How popular is the baby name Rainell in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Rainell and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Rainell.
The baby name Gasoline Alley, early ’50s Clovia debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1949:
1952: 5 baby girls named Clovia
1951: 5 baby girls named Clovia
1950: 13 baby girls named Clovia
1949: 22 baby girls named Clovia [debut] 1948: unlisted
It was the 4th-highest girl name debut that year after
Rainelle, Rainell and Randye.
Where did it come from?
A comic strip.
Gasoline Alley characters Skeezix and Nina welcomed a baby girl in May of 1949 and named her Clovia.
Nina got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital and was forced to give birth in a taxi. On the infant’s wrist was a birthmark in the shape of a four-leaf clover.
And Clovia wasn’t just a comic strip character. For a time, she was also a doll. Clovia the doll
In mid-1949, a few weeks after Clovia’s introduction, Clovia dolls became available in retail stores. (Dolls based on comic strip babies had become trendy in the 1940s.)
The baby name Clovia remained on the national baby name list through the 1950s, but usage petered out in the 1960s.
Dondi, another comic strip-inspired name, had more staying power. Sparkle, on the other hand, lasted only a year.)
“Comic Strip Dolls.”
Life 19 Oct. 1953. Cushman, Philip.
Constructing the Self, Constructing America. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1995.
Images © Life.
We know that baby names have been inspired by missing children (e.g., Caylee Anthony,
Kyron Horman, Natalee Holloway). Sadly, they’ve also been inspired by murdered children.
One example is Rainelle. The baby name
Rainelle was given to 46 baby girls all of a sudden in 1949, making it a top debut name that year. Other baby girls were named Rainell (24), Ranell (8) and Raenelle (5).
So who was the victim?
Rainell Karel Downing, a 2-year-old from Michigan who was murdered in February of 1949. She and her mother Deliphene were victims of the
Lonely Hearts Killers Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck.
Mrs. Beck admitted drowning the child, Rainelle [
sic] Downing, in a tub of water after Fernandez had killed her mother, Mrs. Delphine [ sic] Downing.
(Many newspapers misspelled their names “Rainelle” and “Delphine” repeatedly.)
After a highly sensationalized trial, Fernandez and Beck were found guilty of first-degree murder in August. Both were executed by electric chair about a year and a half later.
Poor Rainell didn’t live long, but it’s nice to think that her name lives on.
Source: “Jury Convicts ‘Hearts’ Pair of Murder.”
Reading Eagle 18 Aug. 1949: 1+.