Charmin’ Sharman

sharman douglas
Sharman Douglas © 1947 LIFE

The name Sharman was the fastest-rising baby name of 1948, the second-fastest of 1949, and saw its highest usage in 1950:

  • 1953: 44 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1952: 63 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1951: 76 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1950: 160 baby girls named Sharman [peak]
  • 1949: 126 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1948: 30 baby girls named Sharman
  • 1947: 8 baby girls named Sharman

What was the influence?

American socialite Sharman Douglas.

Her father served as the U. S. ambassador to the Court of St. James’s from early 1947 to late 1950. While the family lived in England, Sharman became famous for her close ties to the British royal family — particularly Princess Margaret. (They were roughly the same age.)

Here’s what the American newspapers were saying about Sharman in mid-1947:

An eager, flaxen-haired teenager from Tucson, Ariz. has become Britain’s debutante of the year. The common people and the socially elect have fallen under her spell. She is tall, lithe Sharman Douglas, 19-year-old daughter of U.S. Ambassador and Mrs. Lewis W Douglas. Apart from the two royal princesses, she is undoubtedly the most photographed girl in all Britain, screen stars included.

The press followed “Charmin‘ Sharman” throughout the time she was overseas.

In late 1948, for instance, the papers reported that she was dating two men — the Marquess of Blandford and the Marquess of Milford-Haven — both of whom had been linked to Princess Margaret. In mid-1949, it was reported that her father “had cut down on [her] social life” after a London columnist brought up the possibility of Sharman and Princess Margaret falling for the same man.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Sharman?

Sources:

  • “British Study Likely Romance.” Billings Gazette 18 Jul. 1949: 8.
  • “English Nobleman to Visit U.S.–Business Or Romance?” Sandusky Register 14 Oct. 1948: 16.
  • “Life Visits U.S. Ambassador to Britain.” Life 27 Oct. 1947: 150-156.
  • Sharman Douglas – Wikipedia
  • Wace, Barbara. “Sharman Douglas Captivates British Society in First Season.” Corpus Christi Caller-Times 12 Aug. 1947: 9.

The Debut of Darrylin

darrylin zanuck, 1949, baby name
Darrylin Zanuck, 1949

Years before the boy name Darryl was at the height of its trendiness (in the early ’60s), the Darryl-based, Marilyn-like name Darrylin debuted in the baby name data:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 6 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 8 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: 11 baby girls named Darrylin
  • 1948: unlisted

What made it show up in 1949 specifically?

Darrylin Zanuck, the teenage daughter of famous film producer Darryl Zanuck (founder of 20th Century Fox) and his wife Virginia (a former silent film actress).

She was in the news starting in August of 1949, after her parents announced that the 18-year-old had just gotten engaged to a 22-year-old University of Southern California student named Robert “Bob” Jacks (who went on to become a TV producer). The announcement mentioned that the couple would wed after his graduation the following year, but the pair ended up marrying just a few months later, in November.

And here’s some interesting trivia: Darrylin was a pioneering lady-surfer. In 1947, surfboard maker Joe Quigg crafted a board just for her — it was shorter and lighter than the boards being used by men at the time — and that board has since come to be known as the “Darrylin Board.”

What are your thoughts on the name Darrylin?

Sources:

[Here’s another name coined by Darryl and Virginia Zanuck: Darvi.]

The Baby Name Belita

The baby name Belita debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1943.

The baby name Belita first appeared in the SSA’s dataset in 1943:

  • 1947: 18 baby girls named Belita
  • 1946: 19 baby girls named Belita
  • 1945: 20 baby girls named Belita
  • 1944: 18 baby girls named Belita
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Belita [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Figure skater-turned-film star Belita, a contemporary of Sonja Henie. Belita was being featured in a film called Silver Skates in 1943.

She was born Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner in England in 1923. She competed (as Belita Jepson-Turner) at the Winter Olympics in Berlin in 1936, placing 16th in ladies’ singles.

While stranded in the U.S. during World War II, she embarked upon a Hollywood career. Some of her other films include Lady, Let’s Dance! (1944), Suspense (1946), and Never Let Me Go (1953), which starred Clark Gable and Gene Tierney.

And her unusual name? It was inspired by an Argentine estancia (ranch). Her great-grandfather had relocated to Argentina in the 1800s and established five sizeable estancias, mainly for raising cattle. He also built railroads to his properties. One of the estancias (and the associated railroad station) was named La Belita after his wife, Isabelita. “Since then there has always been a Belita in the family,” Belita said.

Belita retired from both skating and show business during the second half of the 1950s.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Belita?

Sources:

The Arrival of Randye

randye, baby name, 1949, triplets
Most of the Herman family, 1949

The baby name Randye debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1949. The usage was primarily in New York state.

YearRandye, usage in U.S.Randye, usage in N.Y.
195311 baby girls10 baby girls
195224 baby girls11 baby girls
195112 baby girls6 baby girls
19509 baby girls6 baby girls
194924 baby girls [debut]14 baby girls [debut]
1948unlistedunlisted
1947unlistedunlisted

Why the debut, and why New York?

Because of a set of identical triplets born to New York City couple Murray and Marjorie Herman in May of 1949. The three girls were born at Polyclinic Hospital and named Jaimye, Randye, and Vickye.

My guess is that the triplets — plus their older sister, Leslye — were featured in the local news throughout their childhood. All four of must have been in the papers around 1952, for instance, because usage of three of the four names increased that year.

Female usage of names similar to Randye (like Randy and Randi) were seeing higher usage in general during this time period, likely thanks to the influence of movie actress Randy Stuart (born Elizabeth Shaubell).

Sources: