In the early 1930s, a number of Edna Robb Webster’s novels — Occasional Wife, Lipstick Girl, Love, Preferred, Five O’Clock Girl, and others — were published serially in newspapers.
One story, Joretta, appeared in late 1930 and early 1931. It featured the character Joretta “Jetty” Dowling, “the only daughter of one of the biggest merchants in the west. Wise with the wisdom of the modern girl to whom life is an open book, indulged with luxury, yet capable, poised and sensible.”
The name Joretta, which had never been on the SSA’s baby name list before, debuted on the list in 1930:
- 1935: 34 baby girls named Joretta
- 1934: 37 baby girls named Joretta
- 1933: 56 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 910th]
- 1932: 82 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 746th]
- 1931: 194 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 463rd]
- 1930: 33 baby girls named Joretta [debut]
- 1929: unlisted
Over the next three years, it was popular enough to land in the top 1,000 three times in a row. Joretta was particularly trendy in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and nearby states.
It remained on the list for decades until dropping off in the early 1970s.
Source: Webster, Edna Robb. “Joretta, A Love Story.” Greensburg Daily Tribune 21 Nov. 1930: 12.