Saturday, March 1, 2014


In Celebration of Women’s History Month, all the posts in March will have to do with famous historical women.

The name of the most infamous flapper of them all, this is a name that is ready for a comeback.

Zelda (pronounced: ZEL-dah) has one of two meaning. One version is that it is a name of Yiddish origin meaning ‘happy; blessed’ and a feminisation of the Yiddish Zelig while the second version is of Germanic origin, being a shortened form of Griselda meaning ‘dark battle’. The most famous person to be bestowed the name was a flapper and author but in the last decade or so it has been the use of the name in a video game has both helped and hindered the use of this name.

Zelda Fitzgerald was the wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the American Author most famous for his work The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald would write numerous novels and the inspiration for many of his male female characters came from his wife. Despite being locked into a sanatorium, I find Zelda quite talented and a role model. An author herself, she wrote the novel Save Me This Waltz in six weeks. A semi-autobiographical piece, Scott was furious when he read it because a lot of this was the basis for his upcoming work, Tender is the Night. While originally a failure since then she has had a critical reappraisal. She was also a talented artist, has become an icon of the 20th century and a feminist icon.

It was this Zelda that inspired the name of the video game character of Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda. A high fantasy adventure game, Zelda in this is beautiful and while she was designed to be a damsel in distress character, later games have showed her with magical powers and she has fought in battles.

A name frequently used in novels, including Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’,  as well as another pseudonym for Marilyn Monroe, being Zelda Zonks as well as being the aunt of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Zelda has a lot of representation in culture.

The name reached the height of its popularity during the late 1910s, early 1920s but was last seen on the charts in 1967, just sneaking in at #990. That being said with a rise in the popularity of Fitzgerald, his works and the 1920s, Zelda could come back, especially with the 100-year-rule in play. The last five years show a steady increase, though a larger one in 2012:

  • 2008 - 54
  • 2009 - 59
  • 2010 - 69
  • 2011 - 86
  • 2012 - 136

I wouldn’t be surprised that in 2013 there was even more than that thanks to the release of The Great Gatsby film last year as well as three fictional books on the life of Zelda including Z, Beautiful Fools and Call Me Zelda all released in 2013.

With such a rich history, Zelda is ripe for a big comeback and that seems to be the way it is going. I wouldn’t be surprised if it reached the Top 1000 in the next year or two. It is a 1920s gem seemingly following the 100-year-rule.


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