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.

Transient Tessibel

secret of storm country, 1917, movie

Tessibel appeared only once in the Social Security Administration’s baby name data, way back in 1917:

  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: 7 baby girls named Tessibel [debut]
  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: unlisted

For a better picture of what usage looked like around this time, though, let’s check out data from the Social Security Death Index:

  • 1921: 2 people named Tessibel
  • 1920: 1 people named Tessibel
  • 1919: 2 people named Tessibel
  • 1918: 2 people named Tessibel
  • 1917: 6 people named Tessibel
  • 1916: 3 people named Tessibel
  • 1900-1915: zero people named Tessibel

So where did the name Tessibel come from in the 1910s, and why were there extra Tessibels in 1917?

The inspiration was fictional character Tessibel Skinner, invented by author Grace Miller White and first introduced in the 1909 book Tess of the Storm Country. A second book featuring Tess, The Secret of the Storm Country, came out in 1917.

The first book was made into four different films (in 1914, 1922, 1932, and 1960) and the second was made into a single film the same year it was published.

My guess is that the name got a nudge in 1917 thanks to the release of the new story, which was also serialized in the now-defunct magazine Woman’s World. The marketing for the movie — which featured popular actress Norma Talmadge (who went on to star in The Heart of Wetona and Smilin’ Through) — could have been a factor as well.

Do you like the name Tessibel? Do you think it’s a good alternative to names like Isabel and Annabel?