A Spike in Eulalias

Infanta Eulalia

In the early 1890s, the baby name Eulalia saw a distinct spike in usage:

  • 1895: 34 baby girls named Eulalia
  • 1894: 39 baby girls named Eulalia
  • 1893: 55 baby girls named Eulalia
  • 1892: 19 baby girls named Eulalia
  • 1891: 20 baby girls named Eulalia

That’s what the SSA data indicates; here’s the spike mirrored in the SSDI data:

  • 1895: 81 people named Eulalia
  • 1894: 92 people named Eulalia
  • 1893: 156 people named Eulalia
  • 1892: 59 people named Eulalia
  • 1891: 46 people named Eulalia

What caused it?

Spain’s 29-year-old Infanta Eulalia — whose full name at birth was María Eulalia Francisca de Asís Margarita Roberta Isabel Francisca de Paula Cristina María de la Piedad. (The name Eulalia is derived from the ancient Greek word eulalos, meaning “well spoken.”)

In 1893, she visited the U.S. to attend the Chicago World’s Fair — officially the “Columbian Exposition,” held in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America.

This Columbus connection made the fair’s organizers eager to host a member of the Spanish royal family as a guest of honor. So Queen Isabella II of Spain sent her youngest daughter, Eulalia, to represent the family.

Even before Eulalia appeared at the fair on June 7, she attracted U.S. media attention over the 49 days she spent traveling to various places (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Washington DC, and New York) along the way to Chicago.

Once she finally arrived, she was followed closely by the media. Newspapers like the Chicago Tribune offered daily updates on Eulalia and her various activities (e.g., parades, banquets, concerts).

However, despite the glowing reports on the front pages, the Tribune began carrying references to misunderstandings and insinuations of friction over matters of etiquette, precedence, and, especially, the Princess’ cavalier attitude toward arrangements made for her.

In fact, at the end of her “brief but not altogether satisfactory” visit, the Tribune went so far as to say the efforts put in by those who’d entertained Eulalia and her entourage were akin to “seeds flung away on barren ground.”

…All this press coverage, both positive and negative, gave the name a lot of extra exposure during 1893. And this resulted in more U.S. parents naming their babies “Eulalia” the same year.

What are your thoughts on the name Eulalia? Would you use it for a modern-day baby?

Sources:

Downtown Baby Name: Petula

petula clark, downtown, 1960s, music, song

Here’s an easy one. The baby name Petula appeared on the U.S. charts in the mid-’60s:

  • 1969: 16 baby girls named Petula
  • 1967: 39 baby girls named Petula [peak usage]
  • 1967: 23 baby girls named Petula
  • 1966: 20 baby girls named Petula
  • 1965: 19 baby girls named Petula [debut]
  • 1964: unlisted

This is the year the catchy song “Downtown” was a hit for English singer Petula Clark.

Petula was born in 1932, singing on radio by 1942, and putting out singles by the mid-’50s. She’d achieved fame in Europe, but when “Downtown” was released in late 1964, it brought her international fame.

“Downtown” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January of 1965. Several months later it won the Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording, beating contenders like “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison and “A Hard Day’s Night” by The Beatles. (A Billboard writer admitted that “Downtown” winning in the Rock & Roll category “puzzled many.”)

Petula’s birth name was Sally. The nickname “Petula” was coined by her father. Here’s what she said about her name(s) during a recent interview:

True or false: your dad named you after two of his former girlfriends, Pet and Ulla?

I have no idea if it’s true or false. This is a story that’s come up, and I don’t think it came from me – it’s just there. It could be. I’ve never heard of anyone called Pet or Ulla.

I’ve never heard of anyone else called Petula either, though.

No, but there are some Petulas. There’s actually a Petula Clark in the States. I don’t much like it actually. It sounds like a sort of stagey type name and I prefer Sally, which is the name on my birth certificate. I’ve always been called Petula.

What are your thoughts on the name Petula?

Sources:

Popular Baby Names in Norway, 2019

According to Statistics Norway, the most popular baby names in Norway in 2019 were Emma and Jakob/Jacob.

Here are Norway’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Emma, 393 baby girls
  2. Nora/Norah, 379
  3. Sofie/Sophie, 326
  4. Ella, 319
  5. Olivia, 303
  6. Ada, 291
  7. Sofia/Sophia, 271
  8. Sara/Sarah/Zara, 265
  9. Maja/Maia/Maya, 260
  10. Ingrid, 258

Boy Names

  1. Jakob/Jacob, 423 baby boys
  2. Lucas/Lukas, 392
  3. Filip/Fillip/Philip/Phillip, 387
  4. Oskar/Oscar, 358
  5. Oliver, 353
  6. Emil, 347
  7. Henrik, 339
  8. William, 333
  9. Noah/Noa, 314
  10. Aksel/Axel, 311

In the girls’ top 10, Ada, Sofia/Sophia and Ingrid replace Emilie, Leah/Lea, and Amalie. (Ada may have gotten a boost from Norwegian footballer Ada Hegerberg.)

In the boys’ top 10, William replaces Elias.

In the capital city of Oslo, the top names were Mohammad and Nora.

In 2018, the top two names were Emma and Lucas/Lukas.

Sources: Navn – SSB, Dette var de mest populære navnene i 2019, The top 10 Norwegian baby names for boys and girls

The Emergence of Chucky

guidling light, radio, baby name

No, I’m not talking about the evil doll. I’m talking about the baby names Chucky and Chuckie, which both emerged in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1940s:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
195216 baby boys20 baby boys
195123 baby boys17 baby boys
19507 baby boys11 baby boys
19496 baby boys [debut]10 baby boys
1948(unlisted)5 baby boys
1947(unlisted)(unlisted)

Why?

Because, around this time, a baby/young boy named Chuckie was being featured on the popular radio soap opera The Guiding Light.

In 1948, the soap began to focus on the Bauer family, particularly Meta [MAY-tah] Bauer. That year Meta conceived a child out of wedlock with Ted White.

After she gave birth to a baby boy (either in late 1948 or early 1949) she gave him up for adoption. The adoptive parents chose to name him Charles after the pastor who’d helped arrange the adoption.

During 1949, but both Meta and Ted decided they wanted the baby back, so young Chuckie became the object of two separate custody lawsuits (one filed by Meta, the other by Ted). Chuckie was given back to Meta, so Ted decided then to marry her (early 1950) solely in order to have access to his son. But the marriage didn’t work, Meta left, and she initiated yet another custody battle for Chuckie.

By mid-1950 Chuckie was somehow old enough to be taking boxing lessons (Ted’s idea) and ended up with a severe head injury. He slipped into a coma for a few weeks, then died in September. (Days later, Meta shot and killed Ted.)

Chuckie’s tragic death likely accounts for the higher usage of Chuckie in 1951.

But both names see their highest usage in 1961 specifically:

YearChuckie usageChucky usage
196223 baby boys31 baby boys
196145 baby boys36 baby boys
196026 baby boys31 baby boys

This looks to be due to a different Chuckie entirely — a mischievous blonde boy named Chuckie who was the focus of a Leave It to Beaver episode called “Chuckie’s New Shoes” that aired in December of 1960.

Do you like the name Chuckie? Would you use it as a legal name, or do you prefer it as a nickname for Charles?

Source: About GL: Who’s Who in Springfield | Meta Bauer | Guiding Light