Where did the baby name Nalda come from in 1923?

The baby name Nalda first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1923. In fact, it was the top debut name of the year.

  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: unlisted
  • 1923: 15 baby girls named Nalda [debut]
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: unlisted

What gave it a boost?

A story called “The Regeneration of Malcolm Starmount” that had been serialized in the newspapers in 1923. One of the characters was a beautiful actress named Nalda Courteney.

I haven’t read the entire story, but I do know that Nalda ended up dying in a plane crash (along with the married man she’d been dating). The character’s obituary read: “Nalda Courteney had for some years been noted on Broadway. Her pearls, motors and love affairs have featured [on] the first pages of newspapers for the last five or six years.”

The story was written by journalist Idah McGlone Gibson (1860-1933), who, according to one source, was the “writer of the first syndicated story ever published in a newspaper in this country.” (Tantalizing claim! I don’t have any other details, though.)

What are your thoughts on the baby name Nalda?

Sources:

  • Gibson, Idah McGlone. “The Regeneration of Malcolm Starmount.” Hamilton Daily News 1 Sept. 1923: 5.
  • Woman Writer Dies in Hollywood Home.” Ogden Standard-Examiner 17 Dec. 1933: 14.

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