The curious name Dwala first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1942: 1944: unlisted 1943: 11 baby girls named Dwala 1942: 15 baby girls named Dwala [debut] 1941: unlisted 1940: unlisted Despite the fact that it one of the highest-debuting baby names of the year, Dwala only remained in the data for one […]

Illustration of piano player Dwala Graves
Dwala Graves

The curious name Dwala first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1942:

  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: 11 baby girls named Dwala
  • 1942: 15 baby girls named Dwala [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

Despite the fact that it one of the highest-debuting baby names of the year, Dwala only remained in the data for one more year before dropping out again.

Where did it come from?

A pint-sized piano player named Dwala Jeaniene Graves from Norfolk, Nebraska.

In January of 1942, as a nine-year-old, her unique skills were highlighted in the nationally syndicated Ripley’s Believe It or Not newspaper panel. The panel said that Dwala “plays the piano and tap dances at the same time while blindfolded and wearing mittens.”

Illustration of piano player Dwala Graves
Dwala Graves

In September of 1942, she was a guest on the popular Hobby Lobby radio show hosted by Dave Elman. She did the blindfolded/mitten-wearing/tap-dancing thing again, plus this time she also performed “while sitting on the floor with her head under the keyboard.”

Though the name Dwala didn’t stay in the data long, Dwala Graves herself continued to perform, both on radio and in concert, throughout the ’40s and at least halfway into the ’50s.

After that, she married and had three daughters named Cala, Jeaniene, and Darla.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Dwala

P.S. Dwala had younger twin siblings named Doy Royce (boy) and Devon Renee (girl).

Sources:

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