How popular is the baby name Trilby 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 Trilby.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Trilby


Posts that Mention the Name Trilby

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.

Sources:

For the Wine Lovers: Oenone & Oeneus

wine baby names, oenone, oeneus

Ok, first things first:

  • Oenone (Œnone) is a female name pronounced ee-NOH-nee.
  • Oeneus (Œneus) is a male name pronounced EE-nee-us.

Both names come from Greek mythology:

  • Oenone was a mountain nymph who was the first wife of Paris of Troy. (Paris later left her and took up with Helen — a move that eventually led to the Trojan War.)
  • Oeneus was a mortal king who, after learning how to make wine from the god Dionysus, introduced it to the region of Aetolia.

And both names are based on the same word: the ancient Greek oinos, meaning “wine.” (The modern words oenology and oenophile are also based on oinos.)

Since it’s St. Valentine’s Day, and I bet many of us will end up having a glass of wine at some point, I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about wine-based names.

I first spotted Oenone while reading about English author Daphne du Maurier, who had a research assistant named Oenone Rashleigh around the time she was writing her bestselling book The King’s General (1946). Interestingly, Daphne’s grandfather was George du Maurier, writer of Trilby (1894).

In terms of real-life usage, I’ve found very few people named Oeneus, but dozens named Oenone, mainly in England and America. I would have assumed that the usage of Oenone was kicked off by the poem “The Death of Oenone” (1829) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, but records suggest that usage didn’t pick up until the last decades of the 19th century.

So now for the question of the day. Oenone (ee-noh-nee) and Oeneus (ee-nee-us) are clearly unique, and they have a meaning that would appeal to many…but they’re also very difficult to pronounce and spell. Do you think either one is a usable first name for a modern baby?

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: Letter T (part 2)

tira, 1933, mae west, i'm no angel, movie, name

Looking for a rare girl name with a retro feel? Here are dozens of ideas. All came straight from very old films that were released from the 1910s to the 1940s.

This post is part of a series of posts featuring female names from early cinema. I’m going backwards, so the other lists so far are U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. The names below are the second half of the T-list (Ti- to Ty-). The first half has the Ta- to Th- names. Enjoy!

Tiare
Tiare was a character name in multiple films, including The Leopardess (1923) and The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tiare.

Tibbie
Aunt Tibbie was a character played by actress Jessie Ralph in the film St. Louis Blues (1939).

Tibby
Tibby was a character name in multiple films, including Dangerous Females (short, 1929) and Bad Man from Red Butte (1940).

Tika
Queen Tika was a character played by actress Dorothy Christy in the film The Phantom Empire (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tika.

Tilah
Tilah was a character played by actress Margaret Morris in the film Beasts of Paradise (1923).

Tildy
Tildy was a character played by actress Alice Terry in the short film The Brief Debut of Tildy (1918).

Tilga
Tilga was a character played by actress Louise Emmons in the film The Last Egyptian (1914).

Timka
Timka was a character played by actress Jean Parker in the film Caravan (1934).

Timmins
Timmins was a character played by actress Zasu Pitts in the film Her Private Life (1929).

Tira
Tira was a character played by actress Mae West in the film I’m No Angel (1933). Her name was pronounced TIE-rah.

  • Usage of the baby name Tira.

Tisa
Tisa Kepes was a character played by actress Lilli Palmer in the film My Girl Tisa (1948).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisa (which debuted in the data the year that My Girl Tisa came out).

Tish
Letitia “Tish” Carberry was a character played by actress Marjorie Main in the film Tish (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tish.

Tisha
Tisha was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Wanderer (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Tisha.

Titania
Titania was a character name in multiple films, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1909) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935).

Tito
Tito was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film The Pagan (1929).

Tituba
Tituba was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film Maid of Salem (1937).

Tiza
Tiza Torreon was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film Turn Back the Hours (1928).

Tocati
Tocati was a character played by actress Julie Suedo in the film Afterwards (1928).

Toddy
Toddy was a character name in multiple films, including Cain and Mabel (1936) and Youth Runs Wild (1944).

Tohana
Tohana was a character played by actress Inez Palange in the film One Million B.C. (1940).

Toinette
Toinette was a character name in multiple films, including A Love Sublime (1917) and Rainbow on the River (1936).

Tokiwa
Tokiwa was a character played by actress Margaret Gibson in the short film The Love of Tokiwa (1914).

Tollea
Tollea was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film Cobra Woman (1944).

Tommie
Tommie Lou Pember was a character played by actress Colleen Moore in the film The Perfect Flapper (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommie.

Tommy
Tommy Smith was a character played by actress Dorothy Devore in the film The Tomboy (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Tommy.

Tondelayo
Tondelayo was a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film White Cargo (1942).

Tonia
Tonia was a character name in multiple films, including In Old Arizona (1928) and Young Buffalo Bill (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonia.

Tonie
Tonie was a character name in multiple films, including Hold That Girl (1934) and Flight for Freedom (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonie.

Tonita
Tonita was a character name in multiple films, including Border Law (1931) and The Fighting Ranger (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tonita.

Tonoma
Tonoma was a character played by actress Eugenie Besserer in the short film A Child of the Wilderness (1912).

Tootie
Tootie Smith was a character played by actress Margaret O’Brien in the film Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tootie (a one-hit wonder in 1958, thanks to a news item that year).

Tootsie
Tootsie Brown was a character played by actress Muriel Ostriche in the film Leap to Fame (1918).

Toppie
Toppie Westmacott was a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film The Little French Girl (1925).

Topsy
Topsy was a character name in multiple films, including The Gold Diggers (1923) and Topsy and Eva (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Topsy.

Torchy
Torchy Blane was a character played by various actresses in a series of 9 Torchy Blane films (1937-1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Torchy.

Toru
Toru was a character played by actress Rosita Marstini in the film A Prisoner in the Harem (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Toru.

Toshia
Toshia Mori was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Japan in 1912.

  • Usage of the baby name Toshia.

Toton
Toton was a character played by actress Olive Thomas in the film Toton the Apache (1919).

Towana
Towana was a character played by actress Movita in the film Wolf Call (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Towana (which debuted in the data the year after Wolf Call came out).

Toyo
Toyo Haynes was a character played by actress Lupe Velez in the film Where East Is East (1929).

Trafalgar
Trafalgar was a character name in multiple films, including Trelawny of the Wells (1916) and The Actress (1928).

Trece
Trece was a character played by actress Gertrude Astor in the film Hit of the Show (1928).

Trenna
Trenna Plaice was a character played by actress Virginia Bruce in the film Shadow of Doubt (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Trenna.

Tressie
Tressie Harlow was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film Danger Ahead (1921).

Trilby
Trilby was a character name in multiple films, including Trilby (1914) and Svengali (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trilby.

Trina
Trina was a character name in multiple films, including His Sweetheart (1917) and Man’s Castle (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Trina.

Trini
Trini was a character played by actress Paulette Duval in the film Twelve Miles Out (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Trini.

Trixi
Trixi Du Bray was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film Officer Thirteen (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixi.

Trixie
Trixie Friganza was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Kansas in 1871. Her birth name was Delia O’Callahan. Trixie was also a character name in multiple films, including Falling Leaves (short, 1912) and The Good Bad Girl (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Trixie.

Trommy
Trommy was a character played by actress Eula Guy in the film Expensive Husbands (1937).

Truda
Truda was a character played by actress Hedda Nova in the film By the World Forgot (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Truda.

Trudi
Trudi Hovland was a character played by actress Sonja Henie in the film Second Fiddle (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudi.

Trudie
Trudie Morrow was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film The Night of June 13 (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudie.

Trudy
Trudy was a character name in multiple films, including You Can’t Beat Love (1937) and She Married a Cop (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Trudy.

Truly
Truly Shattuck was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1876. Her birth name was Clarice Etrulia de Burcharde.

  • Usage of the baby name Truly.

Trusia
Trusia was a character played by actress June Marlowe in the film Don Juan (1926).

Truth
Truth Eldridge was a character played by actress Belle Bennett in the film Flesh and Spirit (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Truth.

Tryphena
Tryphena Winter was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the short film Underneath the Paint (1914).

Tsakran
Tsakran was a character played by actress May Robson in the film Turkish Delight (1927).

Tsuru
Tsuru Aoki was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Japan in 1892.

Tui
Tui Bow was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1980s. She was born in New Zealand in 1906. Her birth name was Mary Lorraine Tui.

Tuila
Tuila was a character played by actress Conchita Montenegro in the film La Melodia Prohibida (1933).

Tula
Tula Belle was a child actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Norway in 1906. Her birth name was Borgny Erna Bull Høegh. Tula was also a character name in multiple films, including The Vengeance of Najerra (short, 1914) and Kongo (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tula.

Tuptim
Tuptim was a character played by actress Linda Darnell in the film Anna and the King of Siam (1946).

Tura
Tura was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Her Jungle Love (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Tura.

Tutara
Tutara was a character played by actress Armida in the film South of Tahiti (1941).

Tweeny
Tweeny was a character played by actress Lila Lee in the film Male and Female (1919).

Tylette
Tylette was a character played by actress Gale Sondergaard in the film The Blue Bird (1940).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

What Do You Think of Altruria?

sunset-islandThe names Dorcasina, Malaeska, and Trilby were inspired by characters from 19th-century novels. Altruria also comes from a 19th-century novel, but not from a character.

A Traveler from Altruria (1894) by William Dean Howells was first published in installments in Cosmopolitan in 1892-1893. The protagonist is Aristides Homos, a visitor to America from the fictional island of Altruria, “a Utopian world that combined the foundations of Christianity and the U.S. Constitution to produce an “ethical socialism” by which society was guided.”

The fictional place-name Altruria is a play on the word “altruism,” which was coined relatively recently (circa 1830) by French philosopher Auguste Comte.

Though A Traveler from Altruria isn’t well-remembered today, it was influential during the 1890s. Altrurian Clubs started sprouting up across the country. A short-lived commune called Altruria was established in Sonoma County, California, in the mid-1890s. And at least two babies were given the (middle) name Altruria:

  • Carrie Altruria Evans, born in 1900 in Van Wert, Ohio
  • Lester Altruria Eby, born in 1895 in Des Moines, Iowa

The official history book of the Van Wert Altrurian Club even mentions Carrie by name:

Carrie Altruria Evans, born 1900 in Ohio
Carrie Altruria Evans, b. 1900

What do you think of Altruria as a baby name? Do you think it could be an alternative to the fast-rising Aurora (which broke into the top 100 last year)?

Sources: Science fiction The 19th and early 20th centuries – Encyclopedia Britannica, Altrurian Club History – Ohio Memory Collection, Altruism – Online Etymology Dictionary

The Baby Name Ramona

Ramona, movie
Dolores del Rio as Ramona
in Ramona (1928)
Actress Dolores del Rio was the star of not one but two silent films with theme songs that influenced the baby name charts.

In 1926 she played Charmaine in What Price Glory?, and two years later she played the titular character in Ramona, which was based on the book Ramona (1884) by Helen Hunt Jackson.

The book is a tragic romance set in mid-19th century Southern California, and the protagonists are Ramona, a mixed-race Scottish–Native American orphan, and her lover Alessandro.

Like Trilby a decade later, Ramona was a bestseller that inspired many namesakes: schools, streets, freeways, even towns (such as Ramona, California). The number of human namesakes is harder to gauge, though the U.S. Census of 1900 indicates that there was a moderate increase in the number Ramonas in 1884.

Still, the book’s impact on baby names can’t compare to the impact of its most successful film adaptation, Ramona (1928)…thanks in large part to the music.

The song “Ramona” was commissioned for the film in 1927, and released later that year — long before the film came out in May of 1928, interestingly. It was a big hit with more than two million copies sold and two different versions reaching #1 on the Billboard charts in 1928: first the Paul Whiteman version for 3 weeks, then the Gene Austin version for 8 more weeks.

This song, the first to borrow a film’s title, became the most successful movie theme song of the decade, and greatly enhanced the success of the film. Its popularity gave Hollywood producers much food for thought about how to publicize movies.

Usage of the baby name Ramona, already on the rise in the late 1920s, increased so much in 1928 that the name nearly reached the top 100:

  • 1931: 1,130 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 164th]
  • 1930: 1,410 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 149th]
  • 1929: 2,036 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 120th]
  • 1928: 2,237 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 117th]
  • 1927: 567 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 277th]
  • 1926: 467 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 307th]
  • 1925: 450 baby girls named Ramona [rank: 313th]

So where does the name Ramona come from?

Ramona and its masculine form, Ramón, are the Spanish versions of Raymond, which is ultimately based on the Germanic words ragin, meaning “advice, decision, counsel,” and mund, meaning “protection.”

Do you like the name Ramona? Would you use it?

Source: MacDonald, Laurence E. The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History. Lanham, MD: Ardsley House, 1998.