Where did the baby name Cobina come from in 1939?

Cobina Wright, Jr. (1921-2011)
Cobina Wright, Jr.

Esther Cobb (1887-1970) was an ambitious gossip columnist known professionally, and later legally, as Cobina Wright.

She had her only child, Cobina Carolyn Wright, in 1921.

Cobina Sr. made sure to groom Cobina Jr. “for a film career capped by a spectacular marriage.”

Cobina Jr. ended up becoming one of the glamour girls of her era:

By 1938, [Cobina Jr.] was already under contract with 20th Century Fox while also modelling and singing in nightclubs. The next year, she won the title of Miss Manhattan and was named “most attractive and talented New York girl of the 1939 season.”

She was even wooed by Prince Philip (the eventual husband of Queen Elizabeth II) in the late 1930s.

In the early 1940s, she appeared in several films (e.g., Week-End in Havana) and made the cover of Life Magazine (February 17, 1941).

While Cobina was at the height of her fame, her name appeared in the U.S. baby name data twice:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 7 baby girls named Cobina
  • 1940: unlisted
  • 1939: 8 baby girls named Cobina [debut]
  • 1938: unlisted

In late 1941, at the age of 19, she got married. Several years after that, Cobina Jr. retired from acting.

Update, 6/1/2018: Just discovered something! In the early 1940s, Bob Hope “hired two ladies, Blanche Steward and Elvia Allman, to do parodies of two well-known debutantes of the period, Brenda Frazier and Cobina Wright, Jr.” The characters Brenda and Cobina appeared in several films together from 1940 to 1942. But Bob had to get rid of the characters when the real-life Cobina initiated a lawsuit. This might be a better explanation for the return of the name in ’41. It also might relate to Robin’s comment


Image: © 1941 Life

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Cobina come from in 1939?

  1. Interesting! In the newer Archie comics, there’s a meta-series called Wendell that essentially follows the plot of the older Archie comics. Wendell’s girlfriends (in lieu of Betty and Veronica) are Brenda and Cobina, and I always wondered where “Cobina” could come from.

  2. Just heard from Cobina Carolyn Beaudette, who is apparently Esther Cobb’s granddaughter. Here’s what she said:

    The name Cobina originated when my Grandmother Ester Cobb was singing opera and wanted a more glamorous name. She dropped one B and added an Italian ending “ina” and sang by Madame Cobina. She named my mother Cobina (Jr.). Her middle name Carolyn came from my paternal Great Grandmother Carolyn Cane May. She then pleaded with my mother to name me Cobina as well. I am the last “original” Cobina but go by the initials C.C.

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