How popular is the baby name Lenore in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Lenore.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Lenore


Posts that Mention the Name Lenore

Famous Female Names from 1916

Over at The Public Domain Review, I found a collection of 51 novelty playing cards — several incomplete decks, mixed together — from 1916 that feature the images and names of popular movie actresses from that era.

Below are all the first names from those cards, plus where those names happened to rank in the 1916 baby name data. (Two-thirds of them were in the top 100, and over 95% fell inside the top 1,000.)

  • Anita (ranked 151st in 1916)
  • Anna (7th)
  • Beatriz (1,281st)
  • Bessie (56th)
  • Blanche (89th)
  • Clara (39th)
  • Cleo (180th)
  • Constance (213th)
  • Dolores (146th)
  • Dorothy (3rd)
  • Edith (28th)
  • Ella (81st)
  • Ethel (25th)
  • Fannie (116th)
  • Florence (14th)
  • Geraldine (94th)
  • Gertrude (35th)
  • Grace (26th)
  • Helen (2nd)
  • Julia (46th)
  • June (86th)
  • Kate (346th)
  • Kathlyn (731st)
  • Lenore (340th)
  • Lillian (16th)
  • Louise (18th)
  • Mabel (65th)
  • Marguerite (78th)
  • Mary (1st)
  • May (190th)
  • Mildred (6th)
  • Myrtle (58th)
  • Nellie (61st)
  • Norma (111th)
  • Olive (132nd)
  • Ormi (4,982nd)
  • Pauline (33rd)
  • Pearl (57th)
  • Ruth (5th)
  • Viola (59th)
  • Violet (83rd)
  • Vivian (77th)
  • Wanda (138th)

Which of the names above do you like best?

Source: Moriarty Playing Cards (1916) – The Public Domain Review

Where did the baby name Wetona come from?

heart of wetona, norma talmadge, silent film, 1919

Here’s a curious one: Wetona. The name started appearing in the baby name data during the second half of the 1910s:

  • 1922: 10 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1921: 6 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1920: 12 baby girls named Wetona [peak]
  • 1919: 9 baby girls named Wetona
  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: unlisted
  • 1916: 5 baby girls named Wetona [debut]
  • 1915: unlisted

The SSA data from that far back isn’t terribly reliable, though, so here’s SSDI data for the same time period:

  • 1922: 6 Wetonas
  • 1921: 4 Wetonas
  • 1920: 9 Wetonas and 1 Wetonah
  • 1919: 10 Wetonas, 1 Wetonah, and 1 person with the middle name Wetona
  • 1918: 1 Wetona
  • 1917: 1 Wetona
  • 1916: 1 Wetona and 1 Wetonah
  • 1915: none

What put Wetona (and Wetonah) on the map in 1916? The play The Heart of Wetona, which was written by George Scarborough and performed on Broadway from February to May, 1916. It starred actress Lenore Ulric as the “Indian princess” Wetona.

How did Scarborough come up with the name Wetona? I’m not sure that he did. “The play was originally called Oklahoma and focused on problems of religious leaders in the new state.” It was then rewritten by theatrical producer/playwright David Belasco, who “changed some of the characters to Indians and the locale to a reservation.”

A few years later, in 1919, two things happened. First, the play was turned into a silent film starring Norma Talmadge. Second, the song “Heart of Wetona” — which was “inspired by and dedicated to Norma Talmadge” — was published. These two things together account for the increased usage of the name Wetona that year.

Do you like the name Wetona? Do you think it’s usable nowadays?

Sources:

Name Quotes #50: Rocket, Lenore, Heloise

Clueless character Cher on the similarity between her name and that of her best friend Dionne:

We were both named after great singers of the past who now do infomercials.

(Dionne’s name comes from Dionne Warwick.)

From a 2007 interview in People with film director Robert Rodriguez (whose kids are named Rocket, Racer, Rebel, Rogue, and Rhiannon):

Asked about his children’s unusual names, Robert attributes them to side effects he sustained from his college years when he subjected himself to medical tests to make extra money.

“Rocket is the first one. And once you name your first kid Rocket, you can’t name your next kid Marty. Racer, Rebel, Rogue…I’m just gonna blame this on the medical experiments. But they do have regular middle names in case they don’t want to start their own wrestling team.”

(An Australian celebrity named Lara Bingle has two sons named Rocket and Racer…perhaps in homage to Robert Rodriguez?)

From Incomplete birth certificates create a bureaucratic morass by Andrew Ryan in the Boston Globe:

A generation ago — when more families had six or more children — babies without official first names were surprisingly common. Overwhelmed new parents would leave the hospital without completing birth certificate paperwork.

But what once seemed like a quaint oddity becomes a serious inconvenience in a world of identity theft and terrorism. Today, governments demand birth certificates.

As more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, vital statistics offices — including at Boston City Hall — continue to receive a trickle of people whose birth certificates carry no first name. Boston officials estimated that in the 1950s, roughly 1 of every 25 birth certificates lacked a first name.

From the 1970 obituary of actress Lenore Ulric in the New York Times:

Born in the little town of New Ulm, Minn., in 1892, the daughter of Franz Xavier Ulrich, an Army hospital steward, Miss Ulric (she dropped the H from her last name) used to say that she was predestined for the stage. Her father gave her the name of Lenore because of his fondness for Poe’s poem, “The Raven,” and her childhood was devoted to theatrical yearnings.

(She played Wetona on stage in 1916.)

Name expert Kunio Makino, as quoted in What to call baby? by Tomoko Otake in The Japan Times:

“I think people who come up with bizarre names for their children tend to feel that they couldn’t live the life they wanted to, and they feel that they have been hindered by many rules and restrictions. The only freedom they have at their disposal, they think, is the right to name their child.”

From Hi, My Name Is Héloïse by Héloïse Chung (formerly Kathy Bryant):

I leaned toward names made of calm, feminine sounds that never sounded like someone was yelling at you. The harsh K in Kathy conjured up my mother’s words for me: kigibe, keoji, shikkeuro. Korean for girl, beggar, and shut up. But I still wasn’t ready. I switched from Kathy to “Kate,” which felt like a small step, but not one nearly big enough.

[…]

Once the universe gave me the OK, a little space seemed to open up for the name to find me. And so it was that Héloïse fluttered into my head one day, devastatingly perfect. I’m not sure exactly where it came from. Perhaps some derivation of Luisita (a friend) or Elio (a boy I used to babysit). I guess I have a thing for L names. I honed it, trying it with and without the H and with and without the diacritics. I didn’t want them to be an affectation. Is it gauche to use French spelling if you don’t even speak French? Eff it, I went with the French.

From Why and how Ontarians change their names in the 21st century by Eric Andrew-Gee in The Globe and Mail:

Some change their names by truncation, some by hyphenation, others by amalgamation, others by invention. Some changes are banal, done for everyday reasons – a divorce, a marriage, a mistransliteration (an imprecise conversion from one alphabet to another) – while others are poignant, playful, even poetic.

When I asked people about their choice while reporting this story, virtually no one was glib. Many would go on and on, grateful to talk about a decision that cuts to the marrow of who they are. Others became tearful and, in some cases, shuddered audibly at the sound of their birth names. Some even declined to discuss the subject.

Five-Name Friday: Girl Name for Wilbur’s Sister

five name friday, girl names

The new year is almost here! You’re at the liquor store stocking up on some extra champagne for the small get-together you’ll be hosting tomorrow night. (Your friends will be very impressed by your wreath!)

As you shop, you chat with a friendly lady who says she wishes she could do the champagne toast this year, but she can’t because she’s pregnant. You congratulate her, and as you gather up the last of the bottles, she mentions the type of baby name she’s searching for:

Wilbur’s little sister needs an uncommon name with history. Names that we love but can’t use are Sylvie, Lenore and Albertine.

“Do you have any suggestions?”

You’re a name-lover, and you could potentially give her dozens of suggestions. But these bottles are getting heavy, so you only have time to give her five baby name suggestions before you lumber over to the register.

But here’s the fun part: Instead of blurting out the first five names you come up with (which is what you’d be forced to do in real life) you get to press a magical “pause” button, brainstorm for a bit, and then “unpause” the scenario to offer her the best five names you can think of.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you brainstorm:

  • Be independent. Decide on your five names before looking at anyone else’s five names.
  • Be sincere. Would you honestly suggest these particular baby names out loud to a stranger in the store?
  • Five names only! All names beyond the first five in your comment will be either deleted or replaced with nonsense words.

Finally, here’s the request again:

Wilbur’s little sister needs an uncommon name with history. Names that we love but can’t use are Sylvie, Lenore and Albertine.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

Round-up of multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.

Twins:

  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”

Triplets:

  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.

Quadruplets:

  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”

Quintuplets:

  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.