What popularized the baby name Uldine in the 1920s?

Uldine Utley in 1926 (from her magazine)
Uldine Utley in 1926 (from her magazine)

Have any 20th-century Uldines in your family tree? If so, there’s a good chance that your Uldine was named after pint-sized preacher Uldine Mabelle Utley.

Uldine Utley was born in Oklahoma in 1912, spent much of her youth in Colorado, and then moved with her family to California — where she first encountered Pentecostal evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, in 1921. Not long after witnessing Aimee preach, Uldine decided to begin her own preaching career.

By the mid-1920s, Uldine was one of America’s best-known child evangelists. She drew a crowd of 14,000 when she preached at Madison Square Garden at the age of 14, for instance. She even put out her own monthly magazine called Petals from the Rose of Sharon.

And when Uldine Utley was most popular — from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s — usage of the rare baby name Uldine was at its highest, according to data from both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

Girls named Uldine
People named Uldine
*Debut, †Peak usage

At least four of these babies, including Uldine Utley Parnell (b. 1921, South Carolina) and Uldine Utley Peters (b. 1930, West Virginia), were given “Uldine Utley” as a first-middle pairing.

The original Uldine Utley kept up an intense preaching schedule until the end of 1936, when she suffered a nervous breakdown. She recovered temporarily, and even had a brief marriage, but spent most of the rest of her life in institutions or under family care.

Are you related to anyone named Uldine? What are your thoughts on the name? Any guesses about the name’s derivation?


Image: Petals from the Rose of Sharon (pdf), November 1926.

6 thoughts on “What popularized the baby name Uldine in the 1920s?

  1. I was named for Uldine Utley. My dad heard her preach in Miami around 1926; I was born May 17, 1931.

  2. Unusual name…my late Uncle’s stepmother’s first name was Uldine…she would have been born about 1900. Québec, Canada

  3. Thanks for the comment, Mitch! I wonder if the name Uldine was more popular in Quebec than it was in the U.S. during the early 20th century. Hm…

  4. My Mum, Uldine was born in 1926 in England. She always says the name is Scotish but I can find very little reference to It’s origin. Can you help? Christine

  5. @Christine – I’m sorry, I haven’t had any luck connecting the name to Scotland. Though it does remind me somewhat to the Scottish -dina and -ina names (e.g., Donaldina, Murdina, Williamina, Angusina).

    According to the site Nordic Names, Uldine can be a pet form of Ulrika and other names that contain an element based on the Germanic word odal.

    I’d also wonder if, in certain cases, it can be traced back to the Biblical name Huldah…?

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