” by Monk (mentioned above), “Nica’s Tempo” [vid] by Gigi Gryce, “Nica Steps Out” by Freddie Redd and “Nica’s Dream” by Horace Silver.
It also lives on in the name of a great-granddaughter, Pannonica Fabien “Nica” de Koenigswarter, born in 1987. (And this Pannonica has a younger brother fittingly named Jonah Thelonious.)