Where did the baby name Yuvawn come from in 1928?

The curious name Yuvawn was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data in the late 1920s:

  • 1930: unlisted
  • 1929: unlisted
  • 1928: 6 baby girls named Yuvawn [debut]
  • 1927: unlisted
  • 1926: unlisted

What inspired it?

As with Myraline from last month, this one came from a precocious child — though this was one was even younger than the first one.

Her name was YuVawn Shotts, and she was a 7-month-old from Birmingham, Alabama.

In July of 1928, the newspapers were calling her an “infant prodigy” because of her advanced speaking skills. They said she could speak like a 6-year-old and had perfect enunciation (her words were “pronounced without the usual baby accent”).

She could say “eat” as a 1-week-old and “Daddy” at 2 weeks. She knew the word “up” at 1 month, but over time this evolved to “I want up,” and then “I want to get up.” As a 7-month-old, she could say things like “little girl,” “look here,” and “eats are good.”

(Incidentally, some of the newspapers also mentioned that YuVawn had a 6-year-old sister, Wylodine, who was an accomplished pianist.)

YuVawn’s name seems to be a form of Yvonne. In fact, “Yvonne” is exactly how the enumerator spelled her name on the 1930 U.S. Census:

A few weeks after YuVawn was in the news, her name was highlighted a second time by syndicated columnist Allene Sumber who, in a piece that poked fun at child prodigies, started off with some name snark:

Concerning this talking baby of Birmingham, whose name, for some reason, known only to her parents, perhaps only to one of them, is YuVawn.

What are your thoughts on the baby name YuVawn?


  • “‘Hey, Hey, I Want to Get Up’ Tiny Baby Distinctly Wails When She’s Ready to Arise.” Athens Messenger [Ohio] 3 Jul. 1928: 1.
  • Sumner, Allene. “The Woman’s Day.” Anniston Star 26 Jul. 1928: 5.
  • “Talks at 7 Months like a 6-Year-Old.” Reading Times [Penn.] 3 Jul. 1928: 3.

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