Mystery Monday: Tish

baby name Tish popularity graph

Time for another baby name mystery! Today we’ve got Tish, which saw a distinct spike in usage in 1971. Here’s the data:

  • 1973: 25 baby girls named Tish
  • 1972: 27 baby girls named Tish
  • 1971: 63 baby girls named Tish
  • 1970: 25 baby girls named Tish
  • 1969: 33 baby girls named Tish

I do have a decent guess on this one — a bizarre film called The Baby Maker that came out in late 1970 and starred Barbara Hershey (a.k.a. Barbara Seagull) as Tish, “a free spirit who agrees to bear a child for a childless couple.” I can’t find any box office data on the film, though, so I can’t figure out how many people actually saw it.

A better guess would have been African-American model Tish Hammock…but the year she was being featured regularly in Jet magazine was 1969 — a bit too early for a ’71 spike.

Another guess would have been the character Clementine “Tish” Rivers from the James Baldwin novel If Beale Street Could Talk…except it wasn’t published until 1974.

Have any thoughts on this one? Any other theories?

Source: The Baby Maker (1970) – Rotten Tomatoes

2 thoughts on “Mystery Monday: Tish

  1. Tish was Morticia Addams Nickname from Gomez!! I love that nickname so much. It’s close to mine Tris.

  2. My guess is the spike could have been due to Letitia “Tish” Baldridge, Jacqueline Kennedy’s White House social secretary. She had published books on etiquette & entertaining before & after leaving the WH and sometime around 1970 she started her long running newspaper column about manners & such — sort of a forerunner today’s Miss Manners column that was syndicated so it ran nationwide. Her column probably wouldn’t have had much impact on baby names except for her connection to the Kennedy’s and that link can’t be underestimated.

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