This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Herald newspaper on April 24, 1910, and is here courtesy of our sister site, ClickAmericana.com!
Unusual naming practices
It was announced in a Hoboken, New Jersey newspaper that Mr and Mrs Joseph Caputo had named their baby Hamburg-American Line, because the father was in the employ of that company.
Another newspaper declared that if Hoboken couples carried out the idea of similarly christening their offspring after the peculiar landmarks of the city’s waterfront, it would not be long before a lot of New Jersey babies would be going through life labeled as follows: North German Lloyd Mueller, Hudson Tunnels Schultz, Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse Schiller, This Car for Union Hill Schmidt, Exit Only Donnerblitz, This Way to Trains Brummelvogel, and Hot Free Lunch Today Huber.
Naming the baby is the national game without the umpire. The father and mother are the opposite sides, and all the relatives make up the bleachers. There is no umpire, simply because, after the fight is over, the mother always wins, anyhow. Mrs Caputo stands forth as the only exception. It was chronicled that she had insisted that little Hamburg-American Line Caputo be named Pietro.
Don’t be in a hurry
The danger of naming babies in haste and repenting at leisure cannot be established more clearly than by the case of the family who christened their babe Frederick A Cook Thompson, the day after the world heard that the explorer had discovered the pole. Upon learning subsequently that the man for whom they had named their child was accused of being not all he had been supposed to be, the overzealous parents asked the courts to allow them to re-name the youngster.
Some time ago, an article was printed in western newspapers telling of the way a Lincoln, Nebraska father and mother had compromised in the matter of naming their baby boy. The father had insisted upon William, while the mother had chosen Cyril.
The deadlock was broken when the father agreed that the mother might place six different names in a hat, and that the name drawn out first be bestowed on the child. The six names the mother wrote were Cirll, Ciryl, Syril, Cyrill, Cirill and Cyril. And when the second of these was revealed as the name the boy would have to bear through his mortal years it is superfluous to add that the father compromised on the plainer Cyril.
It would be interesting to learn the reasons they had for naming a Philadelphia baby Stopping Upton not long ago, and a Wilkesbarre girl Central Sinclair. It has been suggested that the father of the former was a streetcar conductor, and the mother of the latter an employee of the local telephone company.
Leaving it to chance?
An odd instance of baby naming came to light last October in Chicago, when after a lengthy period of indetermination, the parents decided to leave the fate of their baby girl’s future name to the display of flowers that would be made on a certain date in a florist’s window near their home.
If they figured on Rose or Violet or Pansy, they were doomed to disappointment; for on the day named the display consisted of rubber plants. Needless to say, the little girl was not named Rubberplant Lewis, although by way of compromise, she was named Greenie.