Wanza was a top newbie baby name of 1915. That year, at least 33 U.S. babies were named Wanza:
- 1919: 8 baby girls named Wanza
- 1918: 12 baby girls named Wanza
- 1917: 7 baby girls named Wanza
- 1916: 13 baby girls named Wanza
- 1915: 33 baby girls named Wanza [debut]
- 1914: unlisted
The name appeared on the SSA’s baby name list most years until the ’60s, but it never hit as high as 33 again.
Where did it come from?
I have no idea.
The name Wanda was on the rise from the late 1800s through the 1930s, and Wanda’s surge in popularity gave other Wan-names (e.g., Waneta, Wanita) a boost. This probably helped Wanza a bit. But it doesn’t explain why dozens babies were suddenly named Wanza in 1915.
I thought I’d found the answer in Mae Van Norman Long’s novel The Wonder Woman, which features a character named Wanza, but the book wasn’t published until 1917 — following the trend, not sparking it.
Any ideas on this one?