Category: baby name Cecilia
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In the pantheon of Catholic patron saints, we find protectors of counties and cities, of living things ranging from caterpillars to wolves, not to mention those who guard against conditions from compulsive gambling to gout. What I’ve always found especially interesting are those associated with various occupations—in particular the ones relating to the creative arts–and the stories behind those patronages. Like how did a thirteenth century nun get to be the patron saint of TV?
So, if you’re a poet or a potter or a photographer, you just might find some naming inspiration here.
Catherine—Catherine of Bologna is considered the principle patron saint of artists. An Italian cloistered nun, she was a painter herself, in fact one of her surviving works, a 1456 depiction of St. Ursula, now hands in the Galleria Academia in Venice. Catherine of Alexandria protects potters and spinners.
These names could be your middle-aged neighbor or a kid in your child’s class. These names are all familiar. Most are traditional. Most are likable. Most are timeless.
And not one has ever made the top 10 on the Social Security list since 1880.
To me, this seems remarkable.
These names seem like they should have hit the top 10 by now. Take a look at the list and tell me if you agree:
We don’t particularly think of Woody Allen as a cutting-edge filmmaker, but there is one area in which he has been—if unwittingly—prescient, and that is in giving some of his characters names that would later become trendy choices for babies. (Though there are no babies in his films—children hardly exist in Woody’s World.)
For those characters he created for himself, he chose, with a few exceptions, pretty ordinary, sometimes nicknamey names—Alvy, Sandy, Mickey, Lenny, Larry, Jerry, Sid, Gabe, Sheldon, Isaac. But for others, he did come up with some inspired choices:
Alfie—You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, 2010 (Anthony Hopkins). A fittingly British choice for a British character—but it’s doubtful if Woody knew that Alfie was the fourth most popular name for UK baby boys born in 2010.
Some of these babies had names that were typical of their eras, while others were newer and more influential. Some of the newborns were allowed to grow up, while others remained babies, some were merely plot devices that quickly vanished. One of the names was important enough to be featured in the show’s title—Hope on Raising Hope.
Here, in rough reverse chronological order, are some of the most memorable TV baby names:
The spirit of Francis Scott Fitzgerald is alive and well. In the baby name world, Gatsby is one of the new attention-grabbing names on the block. In the world of entertainment, there is the theater piece Gatz, and now there’s eager anticipation for the latest version of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Lurmann and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher,which is scheduled to open at the end of the year. A propitious time, then, to look at the author’s approach to literary names.
Fitzgerald’s novels and stories are populated with people with ordinary names like Nick and Dick, with typical Jazz Age period choices such as Bernice and Rosalind and Marjorie for girls, Chester and Percy for men, and a number of sophisticated Princetonesque surnames. He played with name changes reflecting shifting identities as well—Jay Gatsby having been born James Gatz.