Where did the baby name Ormi come from?

Movie actress Ormi Hawley (1889-1942)
Ormi Hawley

Back in the 1910s, when the film industry was just getting off the ground, several early film actors (or “players,” as they were called back then) managed to influence the baby name charts.

The very first actor-inspired baby name to debut on the charts seems to be Francelia, which appeared in 1912.

And the second? Ormi, which came along four years later.

Silent film actress Ormetta Grace “Ormi” Hawley was born in Massachusetts in 1889. “Opulent Ormi” appeared in hundreds of silent films (mostly shorts) from 1911 to 1919, primarily for the Lubin Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The name Ormi appeared in the U.S. baby name data for one year only:

  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: 5 baby girls named Ormi [debut]
  • 1915: unlisted
  • 1914: unlisted

But SSDI data reveals that other people (presumably baby girls) were given the first name Ormi during that period:

  • 1919: 1 person
  • 1918: none
  • 1917: 1 person
  • 1916: 5 people
  • 1915: 2 people
  • 1914: 2 people
  • 1913: 2 people
  • 1912: none
  • 1911: none

Ormi Hawley retired from acting in the 1920s and passed away in 1942. Unfortunately, very little of her film work has survived. (In fact, 70% of all films from the silent era are “completely lost to history,” according to the Library of Congress.)

Do you like the name Ormi? How about Ormetta?

Sources: Lottie Briscoe, Octavia Handworth, Ormi Hawley, Helen Marten: Lubin’s Lovely Ladies, Most of America’s Silent Films Are Lost Forever, SSA, SSDI

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