Where did the baby name Perilla come from in 1933?

The story "Honeymoon Murder" (1933) by Carolyn Wells
“Honeymoon Murder”

The rare name Perilla first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1933:

  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1934: unlisted
  • 1933: 7 baby girls named Perilla [debut]
  • 1932: unlisted
  • 1931: unlisted

That was the only time it ever appeared in the data, making it a one-hit wonder.

Where did it come from?

A story called The Honeymoon Murder by prolific American author Carolyn Wells. It was serialized in U.S. newspapers in mid-1933.

The tale began with the marriage of young Perilla Fairfax to wealthy Corey Malden. Soon after the wedding, though, Corey suddenly dies. Corey’s mother (of course) blames Perilla, who stands to inherit most of Corey’s money. By the end, though, we learn that the murderer is actually the groom’s best man, who’d wanted both the money and Perilla for himself.

In the first chapter, the author mentions that Perilla’s name was chosen by her mother, who was “of a romantic nature.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Perilla?


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