What popularized the baby name Vonda in the mid-1960s?

Vonda Kay Van Dyke, Miss America 1965
Vonda Kay Van Dyke

According to the U.S. baby name data, Vonda saw a big spike in usage in mid-1960s:

  • 1967: 321 baby girls named Vonda [rank: 529th]
  • 1966: 664 baby girls named Vonda [rank: 349th]
  • 1965: 1,093 baby girls named Vonda [rank: 261st]
  • 1964: 602 baby girls named Vonda [rank: 399th]
  • 1963: 180 baby girls named Vonda [rank: 772nd]


Because of Vonda Kay Van Dyke, who was crowned Miss America 1965 at the conclusion of the televised pageant held in Atlantic City in September of 1964.

Van Dyke — who represented the state of Arizona — was the very first Miss America contestant to perform ventriloquism during the talent portion of the competition.

Van Dyke taught herself ventriloquism as a child and soon after found herself sharing billing with Wayne Newton. “Wayne and I did quite a few shows before he hit it big and moved on to Vegas,” she recalls.

Notably, Vonda Van Dyke is also the only Miss America to have been voted Miss Congeniality by the other delegates.

After her reign ended, Vonda enjoyed “an 18-year showbiz career, appearing with Jack Benny and Victor Borge.” She also married and had one child, a girl named Vandy.

Over the years, Vonda has met a several of her namesakes:

I ask them, “Where did you get your name?” One said, “Oh, it’s so embarrassing. I got it from a Miss America.” I stuck out my hand and said, “How do you do?”

What are your thoughts on the name Vonda?


Image: Adapted from Miss America of 1965 Vonda Kay Van Dyke at a fabric store in Los Angeles, Calif. by Los Angeles Times under CC BY 4.0.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.