How popular is the baby name Eleanor 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 Eleanor.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Eleanor


Posts that Mention the Name Eleanor

The Apex of Arlynne

arlynne, roller derby, baby name, news, sports, 1950s

The baby name Arlynne popped up a few times in the SSA data in the ’30s and ’40s before seeing its highest-ever usage in 1951:

  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: 15 baby girls named Arlynne [peak]
    • 5 in New York specifically
  • 1950: unlisted
  • 1949: unlisted

What caused this isolated popularity spike?

Arlynne Buchmann, a 19-year-old New Jersey roller skater who was voted Roller Derby Beauty Queen of 1950. At least two different photos of her ran in various newspapers in from mid-1950 to mid-1951.

A former model, Arlynne had only been skating for only 14 months in the fledgling National Roller Derby League (NRDL) before being voted “Queen” by fans. At that time, the league consisted of six teams. Arlynne’s was the Jersey Jolters.

In fact, the early 1950s was when Roller Derby itself was at peak popularity. The sport, which had been around since the 1930s, began to be televised locally in New York City in 1948 — back when TV sets could only be found in bars and storefronts. This coverage was enough to kick off a national craze.

For instance, Roller Derby fans included well-known celebrities like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle, Ed Sullivan, Cesar Romero, Sonja Henie, Eddie Cantor, Marilyn Maxwell, Eleanor Powell, George Raft, Jack Benny, W. C. Fields, Cary Grant, George Burns, and Gracie Allen. Many were photographed either at games or socializing with Derby athletes.

Also notable is the fact that a multi-day “Roller Derby World Series” was held annually at Madison Square Garden starting in 1949. Here’s some video footage of the very first one.

By the mid-1950s, the public had grown tired of the sport due to TV overexposure (ironically). Though Roller Derby continues to this day, it has never again achieved the level of popularity that it had for a handful of years in the middle of the 20th century.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Arlynne? Would you use it?

Sources:

The Inception of Sway

sway, gone in 60 seconds, movie, character
Angelina Jolie as Sara “Sway” Wayland

The word Sway popped up for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 2001:

  • 2003: 14 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Sway
  • 2002: 12 baby girls named Sway
  • 2001: 8 baby girls named Sway [debut]
  • 2000: unlisted
  • 1999: unlisted

For a long time I assumed the main influence was MTV personality Sway Calloway. But, while I still think Sway had an influence on male usage, I’ve since discovered a much better explanation for the 2001 debut as a female name.

One of the main characters in the 2000 car heist film Gone in 60 Seconds was mechanic-slash-bartender Sara “Sway” Wayland (played by Angelina Jolie). She was the love interest of protagonist Randall “Memphis” Raines (played by Nicolas Cage), who was tasked with stealing 50 specific, expensive cars inside of 72 hours.

The film didn’t get great reviews, but I do remember appreciating the fact that each of the 50 cars was assigned a feminine code-name:

Mary, Barbara, Lindsey, Laura, Alma, Madeline, Patricia, Carol, Daniela, Stefanie, Erin, Pamela, Olga, Anne, Kate, Vanessa, Denise, Diane, Lisa, Nadine, Angelina, Rose, Susan, Tracey, Rachel, Bernadene, Deborah, Stacey, Josephine, Hillary, Kimberley, Renee, Dorothy, Donna, Samantha, Ellen, Gabriela, Shannon, Jessica, Sharon, Tina, Marsha, Natalie, Virginia, Tanya, Grace, Ashley, Cathy, Lynn, Eleanor

So, how do you feel about the name Sway? If you were having a baby girl, would you be more likely to name her something modern, like Sway, or something traditional, like Sara or Susan?

Sources: Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia, Talk:Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film) – Wikipedia

Popular Baby Names in Knox County (IL), 2019

According to the County Clerk of Knox County, Illinois, the most popular baby names in 2019 were Charlotte and Benjamin.

A total of 689 babies were born in the county in 2019. Here are the top names per gender:

Girl Names

  1. Charlotte – 5 baby girls
  2. Deliah, Eleanor, Ellie, Hope – 4 each
  3. Ava, Caroline, Cora, Evelyn, Everley, Lilly, Molly, Paisley – 3 each

Boy Names

  1. Benjamin – 6 baby boys
  2. Jeremiah – 5
  3. Elijah & Liam – 4 each
  4. Charles, Christopher, Grayson, Isaac, Jace, Lincoln, Matthew, Noah, Parker – 3 each

The name Deliah really stands out here. Only a couple dozen baby girls are named Deliah per year nationally, so it’s very curious to see four Deliahs pop up in a single county.

Source: Charlotte, Benjamin top Knox County baby names in 2019

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: Letter D

derry thomas, movies, 1920s
Madge Bellamy as Derry Thomas in the movie Summer Bachelors (1926).

Looking for an uncommon D-name for your baby girl? Here’s the next installment of rare female names collected from very old films (1910s to 1940s)…

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Dabby
Dabby was a character played by actress Ruby Dandridge in the film Tap Roots (1948).

Dacia
Dacia was a character played by actress Vivian Tobin in the film The Sign of the Cross (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Dacia.

Dado
Dado Scholl was a character played by actress Gretchen Lederer in the short film The Temptation of Edwin Swayne (1915).

Dagmar
Dagmar was a character name in multiple films, including A Million A Minute (1916) and The Trial of Mary Dugan (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Dagmar.

Daire
Daire Vincent was a character played by actress Gladys Brockwell in the film Up from the Depths (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Daire.

Dale
Dale Fuller was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in California in 1885. Her birth name was Marie Dale Phillipps. Dale was also a character name in multiple films, including Top Hat (1935) and King of Alcatraz (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Dale.

Dalla
Dalla was a character played by actress Betty Compson in the film The Female (1924).

Dalle
Dalle Aldis was a character played by actress Ruth Clifford in the film The Lure of Luxury (1918).

Danila
Danila was a character played by actress Kay Sutton in the film Flying Blind (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Danila.

Dany
Dany Robin was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1960s. She was born in France in 1927. Her birth name was Danielle Robin.

  • Usage of the baby name Dany.

Daphnia
Daphnia was a character played by actress Winifred Greenwood in the short film Daphnia (1914).

Darya
Darya Orlinsky was a character played by actress Viola Dana in the film The Cossack Whip (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Darya.

Davidina
Davidina was a character played by actress Grace Gordon in the film Spangles (1926).

Dazil
Dazil Mellows was a character played by actress Alice Brady in the film The Redhead (1919).

Dea
Dea was a character name in multiple films, including The Man Who Laughs (1928) and Typhoon (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Dea.

Deanie
Deanie Consadine was a character played by actress Madge Evans in the film The Power and the Glory (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Deanie.

Decima
Decima Duress was a character played by actress Lois Meredith in the film An Enemy to Society (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Decima.

Dede
Dede Mason was a character played by actress Myrtle Stedman in the film Burning Daylight (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Dede.

Dee
Dee Foster was a character played by actress Alice White in the film Broadway Babies (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Dee.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee Dillwood was a character played by actress Joan Fontaine in the film You Gotta Stay Happy (1948).

Deedee
Deedee Doree was a character played by actress Mona Barrie in the film Love, Honor and Oh-Baby! (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Deedee.

Deirdre
Deirdre Drake was a character played by actress Dolores Moran in the film Old Acquaintance (1943).

Delaphine
Delaphine was a character played by actress Gene Gauntier in the short film The Belle of New Orleans (1912).

Delarai
Delarai was a character played by actress Merle Oberon in the film Night in Paradise (1946).

Delatorre
Princess Delatorre was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film Misbehaving Ladies (1931).

Delfina
Delfina Acuña was a character played by actress Barbara Brown in the film You Were Never Lovelier (1942).

Delice
Delice Brixton was a character played by actress Dorothy Phillips in the film The Flashlight (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Delice.

Delicia
Delicia was a character name in multiple films, including The Human Investment (1915) and The Ladder of Fortune (1915).

Delight
Delight was a character name in multiple films, including The Unafraid (short, 1915) and Dangerous Days (1920).

Delima
Delima Turcott was a character played by actress Rosa Rosanova in the film A Woman’s Faith (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Delima.

Deloryce
Deloryce was a character played by actress Betty Compson in the film Woman to Woman (1929).

Delphinie
Delphinie was a character played by actress Lillian Yarbo in the film Boy Friend (1939).

Delsie
Delsie O’Dell was a character played by actress Dorothy Gish in the film The Ghost in the Garret (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Delsie.

Demetra
Demetra was a character played by actress Maud Allan in the film The Rug Maker’s Daughter (1915).

Demetria
Demetria Riffle was a character played by actress Eily Malyon in the film On Borrowed Time (1939).

Dena
Dena Maxwellton was a character played by actress Iris Adrian in the film Swing It Soldier (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Dena.

Dennie
Dennie Moore was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born in New York in 1902. Her birth name was Florence Moore.

  • Usage of the baby name Dennie.

Derelys
Derelys Perdue was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in Missouri in 1902. Her birth name was Geraldine Perdue. Derelys was also a character played by actress Lilyan Tashman in the film Take Me Home (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Derelys (which debuted in the data in 1924).

Deria
Deria was a character played by actress Julia Dean in the film Experiment Perilous (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Deria.

Derith
Derith was a character played by actress Claire Windsor in the film The Strangers’ Banquet (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Derith (which debuted in the data the year after The Strangers’ Banquet came out).

Derry
Derry Thomas was a character played by actress Madge Bellamy in the film Summer Bachelors (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Derry.

Desdemona
Desdemona was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film Othello (1908).

Despina
Despina was the 114-year-old woman featured in the short documentary The Weavers (1905), believed to be the first motion picture shot in the Balkans. (There’s no proof of Despina’s year of birth, but if she really was 114 years old, then she’s the earliest-born person ever filmed.)

Dessie
Dessie Arnhalt was a character played by actress Zasu Pitts in the film West of the Water Tower (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Dessie.

Dete
Dete was a character played by actress Mady Christians in the film Heidi (1937).

Devoria
Devoria was a character played by actress Ruby Dandridge in the film Home in Oklahoma (1946).

Dey
Dey Shevlin was a character played by actress Winifred Westover in the film The Fighter (1921).

Diantha
Diantha was a character name in multiple films, including Daughter of Mine (1919) and Cass Timberlane (1947).

Didi
Didi Bonfee was a character played by actress Alice White in the film Secret of the Chateau (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Didi.

Dierdre
Dierdre Saurin was a character played by actress Claire Windsor in the film The Claw (1927).

Dilys
Dilys was a character played by actress Patricia Roc in the film Jassy (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Dilys.

Dione
Princess Dione was a character played by actress Claire Du Brey in the film The Reward of the Faithless (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Dione.

Diony
Diony Hall was a character played by actress Eleanor Boardman in the film The Great Meadow (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Diony.

Dita
Dita Parlo was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Germany (now Poland) in 1906. Her birth name was Grethe Gerda Kornstädt.

  • Usage of the baby name Dita.

Dixiana
Dixiana Caldwell was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film Dixiana (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Dixiana (which debuted in the data in 1930).

Dodie
Dodie was a character name in multiple films, including Help Yourself (1932) and And Sudden Death (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Dodie.

Dodo
Dodo was a character name in multiple films, including Our Little Wife (1918) and Rouge and Riches (1920).

Dolce
Dolce was a character played by actress Bessie Learn in the short film Poisoned by Jealousy (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Dolce.

Dollie
Dollie was a character name in multiple films, including The Adventures of Dollie (1908) and Hero by Proxy (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Dollie.

Dolly
Dolly Larkin was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in New York in 1889. Her birth name was Margaret Larkin. Dolly was also a character played by actress Cleo Madison in the short film The Ring of Destiny (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Dolly.

Dolores
Dolores del Rio was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1970s. She was born in Mexico in 1904. Dolores Moran was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in California in 1926. Dolores was also a character played by actress Hedy Lamarr in the film Tortilla Flat (1942).

Dolorita
Dolorita was a dancer who appeared in films in the 1890s and 1900s. Her first film, The Dolorita Passion Dance (1897), was the first motion picture to be banned in the United States. (It was banned in Atlantic City specifically.)

Dolorosa
Dolorosa was a character name in multiple films, including Mockery (1912) and Strangling Threads (1923).

Dominga
Dominga was a character played by actress Armida in the film Border Cafe (1937).

Domini
Domini was a character played by various actresses (such as Helen Ware and Marlene Dietrich) in various movies called The Garden of Allah, all based on the 1904 novel of the same name by Robert Smythe Hichens.

  • Usage of the baby name Domini.

Dominica
Dominica was a character played by actress Nell Craig in multiple short films in 1915, such as The Rajah’s Tunic (1915).

Donia
Donia Bussey was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1950s. She was born in Ohio in 1899. Donia was also a character played by actress Edith Storey in the short film The Chains of an Oath (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Donia.

Donivee
Donivee Purkey was an actress who appeared in films in the 1940s. She was born in Oklahoma in 1922.

  • Usage of the baby name Donivee (which debuted in the data in 1942).

Doraldina
Doraldina was a mononymous dancer/actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1888. Her birth name was Dora Saunders.

Dorcas
Dorcas was a character name in multiple films, including Brought Home (1915) and Straight Is the Way (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Dorcas.

Doree
Doree Macy was a character played by actress Bebe Daniels in the film My Past (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Doree.

Doreen
Doreen Stockwell was a character played by actress Julie London in the film Nabonga (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Doreen.

Doric
Doric Blint was a character played by actress Julia Faye in the film Venus in the East (1919).

Dorina
Dorina was a character played by actress Pina Menichelli in the Italian film La trilogia di Dorina (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Dorina.

Dorinda
Dorinda Clifton was an actress who appeared in films in the 1940s and 1950s. She was born in California in 1928. Dorinda was also a character name in multiple films, including Rosemary, That’s for Remembrance (1914) and The Farmer’s Daughter (1940).

Dorinea
Dorinea Shirley was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in England in 1902.

Dorinne
Dorinne Adams was a character played by actress Wanda Hawley in the film Fires of Fate (1923).

Dorita
Dorita was a character played by actress Carmen Miranda in the film The Gang’s All Here (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Dorita.

Dorothea
Dorothea Kent was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Missouri in 1916. Dorothea was also a character name in multiple films, including The Heart of a Child (1915) and Broken in the Wars (1919).

Dorris
Dorris Dare was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1899.

  • Usage of the baby name Dorris.

Dorrit
Dorrit Weixler was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Germany in 1892.

  • Usage of the baby name Dorrit.

Dot
Dot was a character name in multiple films, including Kid Millions (1934) and The Law in Her Hands (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Dot.

Dottie
Dottie was a character name in multiple films, including Victorine (1915) and Telephone Operator (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Dottie.

Dotty
Dotty Donald was a character played by actress Velma Whitman in the film Some Boy (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Dotty.

Douglamana
Douglamana was a character played by actress Laska Winter in the film Frozen Justice (1929).

Draguisha
Draguisha was a character played by actress Valerie Hobson in the film Continental Express (1939).

Dreena
Dreena was a character played by actress Nell Shipman in the films White Water (1926) and The Light on Lookout Mountain (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Dreena.

Dreka
Dreka Langley was a character played by actress Rosemary Theby in the film Pagan Passions (1924).

Dria
Dria Paola was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Italy in 1909. Her birth name was Etra Pitteo.

Drina
Drina was a character name in multiple films, including Marie, Ltd. (1919) and Dead End (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Drina.

Drowzina
Drowzina was a character played by actress Gwen Lee in the short film Candid Cameramaniacs (1937).

Drucilla
Drucilla was a character name in multiple films, including Pretty Mrs. Smith (1915) and Grim Justice (1916).

Drusilla
Drusilla was a character name in multiple films, including The Forest on the Hill (1919) and Reap the Wild Wind (1942).

Duane
Duane Thompson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Iowa in 1903.

  • Usage of the baby name Duane.

Duenna
Duenna was a character played by actress Carrie Clark Ward in the film Thundering Hoofs (1924).

Dulcey
Dulcey Lee was a character played by actress Zasu Pitts in the film The Lady’s from Kentucky (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Dulcey.

Dulcie
Dulcie was a character name in multiple films, including The Masqueraders (1915) and Miss Dulcie from Dixie (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Dulcie.

Dulcinea
Dulcinea was a character played by actress Fay Tincher in the film Don Quixote (1915).

Dulcy
Dulcy was a character name in multiple films, including Not So Dumb (1930) and Dulcy (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Dulcy.

Duna
Duna was a character played by actress Sarah Padden in the film Rasputin and the Empress (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Duna.

Durgan
Durgan was a character played by Bodil Rosing in the film Broadway Babies (1929).

Dusa
Dusa was a character played by actress Helen Gardner in the short film A Daughter of Pan (1913).

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Which of the above D-names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

Pollyanna: The Most Optimistic Baby Name Ever?

pollyanna, book, baby name, 1910s

Has some grumpy person ever called you a “Pollyanna”? That person may have meant it pejoratively, but take it as a compliment! (And tell that grump to go take a nap.) Because for over a century now the name has been a vocabulary word with a seriously pleasant meaning: “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person.”

So how did the compound name come to have that meaning? With the help of a popular book from the 1910s.

Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor H. Porter was the first in a series of books about Pollyanna Whittier, one of the famous optimistic orphans of literature. (Think Anne of Green Gables, or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.) But Pollyanna Whittier, “a girl who preaches the gospel of Gladness,” was the most optimistic of them all:

After her father’s death, the orphan moves to Beldingsville, Vt. In the next hundred pages, this juvenile social worker persuades the whole town to play the Glad Game. Cranky Mr. Pendleton, the bedridden Mrs. Snow, the dispirited Reverend Ford, the forlorn Dr. Chilton, a loose woman contemplating divorce and (finally) her sclerotic aunt succumb to the power of positive thinking and begin to hunt for and find things to be glad about.

The original Pollyanna book was the 8th-bestselling book of 1913 and the 2nd-bestselling book of 1914. It was so successful that Porter turned it into a series, starting with the sequel Pollyanna Grows Up (1915), which ranked 4th on the bestseller list in 1915.

As one critic explained in 1947, “The publication of the story in 1913 was only less influential than the World War. White Mountain cabins, Colorado teahouses, Texas babies, Indiana apartment houses, and a brand of milk were immediately named for the new character.”

The critic mentioned Texas specifically because a Texas baby named for the character (Pollyanna Houston, born in Waco) was in the news in 1915. But babies elsewhere got the name as well. Here’s the SSA data for the usage of Pollyanna during the 1910s:

  • 1919: 15 baby girls named Pollyanna
  • 1918: 13 baby girls named Pollyanna
  • 1917: 21 baby girls named Pollyanna
  • 1916: 20 baby girls named Pollyanna
  • 1915: 12 baby girls named Pollyanna
  • 1914: 6 baby girls named Pollyanna [debut]
  • 1913: unlisted
  • 1912: unlisted

And here’s the SSDI data for the same window of time:

  • 1919: 10 Pollyannas
  • 1918: 9 Pollyannas
  • 1917: 15 Pollyannas
  • 1916: 18 Pollyannas
  • 1915: 11 Pollyannas
  • 1914: 3 Pollyannas
  • 1913: 6 Pollyannas
  • 1912: 2 Pollyannas

The greatest usage of the name came in the 1960s, with the Disney movie adaptation of the book…but we’ll talk more about that (and the name Hayley!) tomorrow.

Until then, why not leave me a comment with your thoughts on the baby name Pollyanna? Do you think it’s usable these days?

Sources: