Because of the coming-of-age film The Last Picture Show, which was released in October of 1971.
The film, shot in black-and-white upon the advice of Orson Welles, was set in north Texas in the early 1950s. One of the main characters was Jacy Farrow (played by Cybill Shepherd), who was both the prettiest and the wealthiest girl in the small town of Anarene.
The Last Picture Show was one of the highest-grossing films of 1971, and ended up with eight Oscar nominations (and two wins — for supporting actor Ben Johnson and supporting actress Cloris Leachman).
The movie was based on the 1966 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, who was also the writer behind the movie Hud.
The name Jacy saw another rise in usage in the early 1990s, possibly because The Last Picture Show‘s sequel, Texasville, came out in mid-1990.
In February of 1942, a baby boy was born to Lura and Alfred Bowles of Carswell, West Virginia.
What did they name him?
Larry Allen — after Associated Press war correspondent Laurence Edmund “Larry” Allen, the “sea-going Associated Press war correspondent whose experiences with the British fleet in the Mediterranean [had] thrilled millions of newspaper readers” a month earlier.
Those “blow-by-blow action stories of Mediterranean warfare” were so thrilling in fact that, several months later, 33-year-old Larry Allen won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
Interestingly, journalist Larry Allen was born (in 1908) with the name Lawrence Finzel. He was named after his father Lawrence Finzel, a “world champion coal miner.” As a teenager, “[d]etermined to carve out his own unique identity,” he altered the spelling of his first name. Sometime in the 1930s, after working in newspapers for several years, he changed his name again — adopting the surname Allen, and publishing stories under the nom de plume “Larry Allen.” (I’m not sure if the middle name Edmund was given at birth or added later on.)
Morwenna might be from the most recent adaptation of Poldark. (Supporting evidence: the name Demelza returned to the data a few years ago.)
The girl names that saw the largest decreases in usage in terms of absolute numbers of babies were…
Harper, decreased by 1,686 babies
The girl name that saw the largest decrease in usage in terms of relative numbers of babies was Diala (-81%), and the girl name that saw the steepest drop off the list was Yarishna (from 28 babies in 2019 to fewer than 5 in 2020).
If you can explain any of the rises (or drops), please leave a comment!
Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.
Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.
I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.