Sadie, Hattie, Winnie, Frankie, and … this name?
Thanks to Leslie for suggesting Maxie as our Baby Name of the Day.
It’s almost crazy that we haven’t met more girls answering to Maxie. Besides her vintage, Sadie’s-sister style, parents have gone mad for Max names over the past decade or so, with Maxwell, Max, and Maximus in the the US Top 200. Plus, nearly any name with an ‘x’ feels stylish and fresh.
Except that it is easy to understand why Maxie is so rare.
Add the word ‘pad’ to this swingy, retro name, and all of a sudden she’s not a vibrant flapper choice, but a feminine hygiene product.
Back in the 1920s, Maxine was a Top 100 name. Masculine Maxes were popular, too, so that’s no surprise – including plenty of men called Maxie.
Maximiliana, Maximiliane, and the French Maximilienne were all around long before Maxine. She’s a relative newcomer. The first Maxine I can find was born in the nineteenth century – and she’s actually an actress, born Jessie.
Madame Olympe Maxime is a giantess from the Harry Potter series, the head of the French answer to Hogwarts, Beauxbatons. It’s a strong association, one that might make Maxime a feminine possibility, too – at least in the US. In French, Maxime is solidly male.
Back to Maxie.
Maxie charted as an independent name, for boys and girls, with Maxie charting in the girls’ US Top 1000 from the 1880s into the 1940s, Maxine’s heyday. It seems safe to assume that lots of those Maxines answered to Maxie, too.
Maxine’s early twentieth century popularity made her a natural old lady name when Hallmark introduced her on their line of greeting cards in 1986. Thirty-plus years later, their crabby Maxine is still going strong.
Other famous Maxines:
- Along with Patty and Laverne, this was the name of one of the Andrews Sisters, those famous voices behind “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”
- Jazz singer Marietta Sullivan changed her name to Maxine!
- English actress Maxine Audley graduated from stage to screen.
- Then there’s celebrated Chinese American author Maxine Hong Kingston.
In more recent years, characters on Judging Amy, Coronation Street, and True Blood have all worn the name. I though that Jessica Alba’s character on Dark Angel was another – but she seems to be called Max exclusively.
There’s the maxi dress, a term used since the 1960s.
Musician Nick Hexum has daughters named Echo and Maxine, suggesting that she might read hipsterish. But that’s Maxine.
How about Maxie?
Magician-comedian Penn Jillette was just one letter away when he named his daughter Moxie Crimefighter. Crimefighter is a bananas middle name, but Moxie is exactly what Maxie has – character, determination, nerve, spunk.
It’s the kind of name that you want to root for, even if you know it will almost always be put aside in favor of a less-problematic appellation.
What do you think of Maxie? Would you ever consider Maxine, Maximilienne, or any of the forms – with or without Maxie as a nickname? Or is this one lost to the personal care products aisle forever?