Where did the baby name Venida come from in the 1920s?

Venida hair net packaging
Venida hair net packaging

The Rieser Company of New York started selling Venida hair nets — which were made out of real human hair, as opposed to silk — around 1907. The company’s founder, Norvin Rieser, created the brand name Venida out of the Latin phrase “veni, vidi, vici.”

In the mid-1910s, “hairdressing parlors, notion stores, and department stores’ notion counters were the only outlets for hair nets.” It took Rieser several years to convince the Liggett drug store chain to start selling Venida hair nets. Once Liggett began stocking the product, though, other “chains and independent drugstores began to fall like palm trees in a Florida hurricane.”

The baby name Venida first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1920s:

  • 1925: 9 baby girls named Venida
  • 1924: 6 baby girls named Venida
  • 1923: 10 baby girls named Venida
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Venida [debut]
  • 1920: unlisted
  • 1919: unlisted

How much of this usage can be attributed to hair nets?

It’s hard to say exactly, but I believe at least some of it was influenced by Venida marketing.

Most importantly, Venida newspaper advertisements — which featured a young woman with flowing hair, next to the tagline “Venida rules the waves” — became more prevalent in the early 1920s (as the product itself became more widely available). It’s easy to imagine that the woman in the ads was in fact a lady named Venida.

Venida newspaper advertisement (Dec. 1921).
Venida newspaper advertisement, 1921

There were also Venida-themed contests, like the “word-building” one below. In this particular competition, first prize was $1,000, second was $500, and third was $200. (The winners, announced at the end of 1921, were named Ethel, Mary, and Blanche, respectively.)

And lets not forget about other types of advertising, like billboards. Here’s a 1920 photo of a Venida billboard on the Atlantic City boardwalk, for example. (It even lit up at night!)

The Rieser Company eventually started selling other hair-related products (e.g., bobby pins, shampoo), but hair nets were always the main draw, judging by the magazine advertisements that ran well into the mid-20th century. The hair nets continued to be sold until the early 1960s, but I’m not sure what became of the company after that.

What do you think of the baby name Venida?


  • Hickerson, J. M., ed. How I Made the Sale that Did the Most for Me. New York: Prentice Hall, 1951.
  • “Prize Offers.” Popular Mechanics Sept. 1921: 479.
  • Venida advertisement. Omaha Daily Bee 11 Dec. 1921, Rotogravure section: 4.

Image: Venida Hair Net from the National Museum of American History

P.S. Names influenced by similar things include Mazola (ladies in advertisements) and Norita (contest).

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Venida come from in the 1920s?

  1. The name Norvin Rieser is quite the moniker on its own! Wonder what his middle name was…

    Venida sounds, um, dark. Like Medieval dark. Something along the lines of Elvira. If two sisters were named Venida and Elvira, a third sister might be… Zeida.

    The fact that any babies were named Venida makes me admire the hair net’s marketing!

  2. His middle initial was “H,” and his German-born father also had an H-name, so I’m guessing that’s the source. But I can’t make out his father’s name on the 1900 Census — Herman? Herus? Hm.

  3. I think Venida is quite lovely. My grandmother had a cousin named Vinita. She was born around 1910. She had sisters named Alice and Florence (older), and Ethel (younger), so her name was the most unique. I can’t find any information as to way she received the name Vinita. The family was of German heritage on both sides (distant cousins married) and lived in southern Indiana.

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