Where did the baby name Tressy come from in 1963?

Tressy (doll) in a store catalogue
Tressy in a store catalogue

In the 1960s, the Tessie-like name Tressy began popped up in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1968: 15 baby girls named Tressy
  • 1967: 17 baby girls named Tressy
  • 1966: 23 baby girls named Tressy
  • 1965: 33 baby girls named Tressy [peak]
  • 1964: 16 baby girls named Tressy
  • 1963: 8 baby girls named Tressy [debut]
  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted


Because of the fashion doll Tressy, whose hair could be made longer or shorter with the turn of a key. (The keyhole was on her lower back.)

She was manufactured by the American Character Doll Company and introduced to consumers in 1963 — just a few years after the original fashion doll, Barbie, hit the scene in 1959.

Tressy was the very first doll with “growing” hair. Various versions of the original Tressy — with different hair colors, or with dye-able hair — were available in the U.S. for several years.

Crissy (doll) in a television commercial.
Crissy in a TV commercial

American Character went out of business in 1968, and Ideal Toy Company ended up with the defunct company’s assets. The next year, Ideal introduced the popular Crissy doll, which utilized the same mechanism for adjusting hair length and had a similar influence on the baby name Crissy. Ideal also re-introduced its own (much larger) version of Tressy.

What do you think of Tressy as a baby name? Would you use it?

Source: American Character Dolls 1919-1969

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