Where did the baby name Sunya come from in 1927?

Lobby Card for "The Love of Sunya" (1927).
The Love of Sunya” lobby card

The Love of Sunya (1927) was a silent film that starred Gloria Swanson as Sunya Ashling, a young woman who used a crystal ball to see different versions of her future.

The movie wasn’t a commercial success, but it inspired a handful of expectant parents to name their baby girls Sunya nonetheless:

  • 1930: unlisted
  • 1929: 7 baby girls named Sunya
  • 1928: 5 baby girls named Sunya
  • 1927: 14 baby girls named Sunya [debut]
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

In fact, the name Sunya was one of the top baby name debuts of 1927.

The film had been based on the play The Eyes of Youth (1917) by Charles Guernon and Max Marcin. In the play, the protagonist’s name was Gina Ashland.

The name Sunya is based on the Sanskrit word sunya, meaning “empty” or “void.” (The film’s creators/marketers had interpreted Sunya as “illusion.”)

Do you like the name Sunya?

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