Here’s an eye-catching baby name: Quovadis. It’s appeared in U.S. baby name data a total of three times so far:
- 1983: unlisted
- 1982: 5 baby girls named Quovadis
- 1975: 6 baby girls named Quovadis (all 6 born in Georgia)
- 1974: unlisted
- 1973: 5 baby girls named Quovadis [debut]
- 1972: unlisted
This one is a semi-mystery. I know the ultimate origin, but not what (if anything) caused the name to surface in the ’70s specifically.
The Polish novel Quo Vadis (1896) by Henryk Sienkiewicz told the story of a romance between a Roman patrician and a Christian woman during ancient times. The title means “where are you going?” in Latin and alludes to the New Testament verse John 13:36.
The English translation of the book became the bestselling novel in the U.S. in 1897. Since then, the book has been adapted for the big screen multiple times (1901, 1912, 1924, 1951*, etc.) and also adapted for television.
But nothing new happened in the ’70s to draw attention to the phrase, beyond the 1973 Broadway play Status Quo Vadis and a 1975 M*A*S*H episode called “Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?”
Do you have any thoughts on this one?
P.S. Though the name only appears in the SSA data in the ’70s and ’80s, records reveal that dozens of people (male and female) have been named Quovadis since the late 1890s. Here’s one on the 1930 U.S. Census:
*The 1951 movie starred Deborah Kerr and was nominated for eight Oscars.