Where did the baby name Nedenia come from?

Actress Dina Merrill on the cover of LIFE magazine (Jan. 11, 1960).
Dina Merrill, © 1960 Life

In 1960, the name Nedenia showed up in the U.S. baby name data for the first and only time:

  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 9 baby girls named Nedenia [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Actress and socialite Dina Merrill, whose real name was Nedenia Hutton.

Often compared to Grace Kelly. Merrill was most famous in the late ’50s and early ’60s. In 1960 specifically, she could be seen in the movies The Sundowners and BUtterfield 8. (When Merrill appeared on the game show What’s My Line? in August of 1960, one of the panelists remarked: “I must say that Miss Merrill has had more publicity than I think any actress in America in the course of the last year.”)

I think a more precise explanation, though, is “She Has Too Much Money” — an article with an eye-catching title that ran in Parade (the nationally distributed Sunday newspaper magazine) in March of 1959. It primarily focused on Dina’s wealth, but divulged Dina’s full legal name at the time, Nedenia Hutton Rumbough, in the second paragraph.

Nedenia Hutton was born in 1923 to Post Cereals heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and stockbroker Edward Francis Hutton. Her birth name was an elaboration of her father’s nickname, Ned. (Her stage surname, Merrill, was borrowed from another well-known stockbroker: Charles E. Merrill.)

Do you like the name Nedenia?

Sources:

P.S. Through her father’s family, Nedenia was related to Barbara Hutton, mother of Lance Reventlow.

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Nedenia come from?

  1. The family apparently loves the name (or its first bearer) so much that there’s already a Nedenia III.

    Dina’s first daughter, born in 1952, is called Nedenia (Nina) Colgate Rumbough.

    Nina’s daughter is fashion designer Nedenia (Dee) Hutton Craig Edmiston. I’m not sure when she was born: most likely around 1988. Dee Hutton got married three years ago – I wonder what she’d nickname a potential Nedenia IV. Nia? Neddy? Deni?

  2. Thanks for doing that research, Emma!

    We’ll have to keep on the Dee Hutton social media pages to see whether another Nedenia comes along. (I think “Nia” would be a great nickname, personally.)

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