Where did the baby name Tootie come from in 1958?

tootie stevens, 1958, with letter from North Pole
Dorothea “Tootie” Stevens, 1958

The name Tootie appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the first and only time in 1958:

  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Tootie [debut]
  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: unlisted

What gave the usage of Tootie a boost that year?

My guess is 13-year-old Dorothea “Tootie” Stevens of Washington, D.C., whose picture ran in the newspapers in August of 1958. (I couldn’t find a non-watermarked copy, unfortunately.)

Why was her picture in the papers?

Because she’d just received “a letter from the top of the world” — the North Pole. The letter came from a family friend by the name of Richard F. Dobbins, who was at that time serving as medical officer aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus, which had just made the very first undersea transit of the Arctic ice cap.

What do you think of the name Tootie — does it work on its own, or is it better as a nickname?

Image: 1958 Press Photo Dorothea “Tootie” Stevens

5 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Tootie come from in 1958?

  1. In the 1980s, the actress Kim Fields played the role of a boarding school student named “Tootie” in the sitcom “Facts of Life”.. I believe it was a nickname for “Dorothy”.

  2. My lil’ Sister was nicknamed Tootie in the late 50’s. She was born January 1st, 1953, so she would have been “5” when the above article became news. Awesome…the nickname stuck with those of us growing up with her.

  3. The 1944 movie Meet Me in St Louis featured child star Margaret O’Brien, playing a character named Tootie. This preceded Tootie Stevens in 1958.

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