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  1. #1

    The Edith Project

    We're expecting our first child in August, and won't know the sex until, at earliest, my 20-week ultrasound in two weeks, so we have plenty of time to find a name for the baby, but...
    I am extremely picky and my partner is maybe even pickier. So far I have only come up with a couple of potential names I don't hate, and my partner has summarily nixed each one. Until I came up with "Edith".

    I love the soothing sound of the initial long "e" and "th" ending, and I love that it is a very old, classic name that is also #730 on the SSA popularity list. Most of all, I love it's association with Edith Piaf, Edie Sedgwick, and Edith Wharton: all mysterious, artistic icons who represented the zeitgeist of their times (albeit eccentric and sometimes tragic).

    I told my partner, and this was the first time he didn't shoot down a name instantly. Then we mentioned it to my mom, and she said "Ewww... No! Edith Bunker!"

    So apparently there was a show on TV decades ago, with a character named Edith Bunker who was a ditzy, frumpy old lady. Neither I nor my partner have ever seen the show or heard the name before (and we're 31 and 32, not kids) but it seems it was very popular, and after my mom made that comment, two people in my yoga class agreed. I admit when the name Edith first occured to me, I had to shake a vague feeling of "fustiness", or that it is an "old-lady" name, but once I got to thinking about it, I really fell in love.

    Here's where I would really appreciate some help:

    First, how hard is it to shake a name association, especially when the person bearing the name is the opposite of the association? For example, I hardly think "Aunt Selma" when I see the pretty young actress Selma Blair. Why do people think Edith Bunker instead of Edith Piaf, and will they do so when the name comes attached to a pretty toddler? Is there a way I can change the association for people we know?

    Secondly, while my partner and I both love the nickname "Edie" he's less enthusiastic about "Edith" than I am. Is there a similar name with the nickname "Edie"?

    Finally, I secretly worry that "Edith" won't be such a best-kept secret for long. Its nameberry page said it's already becoming stylish in London, although not here yet. With the films "Factory Girl" and "La Vie En Rose", I worry that in the next few years it could get noticed by the avant garde, only to become the next "Emma", "Olivia", or "Stella". Anyone else see this happening?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: The Edith Project

    I love Edith, totally, so I'm on your side. Do I think it's going to become more popular? Yes, in the way that most old-lady names are experiencing a revival. But I would be really surprised if there were more than one Edith in her class. I'm aware of Edith Bunker but to me the name is all Edith Wharton. It's not so much Edith Piaf for me because I'm an auditory person and that's a completely different name for me. (Ay-DEET) But I think it's gorgeous, and on a sweet little girl it's going to be fresh, feminine and lovely.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: The Edith Project

    It sounds like you and your partner have come across a name you love, and for so many wonderful reasons. Yours is the only opinion that truly matters (unless, of course, you agree with something you hear, in terms of a given name being a source of teasing, for example), so while you may hear different opinions, you need to be true to yourself. :-)

    I'm actually your age, but I'm one of those people who associates Edith with All In The Family's ditzy, frumpy Edith. It aired in syndication when I was growing up, and can presently be seen on TV Land.

    Had I not seen the show, and if my Edith associations weren't already formed, I do think I'd like Edith, which just goes to show you how lovely names can be ruined by not-so-lovely associations.

    Take, for example, Hope. It's a beautiful name, but because I knew someone with the name who was a total shrew, I associate Hope with her, and I can't use it. She ruined Hope for me, but I love it on other people's kids.

    Had I known a beautiful, elegant woman named Edith when I was growing up, or if I'd had a wonderful friend with the name, Edith would be an entirely different name for me. Different people have different associations with different names due to differing life experiences. We're all exposed to different people, events, and situations, and it's these experiences that shape us and form our associations and opinions.

    With regard to revived classic and antique names, many that seem fresh to us (Beatrice, Maude, Ezra, Nathaniel, Cora, Genevieve, etc.) likely seem very musty to our parents, who associate them with older relatives.

    If you have positive associations with Edith, that's all that matters!

    As to how to change your mother's association with Edith, name your baby girl Edith, and your daughter will be her new Edith, replacing Mrs. Bunker. In the meantime, you could always show your mom a photo of a little Edith, letting her develop a new association. I think it's safe to say, however, that while some people's minds will be swayed and form new impressions upon meeting a little Edith, others will cling to the Edith Bunker association. I, for one, could definitely be swayed after meeting a little Edith, if that helps you feel better. :-)

    You just need to decide how much you care about what other people think about the name versus your what YOU think about it.

    Names other than Edith that could result in a little Edie include: Eden, Edna (no!), and Edwina, and I'm sure other people can think of more! Also, you could give your daughter E.D. initials, and call her Edie.

    For example, Esme Delphine, Eliza Daisy, Eleanora Daphne, Evangeline Daisy, Evelyn Diana, Ellery Diana, Elodie Delphine (although that's pretty D heavy), etc.

    In case you still have Edith doubts:

    Best wishes!

  4. #4

    Re: The Edith Project

    Thanks so much, both of you, for your thoughts!

    Melissa, when you mentioned that you think of the French pronunciation of "Edith" as a completely separate name, because you are very auditory, that made me smile:
    I had hoped to use "AY-deet" as my own little personal pet name. I used to have this boss Robert who had a major flair for the dramatic, and I quickly became his favorite employee by calling him by his French pronunciation, "hro-BARE". ;)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    OC, Califonia

    Re: The Edith Project

    i agree with pretty much everything Jill said... EXCEPT, I LOVE Edith Bunker! I'm 23, but I watched a lot of Nick at Nite as a kid. I thought Edith Bunker was the funniest, sweetest lady!

    i also associate it with Edith Piaf, which is a great association. Plus, I went to high school with an Edith nn Edie, so I think that takes away some of the old-lady vibe for me.

    personally, I think Edith is great. It would be completely adorable on a little girl, and your mother will most definitely love it if you name your daughter that!

    I would definitely not be worried about it getting too popular. It probably will gain in popularity, but it's unlikely Edith will be the next Emily. I don't see it appealing to the masses. At least not very soon.
    Proud mama to two sweet boys:

    Dashiell David Rowe
    Flynn William Warfield

    "Real babies are more difficult than ideas of babies... Or even pictures of babies."
    -James Franco

  6. #6
    lola Guest

    Re: The Edith Project

    I have to speak up briefly. Edith is on my list for another daughter, I think she's in 5th place atm. I am 41 and grew up with All in the Family primetime. Still doesn't bother me. She may have been ditsy and brash of voice but she was a sweet dingbat (to quote Archie) it was a character, for goodness sake! Jean Stapleton was a lovely lady! If you want to see her at her just about best, go rent the 1958 version of "Damn Yankees" She's Sister Miller.

    Another point, if Archie can make a comback, why not Edith?

    I agree that the best way for a parent to get over the "Old" factor is to use it. My Father was around when my boys were little and he quickly got past the "old man" feel of Leo & Simon when they were right in front of him, all the time (for 5 years he was their primary male figure).

    I don't think Edith is going to catch on that badly, not like Ava or Sophia anyway, she's not soft and round enough. She may get a boost up but by no means is she headed for top 10 anytime soon. I've found mid 200's ranking, even are rare enough that yours feels like the only one. (I have a Josephine and she's always the only one around under 70 with her name around here!)

    So rest easy, Edith is a fantastic choice!

  7. #7

    Re: The Edith Project

    I've met a few "kids" my age (early 20s) with "old" names...Vince, Nell, Cora, and even Lincoln. After getting to know them, the past connotations of the name drift away and the new image of the name gets imprinted into my mind. I think also it's really cute to see a young child with an "old" but classic name (like Edith).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: The Edith Project

    Edith is a fantastic name, you and your husband love it, you even have a sweet personal nickname picked outI think you've found your girl name! I too was aware of Edith Bunker, but she's not the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Edith. I love girl names that are both feminine and strong and Edith fits the bill. And the nn Edie is wonderful.

    As far as Edith becoming popular, I agree with other posters that I don't see it becoming a Top 10 (or even 20) name by any means. I actually think that if some people don't like the name you've chosen, that's a good thing as far predicting its future popularity. I'm a 32-year-old Olivia and believe me, around the time I left for college, every woman of child-bearing age that I met seemed to be smitten with my name. If everyone you meet loves the name you've chosen, you can bet there will be a lot more of them.

    So, another vote for lovely Edith!
    :: o l i v e ::

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Re: The Edith Project

    I completely agree with pretty much everything said. Edith is adorable, but hubby vetoed it way back when naming our eldest, so I can't use her!

    I have absolutely no idea who Edith Bunker is?! I've never ever heard of her (would she be heard of in Australia? maybe I just live under a rock?), and my biggest associations with her are identical to yours - Edie Sedgwick, Edith Wharton and Edith Piaf (all of whom I love, btw and are fantastic namesakes for a little girl!)

    The only other name I can think of associated with Edie is Eden, as previously mentioned. She's a little lacklustre, and has just cracked the Top 100 in my state, so I'd definitely go with Edith! You and your partner have found a name that enchants you both - congrats!! :)

  10. #10
    lola Guest

    Re: The Edith Project

    Sophie, I don't think "All in the Family" aired in Australia. It aired 1971 to 1980 here. (I was 4 when it started, 13 when it ended. So it's a HUGE part of my childhood, but it's still not my overwhelming first thought!

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