Babies Named for Covergirl Clintona

Clintona Jackson. Ebony, 1962

Two very similar names, Clintonia and Clintona, debuted in the baby name data in 1957:

Year Clintonia Clintona
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
unlisted
unlisted
7 baby girls
13 baby girls
unlisted
unlisted
5 baby girls
6 baby girls
5 baby girls [debut]
unlisted
unlisted
5 baby girls
9 baby girls
11 baby girls
unlisted
unlisted
unlisted
unlisted
5 baby girls [debut]
unlisted

Both saw peak usage in 1962 before slipping off the charts entirely a few years later.

Where did they come from? A Detroit debutante named Clintona “Tona” Jackson, who was featured in several African-American magazines (including Jet, Hue, and Ebony) in the late ’50s and early ’60s. These magazines sometimes misspelled her name “Clintonia.”

She was on the cover of both Hue and Jet in 1957, when she was just 15.

The increased usage in 1962 corresponds to coverage of Clintona’s first-place finish at the International Freedom Festival beauty pageant in Detroit-Windsor. Tona, by then a 20-year-old Howard University student, was chosen from a pool of 120 contestants. She was the first black Miss Freedom Festival and, according to reports, many people were openly displeased about it:

Tona told intimates after winning: “I didn’t do it for myself but for my people.” Not a single white mother or father congratulated Tona or her mother, nor did Tona receive many of the lavish gifts usually donated.

Do you like the name Clintona? Do you like it more or less than Clintonia (which is also a type of flower)?

Source/Image: “Detroit Beauty Queen.” Ebony Sept. 1962: 23-28.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.