40+ Neglected Namesake Names–Girls Edition
By Linda Rosenkrantz
If you scan the annals of distinguished women in American history, culture and science, you’ll find that a surprising number of them had distinctive names as well, names that could provide unique-ish choices with interesting back-stories. Several of them have a funky, fusty period flavor that may or may not appeal. What do you think?
Abba Goold Woolson– a turn-of-the-last century teacher-author, remembered for her liberating efforts against ‘the physical discomfort and disease caused by corsets and other constricting forms of dress.’
Albion Fellows Bacon (named for her father)— a housing reformer who pushed laws to regulate housing sanitation of tenements.
Alta Weiss was a double threat—a pitcher with a men’s semi-pro baseball team who went on to become a doctor.
Alzina Stevens–an Ohio labor leader, journalist and settlement worker who lobbied for child labor laws.
Asta Nielsen– a Danish silent film actress who was one of the most popular leading ladies of the 1910s and one of the first international movie stars. She named her only child Jesta.
Bessica Raiche—In addition to being a physician, dentist, musician and businesswoman, Bessica Medlar Raich was the first woman in the U.S. credited with flying solo in an airplane.
Cathay Williams was a freed slave who, determined to fight with the Union army in the Civil War, pretended to be a man, enlisted as William Cathay, becoming the first African- American female soldier.
Clarina Nichols—a nineteenth century newspaper editor and woman’s rights leader.
Clemence Haned Lozier—a nineteenth century physician instrumental in establishing an early medical school for women and an ardent suffragist.
Florine Stettheimer was a between-the-two-World Wars painter whose work was shown at MOMA, and was with her two sisters at the center of a cultural salon that attracted such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe and Sherwood Anderson.
Louisine Havemeyer—suffragist, philanthropist and art collector who was introduced to the then- avant garde Impressionism by Mary Cassatt.
Marilla Ricker was a lawyer/suffragist who espoused the causes of free thought, birth control, political equality, and, especially, prison reform.
Marvel Crosson was a pioneer ‘aviatrix’; in 1929 she set a new altitude record for women.
Oveta Culp Hobby was the first director of the WACs and the first woman to serve as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in a presidential cabinet.
Sybilla Masters– an eighteenth century inventor whose creations included a device for grinding maize into corn meal—she was possibly the first female American inventor.
Tenley Albright — the first American woman to win the Women’s World Figure Skating Championship and an Olympic gold medal.
Zelia Nuttall was an archaeologist and scholar of Mexican history.
Any names here that appeal?
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on November 14th, 2013 at 7:09 am
Love this list ladies!!
Lovely names: Asta, Clementina, Fidelia, Metta (would be such a cute nn!), Zelia, and Zora.
Tenley would totally fit in with all of today’s trendy Kaylees and McKenzies, etc…
I love these historical/namesake lists. More please!
on November 14th, 2013 at 8:51 am
Love this list! Zora is a family name and will be the name of a future DD, however Vivia really caught my eye!
on November 14th, 2013 at 9:28 am
Lovely read, these women are so awe-inspiring!
On the name front I adore…
on November 14th, 2013 at 10:40 am
I love Vivia. It reminds me of Lydia, but more vivacious and vibrant!
I have a thing for V names.
on November 14th, 2013 at 10:54 am
I’m happy to see Marvel here, it’s one of my all time favourites.
Also Vivia is beautiful name.
on November 14th, 2013 at 11:25 am
Sorry but there is a reason why most of these are neglected…because they are terrible.
on November 14th, 2013 at 11:59 am
Zora(h) is on our list.
on November 14th, 2013 at 1:53 pm
I like Alta, Zora, and Marvel
on November 14th, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Wow, what stories!! For the most part, I’m enjoying the history more so than the names 🙂
I’m especially intrigued by Cathay Williams enlisting as a man in the Union army as William Cathay. Talk about the IMPORTANCE of a name!!
And then Leontyne Price – a 42 min ovation?!?! that’s crazy. And along those same lines – Adelina Patti, could sing some of the most difficult opera arias by the age of four?!?! Also crazy! Clementina Rind took over the family business after her husband’s death… that’s impressive in itself, but the most impressive fact? it was in 1773! she must have been brave, going where no woman had gone before!! And after watching the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson, I can really appreciate Effa Manley’s story: the owner and manager of the Newark Eagles baseball team, the Queen of the Negro Leagues. I prefer Effie over Effa though.
Albion is nothing more than a place to me – a tiny little town in PA; I’m surprised it was the name of a woman (named for her father or not!). I sure hope they called her Albie! (Albie is also the nn of my Guilty Pleasure, Alberta… wonder if Albion comes from the same root?)
My niece’s middle name is Alta, the namesake of a great grandmother on the other side of the family.
As a Clarice lover, Clarina isn’t at all bad! From the list I also like: Louisine, Marilla, Sybilla, Varina, and Zilpha. Zilpha reminds me of Biblical name Zilpah, one of Jacob’s concubines.
on November 14th, 2013 at 3:52 pm
I like Adelina, Adela, Varina, Vivia, Zelia, and Zora.My favorite is Adelina.
author in writing Said
on November 14th, 2013 at 6:37 pm
so excited to see a Zilpha!
on November 14th, 2013 at 6:59 pm
Love Adelina! I know a girl named that it’s so pretty. I also like Zelia, Abba and Zora.
on November 14th, 2013 at 8:32 pm
I love the name Marvel.
I wish it wasn’t so associated with the comics 🙁
on November 15th, 2013 at 1:58 am
I’m especially intrigued by Vivia!
on November 16th, 2013 at 11:13 am
I love the sounds of Adelina and Clarina. Adelina I’ve herd before, but never really considered.
on November 16th, 2013 at 1:41 pm
I love Zora, and consider it a nice and more historical alternative to Zara, which I like, but not as much. I hardly ever see Zora around NB, so this is good!
Am also liking Clarina, and Marvel has the potential to become another guilty pleasure of mine 😉
on November 16th, 2013 at 10:37 pm
My mother’s name is on this list! I can’t wait to tell her about Clarina Nichols …
on November 18th, 2013 at 9:23 pm
Adelina and Sibilla Masters classy, smart, accomplished names.
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