How popular is the baby name Calamity in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Calamity.
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Oklahoma-born country singer Reba McEntire is one of four siblings:
Alice, b. 1951
Del Stanley, “Pake” (rhymes with rake), b. 1953
Reba Nell, b. 1955
Martha Susan, “Susie,” b. 1957
Reba was named after her maternal grandmother, but the story of Pake’s nickname is a bit more interesting. Here’s how their mother Jacqueline starts the story:
Our oldest daughter, Alice, was named “Pedro Joe” long before her birth. Her father, Clark [veteran rodeo cowboy and inductee in the Rodeo Hall of Fame], would often write home on the road because we didn’t have a phone.
He’d say, “How is Pedro Joe?” and, if I knew where he was going to be, I’d write back to the next rodeo he was entering and tell the prospective father that he was just fine. Well, when the baby came, she was a little girl. End of Pedro Joe.
The same thing happened with their second child, who was called “Pecos Pete” or “Pake” before he was born. In his case, though, the name was retained. The formal name his parents chose for him was Del Stanley (after rodeo stars Del Haverty and Stanley Gomez), but the birth certificate reads: “Del Stanley (Pake).”
The McEntire’s in utero nicknaming tradition wasn’t carried on with Reba or Susie.
Pake went on to have three daughters: Autumn (born on the first day of autumn), Calamity (named after frontierswoman Calamity Jane), and Chism (named after cattle baron John Chisum).
Sharpe, Jerry. “Pake McEntire heads for success on his own.” Pittsburgh Press 1 Jun. 1986: 101.
Smith, Lisa. “Pake McEntire” Gavin Report August 8, 1986: 39.
Here are some of the baby names that didn’t make the cut: Boomer, Bub, Bubber, Calamity, Cookie, Dainty, Danger, Demon, Fancy, Fester, Jinx, Less, Little, Manly, Notorious, Phuc, Pleasure, Rage, Riot, Savage, Sherlock, Sparky, Tarzan, Tiny.
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Seeing her grave reminded me that I’d come across a handful U.S. women named “Calamity Jane” or “Calamity J,” most born in the mid-1950s. Also that I’d seen the name Calamity pop up on the SSA’s list twice that decade:
1957: 8 baby girls named Calamity
1956: 11 baby girls named Calamity [debut]
The cause? At first I thought it was the 1953 movie Calamity Jane, but I couldn’t explain that gap between the movie’s release and the name’s rise in usage.
Then I discovered the short-lived TV show Buffalo Bill, Jr. (1955–1956), which featured a 12-year-old tomboy character named after the historical Calamity Jane (just as her older brother was named after the historical Buffalo Bill).