“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.
Omaha’s WOW radio station went on the air on April 2, 1923. The day it turned 18, the station threw a party and invited six teenage girls who were born in Omaha on the very same day.
The young lassies shown toasting WOW with a glass of punch and a piece of birthday cake are, left to right: Blanche Zaloudek, Roslyn Levy, Jacqueline Giles, Helen Rummelhart, Elaine Kinzli, and De Lorse McCarty.
My guess is that “De Lorse” is a variant of Delores, which was trendy in the 1920s.
The cool call letters “WOW” were a reference to Omaha’s Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, which owned the radio station.
Source: “”Sextuplets” Guests at Radio WOW Birthday Part.” Radio News Tower [Omaha, Nebraska] 1 May 1941: 1.
The 1976 movie Sparkle is set the late ’50s/early ’60s and follows three sisters — Sparkle (played by Irene Cara), Sister and Delores — as they form a girl group and try to find fame. It’s loosely based on the story of the Supremes, though set in Harlem instead of Detroit.
Did Sparkle have an influence on U.S. baby names? Yes — the baby name Sparkle, bestowed infrequently before the release of the movie, was given to dozens (and, later, hundreds) of baby girls starting in the mid-1970s:
1980: 110 baby girls named Sparkle
1979: 125 baby girls named Sparkle
1978: 71 baby girls named Sparkle
1977: 89 baby girls named Sparkle
1976: 44 baby girls named Sparkle
1975: not listed
And actress Dwan Smith, who portrayed Delores in the film, boosted the visibility (and usage) of the baby name Dwan:
1978: 39 baby girls named Dwan
1977: 61 baby girls named Dwan
1976: 47 baby girls named Dwan
1975: 12 baby girls named Dwan
Lately, Sparkle’s numbers have been much less impressive…but that could soon change, as a remake of Sparkle starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks is set to be released on August 17.
Tika is another Sparkle name we should watch for. Delores is played by Tika Sumpter in the remake, so it’s possible that Tika could get a boost in 2012 the way Dwan did in 1976.
Do you think the new movie could spark a Sparkle comeback? Could Tika take off?
P.S. Tika Sumpter’s birth name was Euphemia. Ironically, the sisters’ mother in the movie was named Effie — a nickname for Euphemia. (And Effie was played by actress Mary Alice, whose mother had the very interesting name Ozelar.)