Oh, Donna

When I was young, Donna was a quite fashionable name.  “Acceptable” – that was the lofty standard my parents were aiming for.  There were several Donnas in my class and my best friend then was a Donna.

But now the name is rarely given to babies now.

From government statistics I found the rise and fall of the name.  It first appeared in the 1920s ranking #104 for girls.  When I was born in the 1940s, it was up to #17.  Ritchie Valens sang “Donna”  in 1958.  The name peaked in the 1960s at #8.  It sunk to #64 in the 1970s and was never ranked again in the top 200.

So now I have an old fashioned name, like Bertha or Edith or Agatha would have been in my youth.  I hadn’t thought of myself as a Bertha, but that’s what others must hear when I say ‘Donna.’

I’m not at all upset.  I feel it puts me in a group of tough old women, like Flossie Beadle was when I was young.  She was a staunch defender of local history in my little town – I thought she was wonderful.  I’m happy to be in the ranks of Bertha and Flossie.


15 thoughts on “Oh, Donna

  1. Hah, it’s hard to think of Donna in the same way as Bertha! Donna and Linda were the names of the babysitters when I was a kid, so they were VERY cool. Flossie is actually an adorable name. If I had a baby now (at 61 hahahahaha) I might name her Flossie.


  2. I am of an age (70) that Donna doesn’t seem unusual or old-fashioned to me. I like it! I only knew one Donna that I can remember. The most popular girls’ names in my classes were Patricia and Diane; there were two or three of each in every class. My own name has always been troublesome, being “unique” — which is to say, weird. The advantage, I guess, is that there were never any duplicates, but oh how I hated roll call when we had a substitute teacher. I feel very sorry for all the kids these days whose parents give them “creative” names that will be mispronounced and misspelled and will need to be explained to people…forever.


  3. I only know an Agatha through her books (Christy), and Edith from All in the Family. I was talking to my daughter about girl names, and she loved the old ones like Olive, Grace, and Eula (all ancestor names in our family)–I think the old names have their unique charm and will come back. I like Donna. Mine is close at Dawn (mom liked the song, “Dawn, go away I’m no good for you”). It just may take a generation or two. I’m curious to see what the next few years of children will be named, Dawn


  4. And Emmeline Panckhurst, British political activist and leader of the suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. That sounds like “Donna” to me. 🙂


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