Where did the baby name Joretta come from in 1930?

Title of the story "Joretta: A Love Story"

In the early 1930s, a number of Edna Robb Webster’s novels — Occasional Wife, Lipstick Girl, Love, Preferred, Five O’Clock Girl, and others — were published serially in the newspapers.

One story, Joretta, appeared in late 1930 and early 1931. It featured the character Joretta “Jetty” Dowling, “the only daughter of one of the biggest merchants in the west. Wise with the wisdom of the modern girl to whom life is an open book, indulged with luxury, yet capable, poised and sensible.”

The name Joretta, which had never been on the SSA’s baby name list before, debuted on the list in 1930:

  • 1934: 37 baby girls named Joretta
  • 1933: 56 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 910th]
  • 1932: 82 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 746th]
  • 1931: 194 baby girls named Joretta [rank: 463rd]
  • 1930: 33 baby girls named Joretta [debut]
  • 1929: unlisted
  • 1928: unlisted

Joretta was published as a standalone book in 1932, and no doubt this helped keep the name Joretta in the top 1,000 for an extra year or two.

The name remained in the data for decades, finally dropping out in the early 1970s.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Joretta?

Source: Webster, Edna Robb. “Joretta, A Love Story.” Greensburg Daily Tribune 21 Nov. 1930: 12.

Image: Clipping from the Rockland County Evening Journal (20 Feb. 1931)

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Joretta come from in 1930?

  1. Joretta is my name
    My grandmother named me after a book she read. After 68 years ,I looked for the book. I found it !
    I never liked my name. Through out the years , I found men liked my name more than women.
    Is this book still being published?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Joretta!

    I doubt the book is still in publication.

    If you’re looking to read it — and if you don’t mind doing a bit of searching (to piece together all the installments) — you could try a newspaper archive site. I found the image above in a paper at NYS Historic Newspapers, for instance.

    Or, given that Joretta was published in the early 1930s, you could wait for it to fall into the public domain in a few years. At that point, I bet it will pop up at a site like Project Gutenberg or the Internet Archive.

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