How popular is the baby name Rheata 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 Rheata.

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Popularity of the baby name Rheata


Posts that mention the name Rheata

What gave the baby name Rheta a boost in the 1930s?

Chicago murder victim Rheta G. Wynekoop (1910-1933)
Rheta G. Wynekoop

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Rheta saw an impressive spike in usage in the 1930s:

  • 1936: 37 baby girls named Rheta
  • 1935: 61 baby girls named Rheta
  • 1934: 151 baby girls named Rheta (peak usage)
  • 1933: 81 baby girls named Rheta
  • 1932: 20 baby girls named Rheta

Here’s a graph showing the sharp rise of Rheta in 1933 and 1934:

Popularity graph of the baby name Rheta in the U.S.
Usage of the baby name Rheta

(The spelling Rheata was also a one-hit wonder in 1934.)

So what caused this sudden interest in the name Rheta?

A murder in Chicago!

On November 21, 1933, the body of a 23-year-old woman named Rheta G. Wynekoop was found — chloroformed, partially undressed, and shot to death — on an operating table inside the office of respected female physician Alice Wynekoop, who also happened to be Rheta’s mother-in-law.

The office was located in the basement of Alice’s sizeable Chicago residence, which Alice shared with Rheta and her husband Earle (as well as with various boarders).

Rheta, a violinist originally from Indianapolis, had been married to Earle Wynekoop for four years.

On November 23, both Alice and Earle were arrested.

Earle — who didn’t have a job, but did have multiple paramours (several of whom were named in the newspapers) — confessed to committing the crime. Soon after, though, it was determined that he had an alibi. (He’d been on a trip to Kansas City with a friend at the time of the murder.)

His false confession was an attempt to protect his 62-year-old mother, who (he knew) had taken out a double indemnity life insurance policy on Rheta two weeks earlier.

Alice — despite having an annual income, and owning a large home — was sinking into debt.

Not only that, but at least four other family members and friends had died under Alice’s care, in her “gloomy mansion,” in recent years. Alice’s otherwise healthy husband Frank, for instance, died suddenly in 1929. (His estate was worth $75,000.) And Alice’s close friend Catherine Porter died in 1932. (Alice claimed all the money in their joint bank account, and also inherited Porter’s 100-acre farm.)

On November 25, Rheta Wynekoop’s funeral took place in Indianapolis.

Huge bronze and yellow chrysanthemums, which might have graced the beauty of Rheta Gardner Wynekoop on the concert stage, bowed their heads as if in sorrow this morning while more than 1,000 persons filed slowly past her casket.

On November 30, Dr. Alice Wynekoop was indicted.

Her first trial began on January 15, 1934. It was declared a mistrial four days later due to Alice’s poor health.

Her second trial began on February 19 and lasted more than two weeks.

In early March, the jury returned a guilty verdict. Alice was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of her daughter-in-law.

Soon after, the story of Rheta Wynekoop’s murder was recounted in various true crime magazines, such as Real Detective (in April) and Bernarr Macfadden‘s True Detective Mysteries (in May).

What are your thoughts on the name Rheta?

P.S. I have a hunch that this incident also inspired the cartoonist behind Mandrake the Magician to name one of his comic strip characters Rheeta in early 1935…

Sources:

Image: Clipping from the Brownsville Herald (26 Nov. 1933)

Interesting one-hit wonder names in the U.S. baby name data

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They came, they went, and they never came back!

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.

2020s

  • 2020: Jexi

2010s

2000s

1990s

1980s

1970s

1960s

1950s

1940s

1930s

1920s

1910s

1900s

  • (none yet)

1890s

As I discover (and write about) more one-hit wonders in the data, I’ll add the names/links to this page. In the meanwhile, do you have any favorite one-hit wonder baby names?

Image: Adapted from Solitary Poppy by Andy Beecroft under CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Latest update: Apr. 2024]

Top one-hit wonder baby names in the U.S. data, 1880 to today

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The Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list only includes names given to 5 or more U.S. babies, of either one gender or the other, per year.

Most rare names never make the list, but a select group have appeared a single time. I like to call these the one-hit wonder baby names.

One-hit wonders tend to pop up with a relatively low number of babies — 5 or 6 — but a handful are given to dozens of babies…only to disappear again the next year! Pretty intriguing, right?

Below are the highest-charting, gender-specific, one-hit wonder names since 1880. The format is: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.”

  • 1880: none; Merida, 5
  • 1881: Zilpah, 9; Roll, 5
  • 1882: none; none
  • 1883: none; none
  • 1884: none; none
  • 1885: Lelie, 5; Ng & Sip, 5
  • 1886: Ottillie, 5; none
  • 1887: none; Pembroke, 5
  • 1888: Etelka & Pantha, 5; Bengiman, 5
  • 1889: Litta & Roxa, 5; Edw & Profit, 5
  • 1890: Modeste, 8; none
  • 1891: Dorilla & Euphemie, 5; Navajo, 5
  • 1892: none; Whitelaw & Wint, 5
  • 1893: Hedwige, 7; Pomp, 5
  • 1894: Onezia, 5; Bess, 5
  • 1895: Isal, 7; none
  • 1896: Phenie, 5; none
  • 1897: Phronie, 5; Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Maine, 9; Schley, 10
  • 1899: Pellie, 5; none
  • 1900: Henrettia & Ursule, 6; Bruster, 5
  • 1901: Kinnie, 5; none
  • 1902: Azema & Lelea, 5; none
  • 1903: Pheobie, 7; none
  • 1904: Berthal, 6; none
  • 1905: Mintha, 5; Pioet, 5
  • 1906: Nellda, Ocey & Clevia, 5; none
  • 1907: Leecy, Odra & Oklahoma, 5; Lanham, 6
  • 1908: Artena, Essye, Malvie & Oshie, 5; none
  • 1909: Argatha, 5; none
  • 1910: Leneve, 7; Capus, 5
  • 1911: Gaither, 6; Caro & Lavette, 5
  • 1912: Gustina, Iras, Leavy & Senona, 6; Edlow, 7
  • 1913: Nixola & Oleane, 6; Gaillard & Rumsey, 6
  • 1914: Vica, 8; Secondo, 9
  • 1915: Desda & Vonie, 8; Zygmond, 10
  • 1916: Alvene, Bleeker, Cloteen, Deelda, Duffie, Iota, Maggielean, Matrona, Mealie, Mishie, Ortrude, Sirkka, Truma, Valasta, Valesta, Valrea & Ysobel, 6; Hafford, 9
  • 1917: Florenz & Lutrelle, 9; Annis, Clermont, Loddie, Onslow, Rosswell & Runar, 7
  • 1918: Theophila, 10; Hobby, 9
  • 1919: Johnniemae, 9; Lorrain, 10
  • 1920: Dardenella, 9; Mosby, 9
  • 1921: Garnelle, 11; Ive, 9
  • 1922: Donaldine, 12; Crafton, 9
  • 1923: Giovina & Varena, 8; Arbon, Birchel & Wolcott, 7
  • 1924: Klyda, 10; Modell, 9
  • 1925: Ivaline & Valoyce, 8; Evell & Walford, 8
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Lafon & Nola, 9
  • 1927: Genena, Milarain & Seroba, 8; Dalhart, Junor, Maclyn & Mutsuo, 8
  • 1928: Boneva, Geane, Lenard, Loeda & Louvene, 7; Dormon, Hearman, Hover & Shoso, 7
  • 1929: Miladeen, 9; Edsol, 8
  • 1930: Earnease, Lunelle, Magnola & Rhoena, 6; Elice, 7
  • 1931: Dixianna & Vergean, 7; Leroyce, 7
  • 1932: Dolorese, 9; Mannon, 7
  • 1933: Garnieta, 8; Vondal, 7
  • 1934: Delaris, Derene, Ervene, Myrline & Rheata, 6; Cardis, Carloss, Cleophes, Dockie, Exie, Pettus & Shelvie, 6
  • 1935: Nerita, 14; Deuel, 8
  • 1936: Arolyn & Verilea, 7; Rolyn, 8
  • 1937: Noreda, 17; Seavy, 6
  • 1938: Clione, 16; Dall & Vallee, 6
  • 1939: Melsa, 9; Karrol, 7
  • 1940: Lindola, 13; Willkie, 13
  • 1941: Shirey, 7; Saford, 11
  • 1942: Arvina, Floranne, Kaaran & Roine, 6; Macarther, 10
  • 1943: Jerdine, 7; Deming, Dilworth, Eugne, Keener, Rhodell, Rothwell & Sammul, 5
  • 1944: Carolsue, 11; Condy, Hennry, Lemmon & Persell, 5
  • 1945: Diedri, 10; Kermon, 6
  • 1946: Darlia, 13; Cotis, Dowl, Lohn, Rouldph, Royace, Sherryl, Speedy & Trudy, 5
  • 1947: Junellen, 12; Brookie; 7
  • 1948: Gwyned, 9; Beasley, 6
  • 1949: Jerrilyne, 9; Bradbury, Bradfield, Buckey, Hubie, Jubentino, Kurth, Nickola, Varnum & Waynne, 5
  • 1950: Gladystine, 9; Cresenciano, Frosty & Thurnell, 6
  • 1951: Glenalee & Lynnis, 9; Bronnie & Marvine, 8
  • 1952: Charliss, 7; Gevan, 12
  • 1953: Judalon, 11; Credell, Larrey & Uldis, 7
  • 1954: Lilette & Ufemia, 7; Corneall, Danail, Derf, Luann & Michie, 6
  • 1955: Dainette, 14; Christophel, 9
  • 1956: Tirrell, 13; Auddie & Naymon, 7
  • 1957: Theonita, 17; Melivn, 7
  • 1958: Deedy & Lanor, 8; Brete, 7
  • 1959: Carmelyn, 8; Tomm, 8
  • 1960: Devy, 27; Andamo, 15
  • 1961: Shurla, 17; Jefre, 21
  • 1962: Perette, 16; Daphne & Schell, 7
  • 1963: Chrysanne, 12; Darrayl & Daryell, 8
  • 1964: Deeneen, 12; Deneen & Kenndy, 7
  • 1965: Timolyn, 9; Alfonson & Marichal, 8
  • 1966: Agena, 15; Alfy, 15
  • 1967: Malette, 20; Antal, 8
  • 1968: Ondina, 15; Berto, Christoopher, Deith, Mardi, Redginald & Yoram, 6
  • 1969: Dameron, 15; Shoan, 9
  • 1970: Dardi, 14; Cosmos, 9
  • 1971: Anjanet, 9; Demea, 12
  • 1972: Tyhessia, 17; Christerphor, 8
  • 1973: Desheila, 18; Chandar, 13
  • 1974: Charnissa, 32; Sirica, 8
  • 1975: Russchelle, 24; Darweshi, Tchalla & Unborn, 8
  • 1976: Norlisha, 16; Lebrone, 8
  • 1977: Kashka, 16; Ebay, 12
  • 1978: Kushana, 23; Quarterrio & Travolta, 11
  • 1979: Kitzie, 27; Dilanjan & Terdell, 13
  • 1980: Nykeba, 26; Kimario, 13
  • 1981: Tijwana, 18; Cetric & Dharmesh, 8
  • 1982: Ebelina, 11; Chachi & Chezarae, 9
  • 1983: Shadava, 25; Tio, 12
  • 1984: Meghaan, 36; Quisto & Ragene, 9
  • 1985: Miceala, 16; Sophan, 8
  • 1986: Shaquenta, 13; Sarith, 11
  • 1987: Condola & Shayeeda, 12; Calbe, 9
  • 1988: Armisha, 16; Nattiel, 10
  • 1989:
    • Alexandr, 301; Christop, 1082 (glitch names)
    • Cesilie, 10; Madeleine, 10 (non-glitch names)
  • 1990: Jakkia & Shawnic, 16; Pajtim, 13
  • 1991: Deangelis & Jeniqua, 13; Quaysean, 11
  • 1992: Caleesha, 17; Kendrae, 11
  • 1993: Solmaira, 15; Shanquille, 9
  • 1994: Mccaela, 20; Dontonio, 11
  • 1995: Shieda, 14; Jamiroquan, 13
  • 1996: Sidea, 13; Jervontae, 12
  • 1997: Jachai, 10; Asbiel & Daytwon, 9
  • 1998: Rosisela, 14; Tamija, 14
  • 1999: Ukari, 16; Tyreace, 9
  • 2000: Daebreon & Jadakiss, 13; Zaykeese, 13
  • 2001: Joharis, 12; Kya, 13
  • 2002: Eshanti, 27; Albieri, 12
  • 2003: Saribel, 22; Amareion, 12
  • 2004: Janayra, 12; Mikayla & Quanye, 11
  • 2005: Milenka, 13; Johnbenedict, 14
  • 2006: Sarela, 26; Sunel, 14
  • 2007: Aidsa & Madelis, 30; Joset, 11
  • 2008: Yaindhi, 29; Jometh, 23
  • 2009: Shastelyn, 34; Tyten, 11
  • 2010: Rossibell, 17; Coopar, 14
  • 2011: Jocell, 31; Maurkice, 13
  • 2012: Jeiza, 12; Chander, Drexton, Dristan, Elimelec, Hadeed, Khodee & Vardhan, 8
  • 2013: Jennicka, 15; Jaiceion, 11
  • 2014: Hannaley, 21; Zacardi, 11
  • 2015: Nadyalee, 17; Jersen, 21

See anything interesting?

Some of the above — Narice (1926), Saford (1941), Gevan (1952) and Jefre (1961) — are also on the top debuts list.

P.S. I’ll come back every few years and update this list with the most recent pairs of names. In the meanwhile, for more one-hit wonder content, check out this list of interesting one-hit wonder baby names

Image: Adapted from Solitary Poppy by Andy Beecroft under CC BY-SA 2.0.