This article is reprinted from a series on names originally published in the year 1921, and appeared in The Beaver Herald in Beaver, Oklahoma, on August 18, 1921. For more stories from the past, check out our ArchiveAmericana.com site.
Facts about your name: Its history, meaning, whence it was derived, significance, your lucky day and lucky jewel.
This name is derived from the same root as Alice, and represents an attempt at greater euphony. The curious part of it is that the name, in its original form, is really not that of a woman at all, but of a man. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Adelgis of which the feminine form was Adelgisa, but was not frequently given to women. Instead it was sacred to the sons of the house, principally among the nobility. The name itself means “noble,” in both its masculine and feminine forms.
The name is purely English, having, however, a slight Teutonic flavor. An argument is put forward by some experts that the name is derived from the Frankish Adalhert or Adelchen, meaning “daughter.” Alix or Alisa in Lombardy was naturalized in England when Alix la Belle married Henry I.
The name, originally masculine, according to the best authorities, however, represents Adelgis and not Adelgisa, making the proper feminine form Aliza. Some believe that Eliza, generally believed to be a derivative of Elizabeth is this missing form. For proof of Aliza as the representative of Adelgisa, the Liber Vitas of Durham records the changes in Adelgisa from the first noble lady of that name, who laid her gifts upon the altar. By contraction, it became Adeliza and Aliza.
The talismanic stone of Alicia is the Alexandrite, a Russian gem. It is found in the emerald mines of that nation, being of a beautiful green shade which changes to columbine red. The Russians believe it brings great good fortune. When the subject of its favorite’s dream, it signifies hope. Monday is Alicia’s lucky day and seven her lucky number. Her flower is the white hawthorne, a beautiful bud.
Photo: A color-changing Alexandrite gemstone — the left photo under incandescent light and right under fluorescent light. Gifted to the Smithsonian by Coralyn Wright Whitney.