How popular is the baby name Juanita in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Juanita and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Juanita.
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In late 1946, a baby girl was born to Paul Henning of Denver, Colorado. He’d heard of a man in Seattle who had 17 given names* and, impressed, decided that his own daughter’s name should be even longer. So she ended up with 24 given names.
Henning’s daughter–Mary Ann Bernadette Helen Therese Juanita Oliva Alice Louise Harriet Lucille Henrietta Celeste Corolla Constance Cecile Margaret Rose Eugene Yvonne Florentine Lolita Grace Isabelle Henning–was baptized in St. Elizabeth’s church Sunday.
If you were asked to cut this name down to just a first and a middle, using the names already listed, which two would you choose?
*The Seattle man, known as William Cary, had recently died. He’d been born in the mid-1860s and his 17 names had come from the surnames of officers in his father’s Civil War regiment.
“What’s in Name? This Baby Given 24 for a Starter.” Milwaukee Journal 11 Nov. 1946: 1.
“Man With 17 Names Dies in Seattle.” Abilene Reporter-News 1 Nov. 1946: 33.
Looking for an under-the-radar girl name with a retro feel?
A few years ago I combed though a bunch of IMDb pages looking for interesting female names associated with old films (1910s-1940s).
Most of the names I spotted — names like Mabel, Maisie, Hazel, Hattie, Elsie, Selma, Bessie, and Betty — were ones I expected to see. But I did manage to collect thousands of rarities, many of which have never appeared in the SSA data before.
Want to check out all these unusual names? I thought so! To make things interesting I’ll post the Z-names first and go backwards, letter by letter.
Zabette de Chavalons was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film Volcano! (1926).
Zabie Elliot was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Broken Butterfly (1919).
Zada L’Etoile was a character played by actress Sylvia Breamer in the Cecil B. DeMille-directed film We Can’t Have Everything (1918).
Zena Dare was an actress who appeared in films during the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in England in 1887. Zena Keefe was an actress who appeared in films during the 1910s and 1920s. She was born in California in 1898. Zena was also a character name in multiple films, including The Code of Honor (short, 1916) and The New York Peacock (1917).
They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.
About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).
Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).
I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).
(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)
Finally, a few interesting details:
“Jobyna” was Jobyna Ralston, who was named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. The name Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
“Derelys” was Derelys Perdue, whose first name at birth was Geraldine. In 1923, Derelys was in the news for obtaining an injunction to prevent film studio FBO from renaming her “Ann.” (FBO was later taken over by future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy.) The name Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
“Sidney” was Sidney Fox, a female who was given the name Sidney long before the name (in particular, the spelling Sydney) became trendy for baby girls.
The name Theonita has appeared on the SSA’s baby name list only once:
1957: 17 baby girls named Theonita [debut]
That’s pretty high for a one-hit wonder. What’s the explanation?
Looks like it’s debutante Theonita Cox, who graced the cover of Jet magazine in February of 1957. Beside her photo is the headline: “THEONITA COX: Pretty Chicago teen-ager was among 20 in society debut.”
A later issue of Jet reveals that Theonita’s father’s name was Theophilus. And the 1940 U.S. Census says her mother’s name was Juanita. So it’s likely that Theonita’s parents created her name by combining their own.
Theonita Cox boosting the popularity of the baby name Theonita came nearly two decades after a more high-profile debutante, Brenda Frazier, did the same for the name Brenda.