How popular is the baby name Eden 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 Eden.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Eden


Posts that Mention the Name Eden

More Literary Baby Names: Alayne, Jalna, Renny

baby name, alayne, book, movie, 1920s, 1930s
Alayne Archer, character in the movie Jalna (1935)

Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche found fame in her late 40s when her third novel, Jalna, won first prize (and $10,000) in the first “Atlantic Novel Contest” in 1927. The book was serialized in Atlantic Monthly, then released as a standalone volume.

The book’s main characters were members of the prosperous Whiteoak family. They lived at an estate in southern Ontario called Jalna. The estate had been built by family patriarch Capt. Philip Whiteoak, a retired officer of the British Army in India. He’d named it “Jalna” after the garrison town in India where he’d met his Irish wife, Adeline.

The book was a top-10 bestseller in the U.S. in both 1927 and 1928. It was such a big commercial success that the author kept writing novels about the Whiteoaks. She ended up with a total of 16 books, now known as the “Whiteoak Chronicles,” which cover four generations (1850s-1950s) of the fictional family.

Many of de la Roche’s character names — which included Finch, Pheasant, and Wakefield/”Wake” — came directly from from gravestones in Ontario’s Newmarket cemetery.

Given the popularity of the book, and the distinctiveness of the character names, it’s not too surprising that Jalna had an influence on U.S. baby name data in the ’20s and ’30s…

Alayne

Character Alayne Archer was introduced in Jalna when Eden Whiteoak, an aspiring poet, traveled to New York City to meet with a publisher. Alayne was the publisher’s assistant, and she and Eden became romantically involved.

The debut of the baby name Alayne in 1929 was due to the much-anticipated follow-up book, Whiteoaks of Jalna — specifically, to the book reviews that ran in newspapers throughout the U.S. during the second half of 1929. Many of them mentioned Alayne.

  • 1937: 19 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1936: 23 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1935: 16 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1934: 9 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1933: 5 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1932: 5 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1931: 9 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1930: 7 baby girls named Alayne
  • 1929: 11 baby girls named Alayne [debut]
  • 1928: unlisted

Notice how usage rose during the mid-1930s. This was due to a related reason: the movie Jalna (1935), which was based on the first book and featured actress Kay Johnson as Alayne. (By 1935, five of the 16 books were out.)

Jalna & Renny

The year after the movie came out, two more Jalna-inspired names emerged in the data. One was Jalna itself, which didn’t stick around long:

  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: 9 baby girls named Jalna
  • 1936: 6 baby girls named Jalna [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted

(You could compare to Jalna to Tara, the plantation in Gone with the Wind.)

The other was Renny, from Eden’s half-brother Renny Whiteoak, who became Alayne’s love interest after Alayne and Eden grew apart.

  • 1941: 8 baby boys named Renny
  • 1939: 5 baby boys named Renny
  • 1937: 8 baby boys named Renny
  • 1936: 9 baby boys named Renny [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted

Another factor that could have given Renny a boost that year was the fifth book in the series, Young Renny, which focused on that character specifically.

…So how did Mazo de la Roche come by her own unique name?

She was born “Mazo Louise Roche” in Ontario in 1879. She added the “de la” not (necessarily) to sound noble, but to reflect the historical spelling of the family name. And here’s what she said in her autobiography about her first name:

When my father saw me he said to my mother, “Let me name this one and you may name all the others.” And so he named me and there were never any others. Mazo had been the name of a girl to whom he once had been attached.

For more baby names inspired by old books, check out the posts on Trilby and on Nedra, Gerane, Doraine, etc.

Sources:

111 Minimalist Baby Names

minimalist, short, trendy, baby names

Years ago, I wrote a post with some naming tips for minimalists. But — as Abby of Appellation Mountain astutely pointed this out in her comment to that post — “minimalism” as applied to baby names could be about capturing a namestyle just as much as it could be about reflecting a lifestyle.

So today I’m giving minimalism another go. This time around, though, it’ll be a list of baby names that fall somewhere between short/simple and modern/stylish.

All of these names have made gains recently (Hank and Linus included!). For more details on usage, click through to see the popularity graphs.

  1. Ace
  2. Amal
  3. Amna
  4. Amos
  5. Ander
  6. Ansel
  7. Ari
  8. Arlo
  9. Asa
  10. Asher
  11. Aspen
  12. Atlas
  13. Avi
  14. Aziz
  15. Azra
  16. Beck
  17. Clio
  18. Colt
  19. Cora
  20. Dash
  21. Dax
  22. Dean
  23. Demi
  24. Eden
  25. Elon
  26. Ember
  27. Ender
  28. Enzo
  29. Esme
  30. Ever
  31. Ezra
  32. Felix
  33. Ford
  34. Fox
  35. Gaia
  36. Halo
  37. Hank
  38. Haven
  39. Hawk
  40. Honor
  41. Huck
  42. Hugo
  43. Idris
  44. Io
  45. Juno
  46. Kai
  47. King
  48. Koa
  49. Lane
  50. Lark
  51. Leo
  52. Lev
  53. Levi
  54. Linus
  55. Liv
  56. Loki
  57. Lola
  58. Lotus
  59. Luca
  60. Luna
  61. Lux
  62. Mia
  63. Milo
  64. Mina
  65. Mira
  66. Nala
  67. Nara
  68. Nash
  69. Neo
  70. Nico
  71. Nola
  72. Noor
  73. Nora
  74. Nova
  75. Ori
  76. Orla
  77. Orli
  78. Pax
  79. Reem
  80. Remy
  81. Rex
  82. Rio
  83. Riva
  84. Ronan
  85. Rory
  86. Rush
  87. Sage
  88. Sia
  89. Silas
  90. Sky
  91. Sol
  92. Soren
  93. Taj
  94. Tesla
  95. Thea
  96. Theo
  97. Thor
  98. Titan
  99. Titus
  100. Valor
  101. Vida
  102. West
  103. Zane
  104. Zelda
  105. Zen
  106. Zia
  107. Zion
  108. Ziv
  109. Ziva
  110. Zola
  111. Zora

What are your thoughts on minimalist-style baby names? Will you be using one? (Have you used one already?)

Name Quotes #61: Madeleine, Tim, Clara

It’s the first Monday of the month, so it’s time for some name quotes!

From a Vice interview with Jeff Goldblum:

Vice: Amazing. That’s Charlie Ocean right?

Jeff: Yeah that’s Charlie Ocean! And then our other son [with wife Emilie Livingston, a Canadian aerialist, actress, and former Olympian] who’s now 11 months old is River Joe.

Vice: Any musical streaks in either of them yet?

Jeff: I’ve always sat at the piano these last couple years with Charlie Ocean and he kinda bangs around. But I must say, River Joe, when I play or we put on music, boy he’s just standing up at this point, but he rocks to the music and bounces up and down. He seems to really like it so maybe he’s musical. I’d like to play with them.

(I am fascinated by the fact that the boys aren’t simply Charlie and Joe. Clearly the water aspect of each name requires emphasis every time.)

From the essay Forgetting the Madeleine, written by pastry chef Frances Leech:

In reality, I was named for two grandmothers: Jenny Frances and Lucy Madeleine. However, when I introduce myself at baking classes, I lie.

“My parents named me after the most famous pastry in French literature.”

It is a good name for a pâtissier, a pastry chef, and a good story to tell. The mnemonic sticks in my students’ minds, and after three hours and four cakes made together, they remember me as Madeleine and not Frances. Stories make for powerful anchors, even when the truth is twisted for dramatic effect.

From an article about chef Auguste Escoffier, who named his dishes after the rich and famous:

Escoffier came up with thousands of new recipes, many of which he served at London’s Savoy Hotel and the Paris Ritz. Some were genuine leaps of ingenuity, others a twist on a classic French dish. Many carry someone else’s name. In early dishes, these are often historical greats: Oeufs Rossini, for the composer; Consommé Zola, for the writer; Omelette Agnès Sorel, for the mistress of Charles VII. Later on, however, Escoffier made a habit of giving dishes the handles of people who, in their day, were virtual household names: An entire choir of opera singers’ names are to be found in Escoffier’s cookery books. The most famous examples are likely Melba toast and Peach Melba, for the Australian opera singer Nellie Melba, though there are hundreds of others.

An essay about the plight of people named Tim, by Tim Dowling:

A lot of baggage comes with the name Tim. I have not forgotten Martin Amis’s 20-year-old description of Tim Henman as “the first human being called Tim to achieve anything at all”. More recently Will Self wrote: “There’s little doubt that your life chances will be constrained should your otherwise risk-averse parents have had the temerity to Tim you.” This was in a review of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, the many faults of which Self put down to founder Tim Martin never being able “to escape the fact of his Timness”.

[…]

Amis and Self believe the poor showing of Tims is the result of nominative determinism: the name Tim carries expectations of inconsequentiality that anyone so christened will eventually come to embody. Gallingly, research suggests they may be right.

From an article about Spanish babies being named after soccer players’ babies:

This was clearly shown when Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s first son Thiago was born to partner Antonella Roccuzzo in November 2012. That year the name Thiago did not appear in the Top 100 boys names given to babies in Spain, according to Spain’s National Statistics Agency [INE].

[…]

Something similar happened when Mateo Messi was born in Sep 2015. In just 12 months Mateo climbed from 14th to 9th most popular name among Spanish parents. Ciro Messi, born in March this year, will surely see the originally Persian name break into the top 100.

From an article about UC Berkeley student (and mom) Natalie Ruiz:

Doe Library’s North Reading Room became Ruiz’s haven. “It was one of the few quiet places where I felt I could focus,” she says. “That season of my life was extremely dark; I didn’t know if I’d make it to graduation, or how I could possibly raise a baby at this time.”

One day at the library, she noticed light shining down on her growing belly, right over the university seal on her T-shirt and the words “fiat lux.” She and Blanchard had considered Lillian or Clara as baby names, but now the choice was made.

“I felt my daughter kick, and it occurred to me that clara in Spanish means ‘bright,’ and I imagined the way that this baby could and would be the bright light at the end of this dark season,” says Ruiz, who gave birth to Clara on May 15, 2014.

From an interview with entrepreneur Eden Blackman:

For many entrepreneurs, starting a business often feels like bringing new life into the world. It’s not every day though, that your endeavours result in a baby named in your honour.

“That’s the pinnacle for me, it’s simply mind-blowing,” says Eden Blackman, founder of online dating business Would Like to Meet and namesake of young Eden, whose parents met on the site several years ago. “That is amazing and quite a lot to take on but it’s a beautiful thing.”

From the article Do You Like Your Name? by Arthur C. Brooks (found via Nameberry):

I cringe a little whenever I hear someone say my name, and have ever since I was a child. One of my earliest memories is of a lady in a department store asking me my name and bursting out laughing when I said, “Arthur.”

Before you judge that lady, let’s acknowledge that it is actually pretty amusing to meet a little kid with an old man’s name. According to the Social Security Administration, “Arthur” maxed out in popularity back in the ’90s. That is, the 1890s. It has fallen like a rock in popularity since then. I was named after my grandfather, and even he complained that his name made him sound old. Currently, “Arthur” doesn’t even crack the top 200 boys’ names. Since 2013, it has been beaten in popularity by “Maximus” (No. 200 last year) and “Maverick” (No. 85).

One thing I constantly hear from people I meet for the first time is, “I imagined you as being much older.” I don’t take this as flattery, because at 54, I’m really not that young. What they are saying is that they imagined someone about 100 years old.

To see more quotes about names, check out the name quotes category.

Searching for “Glen Eden”

Atlas Obscura recently published an article about a man named Glen Eden Einbinder who has been collecting things bearing his first and middle names for more than 25 years.

His collection consists of “Glen Eden” postcards, bottle tops, newspaper clippings, leaflets, photographs, drink coasters, clothing, and more. The items represent various places: the Glen Eden nudist resort in California, the Glen Eden wool company in Georgia, the Glen Eden summer camp in Wisconsin, etc.

Though the two [names] together conjure up some pleasant idyll–Glen as a woodland valley, Eden as a garden–he didn’t realize the connection until he started to come across the huge volume of places that share his name.

Reader Becca pointed me to the article (thank you, Becca!) and asked about other people with this specific first-middle combo.

According to SSA data, at least 125,035 U.S. baby boys (and 1,348 U.S. baby girls) have been named single-N-Glen since 1880. So how many of these American single-N-Glens have the middle name Eden (besides Glen Eden Einbinder)?

A handful do, though I could only find definitive proof of two of them:

  • Glen Eden Hawkes (1907-1979) of Idaho
  • Glen Eden Franklin (b. 1918) of North Carolina

I also found several international Glen Edens, like these two:

  • Glen Eden Davis (1925-2003) of New South Wales, Australia
  • Glen Eden Flintoff (b. 1898) of Ontario, Canada

And there were plenty of near-misses. I found people named double-N-Glenn Eden (example), first-last Glen Eden (example), and first-last double-N-Glenn Eden (example). Plus people with first names like Gleneden, Glenedene, and Glenedena (example).

And how was Glen Eden Einbinder himself named?

Glen…is somehow related to the initials of his ancestors, with the “G” perhaps coming from a Great-Aunt Gussie. And Eden comes from the Jack London book Martin Eden, which his father was reading when Einbinder was born.

Do you have any thoughts on the combo “Glen Eden”?

P.S. This article reminded me of a documentary called The Grace Lee Project, in which an Asian-American filmmaker named Grace Lee interviews a bunch of other Asian-American women also named Grace Lee. (I think I first heard about it via Nancy Friedman.)

Top Jewish Baby Names in Israel, Decade by Decade

Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority recently released decade-by-decade lists of the most popular Jewish baby names in Israel since the establishment of the state (in mid-1948).

Decade Top 3 Girl Names Top 3 Boy Names
1950s Esther, Rachel, Sarah Moshe, Yosef, Avraham
1960s Rachel, Esther, Ronit Yosef, Moshe, Avraham
1970s Michal, Keren, Merav Moshe, David, Yosef
1980s Michal, Adi, Moran Moshe, David, Roei
1990s Eden, Sapir, Adi Daniel, David, Moshe
2000s Noa, Shira, Yael Daniel, Itay, Uri
2010s so far Shira, Noa, Tamar Itay, Uri, Noam

In 5775, the top names for Jewish babies in Israel were Tamar and Ori (aka Uri).

Source: Israel’s most popular names by decade