What gave the baby name Jodell a boost in 1952?

Jodell Stirmlinger (1931-2018), top 10 at Miss USA 1952
Jodell Stirmlinger

According to the U.S. baby name data, the uncommon name Jodell more than doubled in usage in 1952:

  • 1954: 31 baby girls named Jodell (8 born in Minnesota)
  • 1953: 24 baby girls named Jodell (7 born in Minnesota)
  • 1952: 37 baby girls named Jodell (16 born in Minnesota)
  • 1951: 16 baby girls named Jodell (5 born in Minnesota)
  • 1950: 19 baby girls named Jodell

Over half of the usage that year was in Minnesota. (The name seems to have been relatively popular in Minnesota to begin with, though.)

What caused the spike?

Beauty queen Jodell Stirmlinger, who represented Minnesota at the very first Miss USA pageant, held in June of 1952.

She wasn’t crowned Miss USA 1952, but she did place inside the top 10.

Interestingly, the Miss USA pageant — which does not require delegates to demonstrate a talent (e.g., singing, dancing, performing a monologue) — was founded by the Catalina swimsuit company, a former sponsor of the Miss America pageant. When Miss America 1951, Yolande Fox, refused to pose in Catalina swimsuits during the year of her reign, the company pulled its funding and launched a rival pageant.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Jodell?

P.S. The winner of Miss USA 1952, Jackie Loughery of New York, was married for several years to Jack Webb, the creator of shows like Dragnet, Adam-12, and Emergency! (which drew attention to the baby name Gage in the 1970s).


Image: Clipping from the Jackson Sun (25 Jun. 1952)

4 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Jodell a boost in 1952?

  1. Jodell is kind of cute, but certainly dated. It’s hard to imagine a little kid named Jodell in 2024.
    Beauty pageants are a great source of names. I love to look at those lists.

  2. Jodell sounds rural to me. I could easily imagine a Jodell living on a ranch or something.

    I’m glad you like the beauty pageant names — there are several more posts about pageant winners coming up over the next few months. :)

  3. I adore this website. It’s precisely the content my nerdy self loves.

    For some reason, I see the name Jodell and my brain pronounces it Yodel. At the same time, there’s something kinda retro/cute about the name.

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