Disco singer Loleatta Holloway (whose first name is pronounced “Lolita”). She’d been putting out music since the early ’70s, but her first big hits — “Dreamin’,” “Hit and Run,” and “Ripped Off” — each reached the #3 position on the U.S. dance charts during 1977.
She scored her first #1 dance hit a few years later with “Love Sensation” (1980), which was later memorably sampled on another #1 hit, “Good Vibrations” (1991) by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
The rare baby name Jymme has appeared in the SSA data just twice: first in 1955, last in 1963.
1963: 10 baby girls named Jymme
1955: 5 baby girls named Jymme [debut]
Where did it come from? A singer/actress who started her career with one name, then switched to another.
She was born Roberta Jymme Schourup in 1943, but kicked off her career as Jymme Shore. (Jymme is pronounced “Jimmy.”)
As a youngster in the mid-1950s she appeared on 2 televised programs, The Tex Williams Show and The Pinky Lee Show, and also became associated with the Mouseketeers (she was too tall to become an official member of the group). It was around this time that the name Jymme debuted in the data.
While she worked for Disney, though, she changed her professional name:
“When the studio would send out information without a picture, ‘Jymme Shore’ ended up referred to as a he,” she explained. “Walt Disney actually was the one who suggested I use the name Roberta.”
(She continued to go by Jymme in her personal life.)
She worked for Disney a little longer — appearing on The Mickey Mouse Club, voicing animated characters, even yodeling the Switzerland part of the song It’s a Small World. Then she became an independent actor, appearing in TV shows and movies such as Maverick, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and even the infamous Lolita (1962).
Also in 1962, Roberta landed the role of Betsy Garth on the series The Virginian, which would go on to become one of TV’s most successful Westerns. Media coverage of the new show must have mentioned her former stage name, as this is the year “Jymme” returns for an encore in the data.
Roberta Shore played Betsy for three seasons. Then she got married and retired from show business altogether.
What are your thoughts on the name Jymme?
Hollis, Tim and Greg Ehrbar. Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2006.
So today let’s check out another fun set of “top” names: the top rises. The names below are those that increased the most in usage, percentage-wise, from one year to the next according to the SSA data.
Here’s the format: girl names are on the left, boy names are on the right, and the percentages represent single-year jumps in usage. (For example, from 1880 to 1881, usage of the girl name Isa grew 240% and usage of the boy name Noble grew 333%.)
The SSA data isn’t perfect, but it does get a lot better in the late 1930s, because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data” (SSA). Now, back to the list…
(Did you catch all the doubles? Tula, Delano, Tammy, Jermaine, and Davey/Davy.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and I plan to write about many of the others. In the meanwhile, though, feel free to beat me to it! Leave a comment and let us know what popularized Dorla in 1929, or Lauren in 1945, or Dustin in 1968, or Kayleigh in 1985, or Talan in 2005…
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.
Pope Benedict XVI mentioned baby names over the weekend. Well, maybe not baby names–baptismal names is more precise. In any case, here’s what he said while baptizing a 21 infants in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday:
Every baptism should ensure that the child is given a Christian name, an unmistakable sign that the Holy Spirit will allow the person to blossom in the bosom of the Church. Do not give your children names that are not in the Christian calendar.
I’ve seen other church officials comment on this issue, but never the Pope himself. I wonder what sort of impact it will have on Catholic parents.
BONUS: Here are some interesting quotes I collected from news articles covering this story.
The first little examples of Mela (Italian for Apple) and Pesche (Peaches) are already up and walking, say the Italian newspapers, thanks to the decisions of Gwyneth Paltrow and Bob Geldof to pick names at the greengrocer.
Celebrity baby names in translation. Trippy.
Even leading politicians have chosen unusual names. The pugnacious Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa christened his three sons Geronimo, Lorenzo Cochis and Leonardo Apache.