Where did the baby name Nedenia come from in 1960?

Actress Dina Merrill on the cover of LIFE magazine (Jan. 1960)
Dina Merrill

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?

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


Image: Clipping from the cover of Life magazine (11 Jan. 1960)

6 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Nedenia come from in 1960?

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

  3. I really like the name Nedenia and I loved the beautiful and so elegant Dina Merrill. I had an Aunt Nea and her full name was Lenita. I am thinking Dina’s mother Marjorie made it up but the Ned prefix is probably for her father Edward because Ned is a nickname of Edward. Anyway it is a one of a kind name and very elegant like the lovely socialite and actress who had it first. I am glad to here Dina’s daughter Nina passed it on to her daughter and hopefully beyond.

  4. I really like the name as well, Betsey.

    I just checked the social media pages for the Dee Hutton fashion brand — they haven’t been updated in years, so I guess the brand is no more.

    But I did spot a blog post that suggested that the third Nedenia (the fashion designer) actually goes by Denia as opposed to Dee.

  5. A Nedenia Dye born around 1967 and great granddaughter of Marjorie Meriwether post was murdered in Honduras around 2014. She had opened a spa and had been living there for about 15 years. She was active in helping out children.

  6. Oh that’s a sad story. But thank you for mentioning her, Chrys — I didn’t know the name was being used in other branches of the family.

    It looks like Nedenia Dye’s mother was Marjorie Merriweather Durant (b. 1928), whose mother was Adelaide Breevort Close (b. 1908) — the first of three daughters born to Marjorie Merriweather Post.

    So Dina Merrill would have been Nedenia Dye’s great-aunt. (Even though Dina was much closer in age to Dye’s mother than to her grandmother.)

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