How popular is the baby name Juanita in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Juanita.

The graph will take a few moments to load. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take 9 months!) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the baby name Juanita


Posts that mention the name Juanita

What gave baby name Oveta a boost in 1953?

Government official Oveta Culp Hobby (1905-1995)
Oveta Culp Hobby (c. 1953)

According to the U.S. baby name data, the rare name Oveta saw its highest usage during the 1950s:

  • 1955: 11 baby girls named Oveta
  • 1954: 12 baby girls named Oveta
  • 1953: 14 baby girls named Oveta (peak usage)
  • 1952: 7 baby girls named Oveta
  • 1951: unlisted

Why?

My guess is Texas-born government official Oveta (pronounced oh-VEE-tuh) Culp Hobby.

In April of 1953, she was appointed by Dwight Eisenhower as the first secretary of the newly formed U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. This made Oveta the second woman to hold a U.S. Cabinet position. (The first was Frances Perkins, under FDR.)

Oveta was featured on the cover of Time magazine in May of 1953. The lengthy cover article included an explanation of Oveta’s unusual first name:

She was […] the second of Isaac and Emma Hoover Culp’s seven children. Her mother named her Oveta (an Indian word for forget) after a character in a romantic novel, and because it rhymed so pleasantly with Juanita, the name of the first Culp daughter.

She served in the Eisenhower administration until mid-1955. After resigning, she returned to her home in Houston to work as president of the Houston Post Company. (Her husband, William P. Hobby — Oveta’s senior by close to 27 years — was chairman of the board of directors at the Post.)

Interestingly, Oveta may have influenced U.S. baby names a decade earlier as well. In 1942, after a short absence, her name re-emerged in the data with a relatively high number of babies:

  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: 6 baby girls named Oveta
  • 1942: 10 baby girls named Oveta
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

That was the year she was sworn in as the the first director of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), which was created in May — about five months after the attack on Pearl Harbor — “to enable women to serve in noncombat positions” during World War II.

What are your thoughts on the name Oveta?

Sources:

Image: Oveta (Culp) Hobby (LOC)

Where did the baby names Juandalynn and Donzaleigh come from in 1970?

Donzaleigh and Juandalynn Abernathy with parents (Ralph and Juanita) and brother (Ralph), circa 1969
Donzaleigh and Juandalynn Abernathy with family

The names Donzaleigh and Juandalynn were both one-hit wonders in the U.S. baby name data in 1970:

Girls named JuandalynnGirls named Donzaleigh
1972..
1971..
197013*9*
1969..
1968..
*Debut

Where did they come from?

Juandalynn and Donzaleigh Abernathy — the daughters of civil rights activist and Baptist minister Ralph Abernathy (1926-1990).

Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr., co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the late 1950s, following the Montgomery bus boycott (which they helped organize). King was the first president of the SCLC, but Abernathy assumed the role after King was assassinated in April of 1968.

In 1969 and 1970 — when Abernathy was in the spotlight as the new SCLC president — African American magazines like Jet and Ebony ran photos of the Abernathy family, which included Ralph, his wife Juanita, and their middle three children:

  • Juandalynn Ralpheda (b. 1954)
  • Donzaleigh Avis (b. 1957)
  • Ralph David III (b. 1959)

(Their oldest, Ralph David Jr., had died two days after birth in 1953. Their youngest, Kwame Luthuli, wasn’t born until the early 1970s.)

Juandalynn’s first and middle names were clearly inspired by her parents’ names, but I don’t know how Donzaleigh’s name was coined.

What are your thoughts on the names Juandalynn and Donzaleigh? Which one do you like more?

Sources:

Image: © 1970 Ebony

Baby born on bridge, named Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

On October 27, 1945, Mrs. Juanita Dunlop gave birth to a baby boy while traveling in an ambulance across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“At the time Mrs. Dunlop said that she would not give the baby any fancy names,” but her husband later decided that he wanted to add the word “bridge” to the baby’s name.

So their son was christened Robert Bridge in late December at the Methodist Church in Manly, New South Wales.

The Dunlops’ two older children, both boys, were named Stephen and Richard.

Source: “Baby Named After Bridge Birthplace.” The Sun [Sydney, Australia] 23 Dec 1945: 6.

Image: Sydney Harbour Bridge by Diego Delso under CC BY-SA 3.0.

What gave the baby name Troylene a boost?

Candy Barr and daughter Troylene, 1963
Candy Barr & Troylene, 1963

The rare name Troylene has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just three times total. It debuted in 1951, then popped up again twice in the 1960s:

  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: 5 baby girls named Troylene
  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: 13 baby girls named Troylene [peak]
    • 6 born in California
  • 1962: unlisted
  • […unlisted…]
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 5 baby girls named Troylene [debut]
  • 1950: unlisted

The peak usage in 1963 is easy to explain, so we’ll start there.

In the early ’60s, Dallas burlesque dancer “Candy Barr” (birth name: Juanita Dale Slusher) served over three years of a fifteen-year prison sentence for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Just after she was released in April of 1963, a few photographs of Candy and her 7-year-old daughter Troylene ran in the newspapers. (Troylene’s father was Candy’s second husband, Troy Phillips.)

…So that explains the ’60s. What about the ’50s?

The reason for the debut is trickier to pinpoint — and there may not be a specific reason at all. (“Troylene” may have emerged organically as a variant of trendy names like Darlene and Charlene.)

That said, I do have two theories:

  • First, a New Mexico cowgirl named Troylene Boykin (b. 1943). She participated in various kids’ rodeos during the early ’50s, so her name periodically popped up in Southern newspapers starting around 1951. (Sadly, Troylene Boykin died of a heart ailment in 1956.)
  • Second, a Texas baby named Zanneta Troylene McKnight (b. 1951). Her twin brother, Clifton Troyce McKnight, was born with an “upside down” stomach (congenital diaphragmatic hernia) and required major surgery soon after they were born in mid-November. They were both highlighted in the local news at that time.

It’s interesting to note that most of the 20th-century Troylenes I found records for were born in Texas, and a good number of them had fathers named Troy. The twins’ father was a Troy, for instance.

What do you think of the baby name Troylene?

Sources:

  • Cartwright, Gary. “Say “Cheesecake”.” Texas Monthly Jan. 1986: 280.
  • “Winters Baby’s ‘Upside Down’ Stomach Set Right by Surgery.” Abilene Reporter-News 8 Dec. 1951: 25.