What gave the baby name Aletta a boost in 1935?

The novel "Aletta Laird" (1935) by Barbara Webb
Aletta Laird” by Barbara Webb

The relatively rare name Aletta has been in the U.S. baby name data since the 1890s, but it saw a distinct spike in usage in 1935:

  • 1937: 13 baby girls named Aletta
  • 1936: 28 baby girls named Aletta
  • 1935: 37 baby girls named Aletta [peak usage]
  • 1934: 5 baby girls named Aletta
  • 1933: 10 baby girls named Aletta

In fact, Aletta’s sudden increase made it the second-highest relative rise of 1935, after Norita.

So what gave it a nudge?

The Barbara Webb story Aletta Laird, which was both serialized in the newspapers and released as a book in 1935.

I haven’t had a chance to read Aletta Laird — a “[r]omantic historical fiction” set in “old Bermuda, at the time of the American Revolution” — but here’s a description of how it begins:

Aletta Laird came to St. George’s in the Spring of 1775 to rejoin her father. Almost immediately after stepping ashore, she incurred the wrath of the tyrannical Governor, bought and Indian slave to save him from death by flogging, and learned that her father had died in prison as a traitor to his King. She also met the two men who were to lay siege to her heart, one the nephew of the Governor, the other a rebel American captain.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Aletta?


Image: “Aletta Laird” in the Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger on June 2, 1935

P.S. Interestingly, the very similar name Aleeta saw peak usage just a couple of years earlier…

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