The baby name Tawn debuted as a girl name in the U.S. baby name data in 1948:
1949: 6 baby girls named Tawn
1948: 12 baby girls named Tawn
The name Dawn no doubt paved the way for Tawn, but I think this relatively high debut in 1948 can be attributed to something even more specific: an ad campaign for a new line of men’s grooming products sold under the brand name Tawn.
The line included shampoo, hair dressing, cologne deodorant, talc, brushless shave, and after-shave lotion. Each item could be purchased individually or as part of either a gift-set or a men’s travel kit.
Tawn Lotion had existed as a standalone product since at least the early 1940s. McKesson-Robbins, Inc., bought the product in 1942, developed a line of Tawn products around it, then introduced the line in 1947 via ads in several national magazines (Life, Look, Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post).
…I usually don’t include two images of the same thing in a post, but the tagline “For men who get around!” was too good to skip. :)
So what are your thoughts on the baby name Tawn? Would you use it?
Source: “Tawn Comes of Age.” Glass Packer Mar. 1947: 193.
A couple of months ago, we looked at a long, year-by-year list of the top baby name rises. A month after that, we saw the corresponding list of top drops.
On that second post, Frank B. left a comment in which he asked about absolute rises and drops — because the lists only covered relative movement within the data. So I thought two more posts were in order: top raw-number rises, and top raw-number drops.
We’ll start with the rises again. Just keep in mind that the SSA numbers don’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t quite reflect reality.
Here’s the format: Girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the numbers represent single-year rises in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, the usage of the girl name Ethel increased by 155 babies and the usage of the boy name Chester increased by 106 babies.
“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
Happy Friday! Here’s another batch of random, name-related quotes to end the week…
From the description of the December 15, 1947, cover of LIFE magazine:
Among the prettiest showgirls in New York’s nightclubs are (from left) brunette Dawn McInerney, red-haired Thana Barclay and blond Joy Skylar who all work in the Latin Quarter. […] Thana, also 22, was named after her mother’s favorite poem Thanatopsis. She is married to a song plugger named Duke Niles and owns a dachshund named Bagel.
The poem “Thanatopsis” was written by William Cullen Bryant. The word itself means “a view or contemplation of death.” In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the god of death.
From the All Music Guide to Hip-hop by Vladimir Bogdanov:
Ginuwine was born in Washington, D.C., on October 15, 1975, with the unlikely name of Elgin Baylor Lumpkin (after D.C.-born Basketball Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor).
Fellow immigrants…Here is proof that we need that national “conversation about race” urged by President Clinton: Last week in a whimsical moment I argued that official hurricane names are too “white bread” (like Greg) and don’t reflect America’s ethnic stew. To make my point I looked at the births page of the Sentinel for names that you never see attached to a hurricane — names such as Attaliah, Desjambra, Ofori. A reader called to complain about the “white bread” line and added, “A lot of those names aren’t even American.”
“Excuse me,” I said, “but they were born in this country. They’re just as American as you and me.”
“You know what I mean,” he said.
Yes, unfortunately, I think I do.
From The Making of Cabaret by Keith Garebian, regarding the name of English actress Valerie Jill Haworth, who was born on Victory over Japan Day (Aug. 15, 1945):
The initials of her baptismal names (Valerie Jill) were in honor of her birth on VJ Day.
There are some Japanese family names that are so ridiculous that I’m forced to believe that someone was playing some kind of horrible family prank when they named themselves. Cow Poop (Ushikuso), Horse-Butt (Umajiri), and Boar-Crotch (Inomata/Imata) are actual people in Japan. If they wanted a memorable name, they’ve certainly achieved it, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up with a name like that as a child.
Fantasy novelist Neil Gaiman stresses the importance of a good name in describing the genesis of his American Gods protagonist. “There’s a magic to names, after all,” he says. “I knew his name [needed to be] descriptive. I tried calling him Lazy, but he didn’t seem to like that, and I called him Jack, and he didn’t like that any better. I took to trying every name I ran into on him for size, and he looked back at me from somewhere in my head unimpressed every time. It was like trying to name Rumpelstiltskin.”
He finally discovered the name, Shadow, in an Elvis Costello song. (American Gods will be on TV soon…will we soon be seeing more babies named Shadow?)