Where did the baby name Clovia come from in 1949?

The characters Chipper and Clovia from the comic strip "Gasoline Alley" (panel from the early 1950s).
Clovia and Chipper

The curious name Clovia debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1949:

  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Clovia
  • 1950: 13 baby girls named Clovia
  • 1949: 22 baby girls named Clovia [debut]
  • 1948: unlisted
  • 1947: unlisted

It was the 4th-highest girl name debut that year after Rainelle, Rainell and Randye.

Where did it come from?

A comic strip!

The strip, called Gasoline Alley, debuted in newspapers in late 1918. (And it’s still being published today, amazingly.)

In May of 1949, Gasoline Alley characters Skeezix and Nina welcomed a baby girl and decided to name her Clovia.

Why “Clovia”?

Nina got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital and was forced to give birth in a taxi. On the infant’s wrist was a birthmark in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

Clovia doll
Clovia the doll

And Clovia wasn’t just a comic strip character. For a time, she was also a doll.

In mid-1949, a few weeks after Clovia’s introduction, Clovia dolls became available in retail stores. (Dolls based on comic strip babies had become trendy in the 1940s.)

The baby name Clovia remained on the national baby name list through the 1950s, but usage petered out in the 1960s.

(Dondi, another comic strip-inspired name, had more staying power. Sparkle, on the other hand, lasted only a year.)


  • “Comic Strip Dolls.” Life 19 Oct. 1953.
  • Cushman, Philip. Constructing the Self, Constructing America. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 1995.

Images © Life.

2 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Clovia come from in 1949?

  1. Clovia as a uniquely female version of Clover does not sound bad, but Clover remains much more popular. Looking at the SSA data, I noticed Clover gaining momentum since 2004. All I could find was an anime titled “Honey and Clover”—can this be a reason?

  2. Great point about Clover.

    I don’t know of any pop culture-related reason why the usage of Clover might be increasing. (It doesn’t look like “Honey and Clover” was ever broadcast on U.S. television.) Anyone out there have any ideas?

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