How popular is the baby name Torey in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Torey and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Torey.
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In fact, Shelva was the highest-hitting of all the highest-hitting newbie girl names up to that point, and it would remain the record-holder until 1959.*
Here are the numbers:
1939: 100 baby girls named Shelva (533rd)
1938: 163 baby girls named Shelva (681st)
1937: 194 baby girls named Shelva (471st)
1936: 89 baby girls named Shelva [debut] (708th) & 9 baby boys named Shelva
Where did the name Shelva come from?
It took me forever to figure this one out, but the answer is Shelby.
Turns out that many Shelby-like names (Shelva, Shelbie, Shelba, Shelbia, Shelvy, Shelvie, Shelvia, Shelvey, Shelda, Shelma) debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in the mid-1930s, right around the time Shelby — previously more of a boy name — became popular for girls:
1939: 1,164 baby girls and 206 baby boys named Shelby
1938: 1,713 baby girls and 213 baby boys named Shelby
1937: 1,996 baby girls and 203 baby boys named Shelby
1936: 1,072 baby girls and 150 baby boys named Shelby
1935: 67 baby girls and 121 baby boys named Shelby
1934: 17 baby girls and 133 baby boys named Shelby
Why the spike and the sex-change for Shelby circa 1936?
The popular 1935 film The Woman in Red [vid], which starred Barbara Stanwyck as professional horse rider Shelby Barret. The movie was based on the book North Shore by Wallace Irwin.
*In 1959, Shelva (89) was ousted by Torey (102). Torey’s newfound fame was likely inspired by the character Torey Peck, played by Patty McCormack, on the short-lived summer sitcom Peck’s Bad Girl (1959).
Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.
Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.
Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing pop culture explanations. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.
Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)
I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!