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. (Names that aren’t links yet have posts coming soon!)
Louis Lee was born in 1921 to Chinese parents living in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was one of 13 children* and became multi-lingual while working at the family grocery store in Chinatown. His language skills came in handy later on, when he got a job as a Pan Am customer service representative.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Louis and his wife Lucille had a total of eight children, six boys and two girls. I don’t know the birth order, so I’ll list their names alphabetically:
Here are the name explanations I’ve found so far: Maycevene was born on May 7th (1946), Rytwin’s name was based on the phrase “right will win,” Taoward’s name was based on the phrase “going toward a goal,” and Worldster was born in late 1943 when the book One World by Wendell Willkie was popular.
*Louis’s siblings were named Anna, Daisy, Edith, Elizabeth, Elsie, Grace, James, Joseph, Lillian, Pansy, Violet, and William.
Here’s what I can tell you about some of the above: Jometh and Elionaid were inspired by the TV show Objetivo Fama; Andamo was inspired by the TV show Mr. Lucky; Maurkice was inspired by football player Maurkice Pouncey; Kimario was inspired by a mention in Ebony magazine; Willkie was inspired by politician Wendell Willkie; Amareion was inspired by singer Omarion; Ebay was inspired by the TV show Good Times; Brettly was inspired by the TV show American Restoration; Vadir was inspired by actor Vadhir Derbez; Travolta was inspired by actor John Travolta; Macarther was inspired by Douglas MacArthur; Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley.
Can you come up with explanations for any of the others?
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! Intriguing, no?
Below are the highest-charting, gender-specific, one-hit wonder names for every year on record before 2013. (We won’t know which 2013 names are one-hit wonders until later lists come out.) The format is: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.”
Most of us are probably not familiar with the name “Wendell Willkie,” but a number of babies were named Wendell, Willkie, or both in the early 1940s.
They were named in honor of politician Wendell Lewis Willkie, the liberal Republican who ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.
“His rise to political prominence was meteoric. Willkie astonishingly outstripped early favorite Thomas Dewey for the Republican candidacy and pulled more than 22 million votes in his bid to unseat FDR.”
Willkie may have lost the race, but he gained a number of namesakes:
Here are some Wendell Willkie namesakes that made the news:
Wendell Willkie Wiener, born in late June, 1940, to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard B. Wiener of Washington. “Wiener said he had been a Democrat but had decided to “switch over to Mr. Willkie–not the Republican party, just Mr. Willkie.””
Wendell Delano Barovich and Franklin Willkie Barovich, twins, born in mid-1940 to Mr. and Mrs. Vas Barovich of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “Mrs. Barovich is a Republican and her husband a loyal Democrat. She insisted that the baby be named Wendell Willkie if it happened to be a boy. Mr. Barovich was equally determined that it be named for the President.” They had twins, so they compromised.
Wendy Cuttita, Louise Cuttita and Willkie Cuttita, triplets (two girls and a boy) born on November 4, 1940 (election eve) to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Cuttita of New York City.
Willkie ended up becoming one of Roosevelt’s most unlikely allies, and he traveled around the world as FDR’s personal representative. Willkie wrote about these travels in his bestselling book One World (1943). The next year, at the age of 52, he died of a heart attack.
“Happy Compromise.” Palm Beach Post 13 Aug. 1940: 4.