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Bertha

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Gender: F Meaning of Bertha: "bright, glorious" Origin of Bertha: German

Ever since the enormous German cannon was dubbed by Allied soldiers "Big Bertha" in World War I, this name hasn't worked for a sweet little baby girl. But this was not always so. Hard as it might be to imagine now, Bertha was a Top 100 name until the 1930s, and in the 1880s was the seventh most popular name in the land--the equal of Joseph.

Bertha, aka Berchta, was a Teurtonic goddess borrowed from Norse mythology, regarded in her earliest incarnations as a beautiful and benevolent spirit. Bertha is an ancient Germanic name attached to the 6th century Saint Bertha of Kent, who was instrumental in the spread of Christianity, and it was the name of both the mother and daughter of Charlemagne.

In literature, Bertha Mason is the first wife of Rochester in Jane Eyre, and a character in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. The French version Berthe is represented by the French Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. All in all, though, modern parents might do better to consider the Polish version, Berta.

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Famous People Named Bertha

Saint Bertha of Val d'Or, abbess of Avenay
Saint Bertha of Kent, Anglo-Saxon queen
Bertha Felicitas Sophie Freifrau von Suttner, Austrian novelist; first woman Nobel Peace Prize winner
Bertha of Savoy, Holy Roman Empress; wife of Henry IV
Bertha of Holland, Queen consort of Philip I of the Franks
Bertha of Sulzbach, Empress consort of Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus
Bertha of Swabia, Queen consort of Rudolph II of Burgundy
Bertha Wrenham Wilson, first woman Puisne Justice of the Canadian Supreme Court
Bertha Benz, wife of German automaker Karl Benz; first person to drive a car long distance
Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Albach, German businesswoman
Bertha Southey Brammall, Australian novelist
Bertha Brainard, American TV executive
Bertha "Chippie" Hill, American blues singer
Bertha Kalich (born Beylke Kalakh), Ukrainian-American Yiddish actress
Bertha Knight Landes, first woman mayor of a major U.S. city (Seattle)
Bertha Amy Lewis, English operatic contralto
Bertha Mahony, American founder of The Horn Book review
Bertha Matilde Honoré Palmer, American businesswoman and socialite
Bertha Pappenheim aka Anna O., Austrian feminist and Freud patient
Bertha Lee Pate, American blues singer
Bertha Runkle, American novelist
Bertha Louise Townsend Toulmin, American tennis player

Pop Culture References for the Name Bertha

Bertha Mason, Edward Rochester's wife in "Jane Eyre"
Bertha Dorset, character in Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth"
Bertha Jorkins, character in the Harry Potter series

Bertha's International Variations

Berthe, Bertille (French) Bertina, Berrty, Berrta, Berti, Berrti, Bertilde, Bettina (German) Berte (Norwegian) Berta (Polish) Birdie, Bertie, Berit, Bird, Birta (Swedish)