The name of our first First Lady still has something of a prim and proper image, academic and efficient. That quiet traditional and tasteful gestalt is exactly what makes Martha appealing to some parents today.
The New Testament Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary of Bethany, was a solicitous housekeeper who looked after the material welfare of Jesus when he was a guest in her home. For this reason Martha has since been identified with domestic labor and hospitality and is the patron saint of housewives, waiters and cooks (a la Martha Stewart, who shares her name with her mother).
Martha has been a royal name in Scandinavia, the subject of a Beatles song, Martha My Dear, and is also associated with the New England island, Martha's Vineyard. Livelier foreign forms that have been used in this country are Marta, Martine and Martina.
Modern dancer/choreographer Martha Graham would make a notable namesake for a dance aficionado.