The name Dhana first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1960s:
1966: 12 baby girls named Dhana
1965: 26 baby girls named Dhana
1964: 23 baby girls named Dhana [debut]
Where did it come from?
A character named Dhana (pronounced DAH-nah) from the 1964 movie The 7th Dawn.
The film is set in British Malaya during the 1950s, against the backdrop of the guerrilla war being fought between Malaysian Communists (who want an independent socialist state) and the British military (who want to protect British colonial interests).
Dhana Mercier (played by French actress Capucine), who has been living peacefully in Malaya since the end of WWII, gets caught up in the conflict unwittingly.
The 7th Dawn was based on the book The Durian Tree (1960) by Australian writer Michael Keon.
Interestingly, the name Dhana debuted the same year that the similar-looking name Djuna debuted. Which of these two names do you prefer?
These baby names are one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data. That is, they’ve only popped up once, ever, in the entire dataset of U.S. baby names (which accounts for all names given to at least 5 U.S. babies per year since 1880).
There are thousands of one-hit wonders in the dataset, but the names below have interesting stories behind their single appearance, so these are the one-hits I’m writing specific posts about. Just click on a name to read more.
I haven’t a clue. The very first Djuna seems to be writer Djuna Barnes (1892-1982), but I don’t think she made any headlines in the 1960s.
The name was also used in a bunch Ellery Queen novels, but that Djuna was a boy. (And the books were published in the ’40s and ’50s, mostly.)
Olympian Wilma Rudolph named her baby girl Djuana in mid-1964. This may have contributed to the surge in usage. But many (most?) of the Djunas and Djuanas I’ve seen so far were born during the first half of the year, so it can’t be the main cause.
Do you guys have any ideas?
UPDATE: We worked together to figure out that the answer was TV character Djuna Phrayne, who was featured on a single episode of the TV series Channing. Thank you, everyone!