Thanks to Katie for suggesting one she’s considering for her baby-on-the-way. Our Baby Name of the Day is Adeline.
The -ine ending is used to create feminine forms, diminutives, or both. Think of Caroline and Josephine. Adeline is simply a French nickname form of Adele that has long since stood on her own.
It was a Top 200 choice for girls in the US from the 1880s into the 1920s.
Back in 1903, when the name was at its peak, Richard H. Gerard penned the lyrics to a Harry Armstrong tune, and it became known as “Sweet Adeline.” But get this – the original refrain was “You’re the flower of my heart, Sweet Rosalie.”
The new name might have been inspired by opera legend Adelina Patti. The acclaimed Spanish-born soprano was on a farewell tour of the US in 1903.
What’s certain is that the song quickly became a staple for barbershop quartets. In 1945, Sweet Adelines International was formed, a society to promote women’s a cappella singing.
The Marx Brothers have covered it. So has Phish.
NPR did a story on the 100th anniversary of the song.
There are lots of great girls’ names used in songs, but few as enduring.
Adeline: Cousins Galore
There are plenty of distinguished women by the name, including:
- Addie Ballou, born Adeline in 1838, and a leading suffragette of her day.
- It was the given name of Addie Kerrar, who played for the Rockville Peaches in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The Peaches were immortalized in 1992’s fictionalized account in A League of Their Own.
- The scandalous Victorian-era Countess of Cardigan was an Adeline. She was briefly engaged to a Spanish prince before the much older Earl of Cardigan left his wife for her. Later in life, the dowager Countess wrote a tell-all memoir titled My Recollections.
- It was the given name of several writers, including one who preferred to use her middle – Virginia Woolf.
Adeline: Let Me Spell It For You …
After more than four decades of neglect, Adeline re-entered the US Top 1000 in 1999. By 2006, the name had cracked the Top 500. And Adeline charted at #232 and climbing in 2013.
Ada is also on the upswing, thanks in part to the popularity of Top Ten favorite Ava.
All of the Addie names are following the Maddies up the charts. And just as there are multiple spellings of Madeline and Madison in the US Top 1000, there are plenty of variations of Adeline, too.
As of 2013, the following spellings ranked in the US Top 1000:
- Adalynn, #173
- Adalyn, #177
- Adelyn, #212
- Adeline, #232
- Adelynn, #367
- Addilyn, #636
Other possibilities abound.
None of this detracts from Adeline’s sweet, vintage appeal. But it does mean that this name might feel much more popular than the numbers initially suggest.
Vintage, spirited, and with a story to tell and a song to sing, no wonder parents have fallen hard for Adeline in recent years. But be prepared to meet other girls by the same name – though not necessarily the same spelling!
What do you think of Adeline? Do you have a favorite spelling?