Where did the baby name Clintona come from in 1957?

Beauty queen Clintona Jackson on the cover of Ebony magazine (Sept. 1962)
Clintona Jackson

Two very similar names, Clintonia and Clintona, debuted in the baby name data in 1957:

Girls named ClintonaGirls named Clintonia

Both saw peak usage in 1962 before slipping off the charts entirely a few years later.

Where did they come from? A Detroit debutante named Clintona “Tona” Jackson, who was featured in several African-American magazines (including Jet, Hue, and Ebony) in the late ’50s and early ’60s. These magazines sometimes misspelled her name “Clintonia.”

She was on the cover of both Hue and Jet in 1957, when she was just 15.

The increased usage in 1962 corresponds to coverage of Clintona’s first-place finish at the International Freedom Festival beauty pageant in Detroit-Windsor. Tona, by then a 20-year-old Howard University student, was chosen from a pool of 120 contestants. She was the first black Miss Freedom Festival and, according to reports, many people were openly displeased about it:

Tona told intimates after winning: “I didn’t do it for myself but for my people.” Not a single white mother or father congratulated Tona or her mother, nor did Tona receive many of the lavish gifts usually donated.

Do you like the name Clintona? Do you like it more or less than Clintonia (which is also a type of flower)?

Source: “Detroit Beauty Queen.” Ebony Sept. 1962: 23-28.

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