Last week, two women named Tammy won elections. One was Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, elected to the U.S. Senate. The other was Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Do you think this could be enough to revive the baby name Tammy?
The name started popping up on the SSA’s baby name list in the 1930s, was in the top 1,000 by the late 1940s, and was extremely popular by the late 1950s:
- 1961: 15,527 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 28th]
- 1960: 14,311 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 31st]
- 1959: 13,707 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 31st]
- 1958: 9,981 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 44th]
- 1957: 4,361 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 107th]
- 1956: 261 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 583rd]
- 1955: 192 baby girls named Tammy [rank: 677th]
What caused the surge in popularity?
The 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor, and its memorable theme song “Tammy.”
The film and song popularized not just the name Tammy, but a slew of other Tam-names as well, including Tambra, Tamela, Tamera, Tami, Tamie, Tammi, Tammie, Tamra, Tamara, and Tambrey (the real name of the film’s main character).
The name Tammy stayed popular through the ’60s, thanks to two more Tammy films (1961 & 1963) and a short-lived TV series (1965-1966). It was one of the top ten baby girl names in the nation in 1964 and from 1966 to 1971. (Tammy Baldwin was born in 1962, Tammy Duckworth in 1968.)
After that, Tammy began sinking. It dropped out of the top 100 in 1981, out of the top 1,000 in 1992, and continues to fall every year:
- 2011: 58 baby girls named Tammy
- 2010: 69 baby girls named Tammy
- 2009: 96 baby girls named Tammy
- 2008: 120 baby girls named Tammy
Do you think the national coverage of Tammy Baldwin and Tammy Duckworth in 2012 could reverse this trend? (Even if just for a year?)
P.S. The song “Tammy” was composed by the same songwriters who created “Que Sera, Sera.”