What gave the baby name Ardeth a boost in 1930?

The story "Girl Unafraid" by Gladys Johnson
“Girl Unafraid”

From 1929 to 1930, the baby name Ardeth saw a dramatic rise in usage — dramatic enough to boost the name into the U.S. top 1,000 for the first time.

  • 1932: 55 baby girls named Ardeth [rank: 954th]
  • 1931: 58 baby girls named Ardeth [rank: 912th]
  • 1930: 121 baby girls named Ardeth [rank: 629th]
  • 1929: 38 baby girls named Ardeth
  • 1928: 27 baby girls named Ardeth

Why the spike?

Because Americans were seeing the name over and over again in the newspapers — specifically, in the story Girl Unafraid by Gladys Johnson (sometimes spelled “Johnston”). The story was being published chapter by chapter in newspapers across the country during 1930 (sometimes into early 1931, depending on the paper).

I haven’t read the full story, but the plot was centered on Ardeth Carroll, “a Titian-haired, amber-eyed Irish girl, [who] dramatically solves her great love problem.”

Another character in the story was named Jeanette, and the name Jeanette also increased in usage in 1930.

Source: “Girl Unafraid.” Journal and Courier [Lafayette, Indiana] 14 Aug. 1930: 3.

P.S. The similar name Ardoth popped up several years later for an entirely different reason…

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