Category: baby name Cora
By Abby Sandel
Let’s talk literary baby names.
Noah Wyle’s new daughter has a Mockingbird middle. Her first is associated with a beloved children’s author, too, whose most famous works date to the early twentieth century, as well as with the heroine of J.D. Salinger’s famous story Franny and Zooey.
It happens all the time.
You’re expecting your first – or second, or third – and the perfect name eludes you. There are lots of possibilities and maybes, but none of them are The Name.
And then along comes a movie, a television show, a celebrity, a song, and that’s it. That’s the name.
The numbers tell us that pop culture is a major influence in baby naming. And yet we resist the idea. A name from a Jane Austen novel? Classic, sophisticated. From a soap opera or a Disney Channel series? Sometimes we’re a little dismissive of those choices.
But here’s the thing about names: we can’t consider them until we are aware that they exist.
This week’s names all come from movies and television, books and blogs. You may have heard them before, but seeing them on the screen could make the names feel fresh, interesting, and just right for a daughter.
As the race towards the Oscars heats up, Abby Sandel of Appellation Mountain offers her annual analysis of possible award-winning baby names–the most interesting names attached to nominees and the characters they play.
Award season is in full swing, with the Golden Globes last month and the Oscars coming up soon.
A glance at any kindergarten roster demonstrates Hollywood’s impact on baby names. Audrey, Ava, Olivia, and Natalie all belonged to screen legends long before they were among the most popular choices for our daughters. Surname choices like Harlow, Monroe, Gable, and even Chaplin have been heard.
At last, at last, the third season of Downton Abbey has finally launched, a further opportunity for those of us who love vintage British names to spend time with the Crawley clan et al. We’re now lucky enough to have had two recent TV period imports with great examples of character names, both for the aristos upstairs and the servants below. The time frame of both Downton Abbey and the recently updated Upstairs, Downstairs is the early decades of the twentieth century: Downton now picks up in 1920; the second series of Upstairs in 1936, six years after the initial one ended.
And if there seems to be a preponderance of girls’ names, it’s because so many of the male characters, both upstairs and down, have such common names as Thomas, Robert, Matthew, William, Joseph and John.
Here are some of the most interesting names in both series; and it’s worthy of note that the British TV names that are being revived today come equally from both social strata, as in, for example, Isobel and Ivy, Edith and Elsie.