Mystery baby name: Treasure (Solved!)

The baby name Treasure debuted on the charts in 1935:

  • 1938: 7 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1937: 6 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1936: 18 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1935: 16 baby girls named Treasure [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted

Treasure was the top debut name that year, in fact.

And yet, because Treasure (like Memory) is also a vocabulary word, figuring out where it must have been used as a girl name circa 1935 is tricky.

There are a lot of possibilities in the 1930s, actually — movies, literature, radio, comic strips, etc.

Any thoughts on this one?

(And, I wonder whether a baby name alluding to riches wouldn’t have been especially appealing during the era of the Depression? Hm.)

Update, 2/2017: Mystery solved! Becca came up with the answer (thank you!). Vida Hurst’s novel Tango, which featured a female protagonist named Treasure McGuire, was serialized in various newspapers in 1934 and 1935. The story was made into a movie (starring actress Marian Nixon) in early 1936 — this explains why the number of newborns named Treasure increased the year after the name debuted.

5 thoughts on “Mystery baby name: Treasure (Solved!)

  1. There was a film of ‘Treasure Island’ released in 1934, and the book ‘Back to Treasure Island’ came out in 1935. But would this explain it becoming a name for girls?

  2. Exactly. I mean, those *could* be the cause here, but it just seems like a stretch.

    I’m thinking there must be a female character named Treasure out there somewhere, but we just haven’t found her yet. Hm.

  3. Nancy, your post on Rise led me to take a second look at Treasure and I think I found the character in question. A movie called Tango came out in 1936 and the main character is named Treasure McGuire. The novel it was based on, by Vida Hurst, came out in 1935. Hurst’s IMDb states that she “wrote 52 novels in 32 years that were serialized in newspapers by The Register and Tribune Syndicate.”

  4. I met a young girl named Treasure! I was tickled when I heard the name. Her mother didn’t go into reasoning why she picked that name but interestingly her other daughter had a T name. Apparently she named both her girls T names because her name started with a T. I think that’s a cute idea as well as the name Treasure.

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