Memorial Day Names: Baby naming in 1868

Memorial Day Names: Baby naming in 1868

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 and first observed on May 30 of that year, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.  So this year, instead of looking back again at the names of Civil War generals and such, I thought it could be more enlightening to look instead at well-known people (with interesting names) who were born in 1868—giving us a bird’s-eye view of some aspects of post-Civil War baby naming, both in America and elsewhere.


ALEEN Cust, first British female veternarian

ALIDA B. Jones, early movie actress

ALMA Kruger, Shakespearean actress, later featured in Dr. Kildare movies

DIXIE Selden, American portrait painter

EDITH Holloway, British Woman’s chess champion

ELEANOR Porter, author of Pollyanna

ELLA Gaunt Smith, innovative doll maker, first to market black dolls in the South

EUGENIE Besserer, silent screen actress, played the mother in The Jazz Singer

EVANGELINE Smith, best known astrologer of her day

FLORA Call Disney, mother of Walt

HENRIETTA Swan Leavitt, American astronomer

HOPE Goddard Iselin, first woman to crew in the America’s Cup yacht race

JANE Avril, French can-can dancer made famous by ToulouseLautrec

JENNINGS Carmichael, Australian poet

KATTI (born Catherine) Møller, Norwegian feminist, children’s right advocate and pioneer of reproductive rights

LOYOLA O’Connor, early film actress

MARTHA Woolstein, first woman member of the American Pediatric Association

MAUD Humphrey, American commercial artist and mother of Bogey

MAUDE Turner Gordon, American stage and screen actress

PHILIPPA Fawcett, English mathematician

RHETA Childe Dorr, author and social worker


ALBERTUS Catlin, naval hero

ALONZO Clark, American politician, governor of Wyoming

AUGUST Horch, founder of Audi

AXEL Hägerström, Swedish philosopher

BAJO Topulli, Albanian freedom fighter

BERNARR Macfadden, early proponent of physical culture and bodybuilding; magazine publisher

BORIS Thomashefsky, one of the biggest stars of the Yiddish theater

CAI Yuanpei, influential Chinese educator

CAMILLO Olivetti, Italian engineer, founder of Olivetti & Co.

COMFORT A. Adams, important experimental engineer

CONSTANTINE I, King of Greece

CUNO Amiet, Swiss artist, a pioneer of modern art in Switzerland

EDGAR Lee Masters, major American poet, author of Spoon River Anthology

EDMOND Rostand, author of Cyrano de Bergerac

ÉDOUARD Vuillard, major French painter and printmaker

EMANUEL Lasker, world chess champion for 27 years

ÉMILE Bernard, noted French Post-Impressionist painter

FELIX Hoffman, German chemist who invented aspirin—and heroin

GASTON Leroux, author of The Phantom of the Opera

HAMISH MacCunn, Scottish romantic composer

HARDEE Kirkland,silent screen actor and director

HARLEY Payne, pro baseball player who pitched for the Brooklyn Bridegrooms

HARRY Alonzo Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid

HARVEY Firestone, rubber tire baron

KORBINIAN Brodmann, important German neurologist

MAGNUS Hirschfeld, German physician and sex researcher and early gay rights activist

MAXIM (born Aleksei) Gorky, Russian author and a founder of socialist realism; political activist

MILES Poindexter, US Senator from Washington

REN Shields, American musician, co-wrote “In the Good Old Summertime.”

RHODY Hathaway, silent film actor

ROMAINE Fielding, early film actor

ROYAL S. Copeland, US Senator from New York

SCOTT Joplin, the “King of Ragtime”

SEWELL Ford, American novelist ad short story writer

SKYROCKET (born Samuel) Smith, Major League first baseman

SNITZ (!!!) Edwards, silent movie character actor

SOLON Borglum, American sculptor who worked on Mount Rushmore

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.