Babies Named for Armistice Day

Front page news, 11/11/1918

Here’s a name that, year after year on November 11, I keep forgetting to write about: Armistice. It debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1918:

  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby boys named Armistice
  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: 5 baby boys named Armistice
  • 1918: 5 baby girls named Armistice [debut]
  • 1917: unlisted

The influence, of course, was the Armistice declared on November 11, 1918, that signaled the end of World War I. From that point forward, November 11 became known as Armistice Day. (It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.)

A few of the babies named Armistice even got “Day” as a middle name. And at least one of these “Armistice Day” babies, born in Connecticut in 1927, managed to make it into newspapers:

Bridgeport, it has developed, is to have an Armistice Day the year round. Born on Nov. 11 last, the infant daughter of a local family is believed to be the first child in the country named in honor of the world holiday. Her official name is “Armistice Day Guiseppina [sic] Olympia Bredice.” Her father is an employee of a local sewing machine factory.

What do you think of Armistice as a first name?

Source: “Baby named “Armistice Day”.” Reading Eagle 23 Nov. 1927: 4.

P.S. More WWI baby names: Foch, Marne, Allenby, Joffre, Pershing, Tasker, and Liberty.

The Baby Name Belvin

Belvin W. Maynard, pilot

The Transcontinental Air Race of 1919 began began 100 years ago today, on October 8, 1919. It was the longest airplane race ever attempted (up to that point) and was followed closely by the public via the newspapers.

It even ended up having an influence on baby names: the boy name that saw the steepest rise in usage in 1919, Belvin, was the name of the winning pilot.

  • 1921 – 13 baby boys named Belvin
  • 1920 – 10 baby boys named Belvin
    • 5 in N.C. specifically
  • 1919 – 23 baby boys named Belvin [peak]
    • 6 in N.C. specifically
  • 1918 – 5 baby boys named Belvin
  • 1917 – 5 baby boys named Belvin

Belvin Womble Maynard was born in North Carolina in 1892. He’d gone to school to become a Baptist minister in the early 1910s, but ended up discovering an aptitude for piloting airplanes while stationed in France during WWI.

Not long after returning to the U.S. in the summer of 1919, Maynard entered and won an air race from Long Island, New York, to Toronto, Canada.

Following that success, the “flying parson” (as he’d been dubbed by the press) entered an even more ambitious air race: the Army Air Service’s “Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test.” It required that entrants cross the nation not once, but twice.

Belvin Maynard, mechanic, dog, and airplane
Belvin is on the right.

Sixty-three planes entered. Most of them (48) started in New York and headed west, while the rest (15) started in San Francisco and headed east.

Maynard, his mechanic, and his dog (Trixie) took off from New York at the start of the contest. They were the first to reach California, on October 11.

They stayed until the 15th, then headed back toward the East Coast. On the return trip their engine failed, which could have cost them the race…but they cleverly replaced it with the engine of a wrecked plane nearby (that had been participating in the very same race). They made it back to New York on October 18 and were declared the winners.

(As for the other entrants, only about half of them completed the race. In total there were 54 accidents and seven deaths.)

For a time, Belvin Maynard was a national hero. The first commercial airfield in North Carolina, which opened in December of 1919, was named “Maynard Field” in his honor.

But sadly, in mid-1922, several weeks before his 30th birthday, Belvin was killed when his plane crashed during an air show in Vermont.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Belvin?

Sources: Belvin W. Maynard – Early Aviators, Billy Mitchell and the Great Transcontinental Air Race of 1919, Belvin Maynard – NCpedia, International Aerial Derby 1919 – General Aviation News, Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test – National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, The Great Transcontinental Air Race – HistoryNet
Images: from the Boston Globe (18 Oct. 1919, page 1) and St. Nicholas magazine (Dec.1919, page 173)

[More aviator-inspired baby names: Vilas, Maitland, Lindbergh.]

The One-Hit Wonder Gorizia

The interesting name Gorizia was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in the middle of the 1910s:

  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: 5 baby girls named Gorizia [debut]
  • 1914: unlisted
  • 1913: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The European town of Gorizia, which, though located in northern Italy, has a Slovenian name (meaning “little hill”). Americans began hearing a lot about Gorizia starting in mid-1915.

After Italy entered World War I in the spring of 1915, the Italian and Austrian-Hungarian armies began engaging in what would become a series of battles that lasted from June of 1915 until November of 1917. Italy’s initial objective was to cross the Isonzo River and take the town of Gorizia, which was then part of the Austrian Empire. During the sixth battle (in August of 1916), Italy finally managed to capture Gorizia.

Though the Italians were routed during the final battle (a.k.a., “the greatest defeat in Italian military history”), in 1919, after the war was over, the Italian government annexed the regions they had previously captured.

What do you think of Gorizia as a baby name?

Source: Gorizia – Wikipedia, Gorizia – Lonely Planet, Battle of Caporetto – Wikipedia

The Baby Name Ortrude

Ortrude is one of the many girl names tied for top one-hit wonder of 1916.

  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: 6 baby girls named Ortrude [debut]
  • 1915: unlisted
  • 1914: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A serialized story called Marrying for Money by Mrs. Eva Leonard. It ran in various U.S. newspapers during the first half of 1916.

In the story, Ortrude was a self-centered woman who married a wealthy older man with two adolescent children (Marian and Dudley). Ortrude’s bad behavior did not endear her to anyone in her new family, husband included. By the end of the tale, she’d had an epiphany and changed her ways.

Do you like the name Ortrude? Do you like it more or less than the similar name Gertrude?

The Baby Name Trudis

Trudis Calgour, character
Trudis Calgour

Trudis was a one hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in 1916:

  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: 5 baby girls named Trudis
  • 1915: unlisted
  • 1914: unlisted

What put it in the data?

A character from various stories (e.g., “The Camps of Chaos,” “The Teeth of Famine”) by Canadian author Samuel Alexander White. The tales were initially serialized in Collier’s during the first half of 1915, then reprinted in at least one newspaper (the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) in 1916.

The stories were set in the Yukon, and the two main characters were siblings Thorpe Calgour and Trudis “Tru” Calgour of Dawson City. Thorpe worked as a gold-miner, and his sister Trudis “kept his cabin and encouraged all his efforts.”

What are your thoughts on the name Trudis?

Sources:

  • The FictionMags Index
  • White, Samuel Alexander. “The Fasle Stampede.” Collier’s 16 Jan. 1915: 10-12, 24.