The 20 All-Time-Best Philly Names
Marian Anderson, contralto singer. The ultimate double dactyl. Don’t you want to sing along?
Sidney Biddle Barrows, the “Mayflower Madam.” The gender-neutral first name, the time-honored Philly-family middle name, the hint-of-the-tomb last name: perfection.
Cecilia Beaux, turn-of-the-century society portrait painter. A first name that means “blind,” a last name that means “beauty.” Bingo!
Cindy Birdsong, member of the Supremes. Such a happy coincidence.
Octavius Catto, educator and civil rights activist. It has gravitas and historical resonance, and the last name means “wise.”
Dick Clark, host of American Bandstand. The classic mid-century modern American name.
John Coltrane, jazz saxophonist and composer. The ultimate in cool.
Robert Crumb, cartoonist. Simultaneously proper and disreputable.
Richardson Dilworth, mayor. Please stand for Hizzoner.
Lola Falana, dancer, singer and actress. Don’t you want to dance along?
A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., federal judge. A most Honorable-sounding name.
Agnes Irwin, girls’ school principal. Ladies! Ladies, please!
Mario Lanza, tenor singer and actor. Let it roll off your tongue.
J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia NAACP. August and upstanding.
Teddy Pendergrass, singer of sexy ballads. First half cuddly, second half mysterious.
Boies Penrose, turn-of-the-century political boss. Pure bluster.
Philip Syng Physick, “the father of American surgery.” It’s almost too much!
Beasley Reece, NFL defensive back, sports analyst. Say it the way Howard Cosell would.
Horace Trumbauer, Gilded Age architect. A name as sublimely balanced as a parabolic arch.
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