Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Orphan Annie Names

I watched Annie with my kids the other day and couldn't help but sing along. ;) I also couldn't help but wonder if the orphans' names were their given names or just nicknames.

Annie is 10 years old in the movie and it's said to be the year 1932. Assuming all of these girls were born in or around 1922, let's look at the likelihood that they were named what they are called...

Annie - Annie was given to 7,472 girls in 1922 (0.5991%), ranked at #30. It's the most popular name out of the seven orphan girls. Was she born Annie though? Or was the fake birth certificate (in the 1982 movie) correct in saying she was born Ann Marie? The name Ann was actually less popular at the time, given to 5,054 girls in 1922 (0.4051%) and ranked at #49. She was always just called Annie in the original "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip, as far as I can tell.

Molly - Next is Molly, which is a possible nickname for the juggernaut Mary. However, it was a given name to 278 girls in 1922 (0.0222%), and ranked at #395. The Mollie spelling was more popular in the 1920s, given to 532 girls in 1922 (0.0426%) and ranked at #284.

Tessie - Tessie comes in third and was given to 251 girls in 1922 (0.0201%), ranked at #417. It is a nickname for Theresa, which was a Top 100 name in the later 1920s.

Kate - Surprisingly, Kate was less popular than Tessie, probably because it didn't have the popular-at-the-time -ie ending. It was given to 234 girls in 1922 (0.0188%), ranked at #444, while Katie was ranked at #194 with 1,051 girls given the name (0.0843%).

Pepper - Pepper does not have any recorded uses in 1922. In fact, there were no recorded uses of Pepper until 1937, and those were given to boys. The first girls were recorded as given the name in 1947. Keep in mind that all this means is that there weren't at least 5 babies given the name in a year.

Duffy - Duffy was only given to boys until 1958. It is an Irish surname, so maybe it was attached to her when she was left at the orphanage?

July - My favorite of the not-used bunch, July was not recorded as a given name until 1962. And because this girl was an orphan, I wonder if she was given the name in honor of her birth month, or maybe when she was dropped off at the orphanage?

I have no idea if names were even registered for orphans back in the 1920s (one of my fellow name bloggers is sure to know), but it's fun to speculate on these special little ladies. Which of these orphan names would you use?

On a side note, you may have seen previews for a new Annie movie coming out in December 2014 starring Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis. Name notes related to this movie: Molly, or the orphan/foster child billed as the youngest, has been renamed Mia for this new version. I see that there is still a Pepper and a Tessie. There is also an Isabella, but I am not sure if she replaces one of the other girls or is an original character. Will be fun to find out!



  1. We are SO looking forward to seeing the reboot of Annie. Apparently, Daddy Warbucks was renamed, too. But it's still really clever - Benjamin Stacks. (Get it - stacks of Benjamins? Took me a minute.)

    Off to sing "It's the hard knock life for us ..."


Thank you for leaving a comment on this blog! Please remember that we are respectful of other people's opinions.