4-H Baby Names: Clarabeth and Nawatha

clarabeth, baby name
Clarabeth Zehring

The 4-H youth organization was officially established by the U.S. government in the 1914. (Those four H’s come from the group’s original motto, “head, heart, hands, and health.”) The initial focus was agricultural and home economics activities, and the initial participants were rural youth.

In 1922, 4-H started hosting an annual congress at which national-level awards were bestowed. And at least two of these top-level award winners — whose names and photos often ran in the papers — had a slight influence on U.S. baby names.

The first 4-H name to debut was Clarabeth:

  • 1937: unlisted
  • 1936: 6 baby girls named Clarabeth [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted

The second was Nawatha:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: 5 baby girls named Nawatha [debut]
  • 1940: unlisted

Both were one-hit wonders.

Clarabeth was inspired by 17-year-old Clarabeth Zehring of Germantown, Ohio. She was the national winner of the 4-H dress-making competition in late 1935. First she won in her category (“school dress”) and, along with three other category winners, received a gold wrist watch. Upon being the one chosen (out of the four) to win the national title, Clarabeth also got a solid gold medal.

Nawatha was inspired by 20-year-old Nawatha L. Krebs of Eufaula, Oklahoma. She was the female winner of the National Achievement Award (there was a male winner as well) in late 1940. She won a silver flatware set and a college scholarship.

And, check this out — I happened to find some proof that Nawatha’s name being in the newspapers had an influence on expectant parents:

About the time Nawatha was winning her 4-H award, a family in McAlester [Oklahoma] had a new baby, a girl. The mother had seen Nawatha’s picture in the paper, fell in love with the unusual name and named her baby Nawatha.

The two Nawathas later learned of one another after both had moved to California and both had tried to get a California license plate that said “NAWATHA.” The younger one, who had the idea first, got the plate. The older one was stuck with the plate “NWATHA” instead.

Which of today’s names, Clarabeth or Nawatha, do you like more? Why?


Popular Baby Names in College Station, 2020

According to the government of College Station, Texas, the most popular baby names in the city in 2020 were Olivia and Noah.

Here are College Station’s top 3 girl names and top 3 boy names of 2020:

Girl Names

  1. Olivia, 11 baby girls
  2. Emma, 10
  3. Ava, Riley, & Sofia, 9 each (3-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Noah, 9 baby boys
  2. James, Jackson, & Samuel, 8 each (3-way tie)
  3. Benjamin, Elijah, Ezra, & Oliver, 7 each (4-way tie)

On the girls’ side, the Ava-Riley-Sofia tie knocks Harper out of third place.

On the boys’ side, the top 3 names are entirely new (again!).

In 2019, the top two names in College Station were Olivia and Aiden.

Source: Noah, Olivia CS’s most popular baby names in 2020

Revolutionary Baby Name: Che

Che Guevara

October 9th of this year will mark the anniversary of the death of guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who was executed in 1967. He was born in Argentina and died in Bolivia, but most associate him with Cuba due to his involvement in the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959).

The year after he died, the baby name Che appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data. The name saw peak usage in the early-to-mid ’70s, following the release of the 1969 film Che!, which starred Omar Sharif. Usage was highest in California.

  • 1972: 79 baby boys named Che [rank: 902nd]
  • 1971: 86 baby boys named Che [rank: 877th]
  • 1970: 92 baby boys named Che [rank: 839th]
  • 1969: 56 baby boys named Che
  • 1968: 19 baby boys named Che [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

The name also started seeing female usage around this time, debuting in the girls’ data in 1969.

So how did Guevara, who was named Ernesto after his father, acquire the nickname “Che”? From his overuse of the interjection che (“hey!”) while he was living in Guatemala City (1953-1954).

Finally, here’s one more Che-related baby name: Aleida, which more than doubled in usage in 1960, the year after Che married his second wife, Aleida March.

Sources: Che Guevara – Wikipedia, SSA

P.S. Here’s a Turkish baby named Ernesto Cheguevara.

Babies Named for Sailing Ships (G)

The people below were born aboard — and named after! — ships with G-names…

  • Gainsborough:
    • John Gainsboro Hunt Beaumont, born in 1877
  • Galileo:
    • Esther Galileo Jones, born in 1875
  • Gallia:
    • Alfred Gallia Hall, born in 1882
  • Gananoque:
    • Norris Gananoque Green, born in 1860
  • Ganges:
    • Hedley Theodore Ganges Kempthorne, born in 1886
  • Garonne:
    • Jane Garonne Sparkes, born in 1882
    • Alexander Garonne Bendiksen, born in 1886
  • Gartmore:
    • Cecil Gartmore Ritchie, born in 1889
  • Germanic:
    • Mary Germanic Phillips, born in 1881
  • Gilmore:
    • Rose Gilmore Hallet, born in 1857
  • Gladstone:
    • Sydney Gladstone Myers, born in 1883
    • Mary Elizabeth Gladstone Jackson, born in 1884
  • Glamorgan:
    • Glamorgan Wallace, born in 1875
  • Glenallan:
    • Prince Glenallan Shilston, born in 1870
  • Glenavon:
    • Daniel Glenavon Clinton, born in 1885
  • Glenlora:
    • Mary Glenlora Green, born in 1879
  • Glenmark:
    • Margaret Glenmark McKinley, born in 1864
  • Glen Osmond:
    • Glen Osmond Thomas, born in 1883
  • Goorkha:
    • John Sharp Teele Goorkha Cloquet, born in 1882
  • Gosforth:
    • Gosforth Williamson, born in 1856
  • Granton:
    • John Burns Granton Grundell, born in 1870
  • Grasmere:
    • Caroline Grasmere Hastings, born in 1876
  • Gulf of St. Vincent:
    • Emma St. Vincent McClellan, born in 1886

Do you think any of the ship names above work particularly well as human names?

Source: FamilySearch.org

Ever Wonder about Wondra?

wondra, flour, baby name, 1960s

The Wanda-like name Wondra first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1963:

  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: 5 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1964: 8 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1963: 8 baby girls named Wondra [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted

The name Wanda was will seeing strong usage in the mid-1960s (it was in the top 100 until 1966), so it had certainly set the scene for the appearance of Wondra.

But there’s a specific reason why Wondra showed up. And it has to do with flour, believe it or not.

In 1963, the General Mills company, longtime maker of Gold Medal Flour (see Norita), introduced a new version of the flour: Gold Medal Wondra. It was a fine, “instantized” flour created through a process called agglomeration. Instead of forming clumps in liquid, Wondra flour would quickly dissolve — making it useful for gravies and sauces. It also required no sifting.

Most importantly, there was a marketing campaign with a multi-million dollar budget (“the largest ever placed behind a new General Mills product”) that started in mid-August.

Gold Medal’s parent, General Mills, is allocating to [Wondra] one of the biggest new-product budgets ever established. On the schedule are big ads in 175 dailies, repeated commercials on over 150 TV stations, plugs on major network shows (“Empire,” Concentration,” “The Judy Garland Show”) and mentions on newscasts and other daytime TV programs.

After the name dropped out the data in 1967, it returned one last time, in 1979:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 7 baby girls named Wondra
  • 1978: unlisted

This was thanks to an unrelated product with the same name: Wondra skin lotion, introduced by P&G during 1977 and apparently on the shelves until at least the mid-1980s.

Wondra lotion — and many of the other name-influencing products I’ve blogged about, like Monchel, Chardon, and Drene — may be gone, but Wondra instant flour is still available today. In fact, according to Kitchn, “the brand is so widespread [that] the name Wondra tends to reference any instant flour when called for in recipes.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Wondra?