How popular is the baby name Esther in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Esther and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Esther.

The graph will take a few seconds to load, thanks for your patience. (Don't worry, it shouldn't take nine months.) If it's taking too long, try reloading the page.


Popularity of the Baby Name Esther

Number of Babies Named Esther

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Esther

Baby Names Inspired by the Solar Eclipse

baby names, solar eclipse

On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have — or conceive! — a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that isn’t as audacious as Eclipse itself). So what are your options?

Names with “celestial” associations

A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…

“Sun” names Helios, Elio, Sunny, Sol, Solange, Soleil, Solaris, Ravi, Samson, Surya, Sunniva, Haruko, Hinata
“Star” names Star, Stella, Estelle, Starla, Astra, Seren, Tara, Citlali, Hoshi
“Moon” names Luna, Moon, Selene, Selena, Chandra, Qamar, Dawa
“Earth” names Eartha, Gaia, Tierra, Tlaloc, Avani
“Sky” names Sky, Skyla, Skylar, Lani, Miku, Akash, Alya, Celeste, Celestine, Ciel, Sora

Names with “dark” associations

The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…

“Shadow” names Shade, Umbra, Shadow, Zillah
“Dark” or “Black” names Melanie, Duff, Dubhan, Ciar, Ciara, Ciaran, Sullivan*, Krishna, Charna, Jett, Raven
“Night” names Nisha, Layla, Nyx, Lilith, Miyako, Rajnish

*Sullivan essentially means “descendant of the little dark eye” in Irish — weirdly appropriate for a solar eclipse baby name, don’t you think?

Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations

You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…

  • Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
  • Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
  • Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
  • Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
  • Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)

Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”

This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…

Seeta
Sela
Selene (“moon” in Greek)
Selma
Seraphina
Seren (“star” in Welsh)
Serenity
Sean
Sebastian
Sefton
Sergio
Seth
Severino
Seymour

Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…

Sally Esther
Scarlett Eve
Sophia Eloise
Susanna Elizabeth
Samuel Elijah
Shane Everett
Stanley Edward
Sylvester Ellis

Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?

Sources: When & Where to See the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017, Two Minutes Of Darkness With 20,000 Strangers


Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: V

valli valli, v names, baby names, girl names, actress,
Valli Valli (1882-1927)
Here’s the next installment of uncommon female names collected from very old films (released from the 1910s to the 1940s).

Vail
Vail was a character played by actress Vivian Rich in the short film Via Cabaret (1913).

  • Usage of the baby name Vail.

Val
Val Lorraine was a character played by actress Evelyn Brent in the film Attorney for the Defense (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Val.

Valda
Valda Valkyrien was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Iceland in 1894. Her birth name was Adele Eleonore Freed.

  • Usage of the baby name Valda.

Vale
Vale Harvey was a character played by actress Shirley Mason in the film My Husband’s Wives (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Vale.

Valentine
Valentine Grant was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1881.

Valeska
Valeska Suratt was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Indiana in 1882. Valeska was also a character name in multiple films, including For a Woman’s Honor (1919) and Broadway Scandals (1929).

Valette
Valette Bedford was a character played by actress Margaret Sullavan in the film So Red the Rose (1935).

Valia
Valia Venitshaya, often credited simply as Valia, was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in England in 1899.

  • Usage of the baby name Valia.

Vallery
Vallery Grove was a character played by actress Dolores Costello in the film Second Choice (1930).

Valli
Valli Valli was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Germany in 1882. Her birth name was Valli Knust. Alida Valli, often credited simply as Valli, was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 2000s. She was born in Italy (now Croatia) in 1921. Valli was also a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film What a Widow! (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Valli.

Vallie
Vallie Martin was a character played by actress Marin Sais in the short film The Man in Irons (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Vallie.

Vanda
Vanda Muroff was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film Danger in Paris (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vanda.

Vanina
Vanina Vanini was a character played by actress Alida Valli in the film Passione (1940).

Vanna
Vanna was a character name in multiple films, including The Romance of a Movie Star (1920) and Vanity’s Price (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Vanna.

Vantine
Vantine was a character played by actress Jean Harlow in the film Red Dust (1932).

Varda
Varda Ropers was a character played by actress Claire Du Brey in the film A Man and His Money (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Varda.

Varlia
Varlia Lloyd was a character played by actress Helen Vinson in the film Transatlantic Tunnel (1935).

Varvara
Princess Varvara was a character played by actress Dorothy Revier in the film The Red Dance (1928).

Vashti
Vashti was a character played by actress Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen in the film Duel in the Sun (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Vashti.

Vedah
Vedah Bertram was an actress who appeared in films in the early 1910s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1891. Her birth name was Adele Buck.

  • Vedah, who died of appendicitis at the age of 20 in 1912, “became the first noted film player to be mourned by the movie-going public.” According to the San Francisco Call, her East Coast family had not been aware of her film career. “Hoping to keep her actions from her friends and relatives, she assumed the name under which she has been acting.”

Vee
Vee Newell was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Hello Sister (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Vee.

Veeda
Veeda was a character played by actress Lois Collier in the film Cobra Woman (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Veeda.

Veerah
Veerah Vale was a character played by actress Mary Thurman in the film Love of Women (1924).

Vee-Vee
Vee-Vee was a character played by actress Nora Swinburne in the film A Girl of London (1925).

Velda
Velda was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Inseparables (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Velda.

Velma
Velma Whitman was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Velma was also a character name in multiple films, including The Greatest Menace (1923) and The Lone Wolf’s Daughter (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Velma.

Velvet
Velvet Brown was a character played by actress Elizabeth Taylor in the film National Velvet (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Velvet.

Venetia
Venetia was a character name in multiple films, including The Story of the Rosary (1920) and Week Ends Only (1932).

Venice
Venice was a character name in multiple films, including Lady with a Past (1932) and Outcast Lady (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Venice.

Vera-Ellen
Vera-Ellen was an actress who appeared in films in the 1940s and 1950s. She was born in Ohio in 1921.

Verbena
Verbena was a character name in multiple films, including A Darktown Wooing (short, 1914) and Should Sailors Marry? (short, 1925).

Verebel
Verebel Featherstone was a character played by the actress Dorothy Christy in the film Sierra Sue (1941).

Vergie
Vergie was a character name in multiple films, including The Impalement (short, 1910) and Heaven on Earth (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Vergie.

Vermuda
Vermuda was a character played by actress Martha Sleeper in the short film Sure-Mike! (1925).

Verna
Verna Mersereau was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in 1894. Verna was also a character name in multiple films, including His Temporary Wife (1920) and Here Comes Carter (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Verna.

Verne
Verne Drake was a character played by actress Iris Adrian in the film I Killed That Man (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Verne.

Vernie
Vernie was a character played by actress Anna Q. Nilsson in the film Babe Comes Home (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Vernie.

Verona
Verona Babbitt was a character played by actress Maxine Elliott Hicks in the film Babbitt (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Verona.

Veronique
Veronique Sauviat was a character played by actress Louise Vale in the short film The Country Parson (1915).

Verree
Verree Teasdale was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in Washington in 1903.

  • Usage of the baby name Verree.

Vesta
Vesta Tilley was an actress who appeared in films from the 1900s to the 1910s. She was born in England in 1864. Her birth name was Matilda Alice Powles. Vesta was also a character name in multiple films, including The House in Suburbia (short, 1913) and The Duke of Chimney Butte (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Vesta.

Veya
Countess Veya was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film The Climbers (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Veya.

Vianna
Vianna Courtleigh was a character played by the actress Ruth Clifford in the film Mothers-in-Law (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Vianna.

Vicki
Vicki was a character name in multiple films, including I Loved You Wednesday (1933) and A Star Is Born (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vicki.

Victoire
Victoire was a character name in multiple films, including Arsene Lupin (1917) and Just Married (1928).

Victorine
Victorine was a character name in multiple films, including Paris at Midnight (1926) and After the Ball (1932).

Vilda
Vilda was a character name in multiple films, including The Return of the Riddle Rider (1927) and Timothy’s Quest (1936).

  • Usage of the baby name Vilda.

Vilma
Vilma Banky was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Austria-Hungary (now Hungary) in 1898. Vilma was also a character name in multiple films, including Federal Agent (1936) and Meet the Boy Friend (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Vilma.

Vima
Countess Vima Walden was a character played by actress Madge Evans in the film Heartbreak (1931).

Vincenza
Vincenza was a character played by actress Rose Tapley in the short film An Infernal Tangle (1913).

Viney
Viney was a character name in multiple films, including The Last of the Hargroves (short, 1914) and The Overland Stage (1927).

  • Usage of the baby name Viney.

Vinnie
Vinnie was a character played by actress Irene Dunne in the film Life with Father (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Vinnie.

Vinuella
Vinuella was a character played by actress Anita Hendrie in the short film The Road to the Heart (1909).

Violante
Violante was a character played by actress Mrs. A. C. Marston in the short film The Ring and the Book (1914).

Violantha
Violantha Zureich was a character played by actress Henny Porten in the film Violantha (1928).

Violey
Violey was a character played by Loretta Weaver in multiple films, including Jeepers Creepers (1939) and Grand Ole Opry (1940).

Virgie
Virgie was a character name in multiple films, including Lend Me Your Husband (1935) and The Littlest Rebel (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Virgie.

Virginie
Virginie Harbrok was a character played by actress Marguerite Courtot in the film The Unbeliever (1918).

Visakha
Visakha was a character played by actress Lotus Liu in the film The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938).

Vittoria
Vittoria was a character played by actress Gladys Hulette in the film Enemies of Women (1923).

Viva
Viva Hamilton was a character played by actress Edna Flugrath in the film A Dear Fool (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Viva.

Viveca
Viveca Lindfors was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1990s. She was born in Sweden in 1920.

  • Usage of the baby name Viveca.

Vivette
Vivette was a character played by actress Evelyn Dumo in the film The Strange Story of Sylvia Gray (1914).

Viviette
Viviette was a character played by actress Vivian Martin in the film Viviette (1918).

Vola
Vola Vale was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1897. Her birth name was Violet Irene Smith.

  • Usage of the baby name Vola.

Vonia
Vonia was a character played by actress Eva Novak in the film The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1922).

Vonnie
Vonnie was a character played by actress Minna Gombell in the film Sob Sister (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Vonnie.

Vroni
Vroni was a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film Betrayal (1929).

Vultura
Vultura was a character played by actress Lorna Gray in the film Perils of Nyoka (1942).

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

Sources:

A Star Is Born & a Name is Nudged

Vicki Lester, A Star is Born, 1937, name
Vicki Lester’s name in lights
outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

In April of 1937, the film A Star Is Born was released. It starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March as a married couple at opposite ends of their Hollywood careers: hers beginning, his ending.

The husband was named Norman Maine. The wife, on the other hand, had several identities. At first she was North Dakota farm girl Esther Victoria Blodgett. Then she morphed into movie star Vicki Lester for most of the film. Finally, in that memorable last line, she said: “Hello everybody. This is Mrs. Norman Maine.”

So how did she go from Esther Blodgett to “Vicki Lester”? Here’s the scene:

Press Agent: Do you know what her name is? Esther Victoria Blodgett.
Producer: Gee, we’ll have to do something about that right away.
Press Agent: …Esther Victoria Blodgett
Producer: Well that Blodgett’s definitely out. See, uh…Esther Victoria, Victoria, Vicki…how about Vicki?
Producer’s Secretary: Oh I think that’s terribly cute.
Producer: Let’s see, Vicki…Vicki what?
Press Agent: Vicki Vicki, pronounced Vicki Vicki. [sarcasm]
Producer: Siesta, Besta, Sesta, Desta, Fester…
Press Agent: Oh that’s very pretty.
Producer: …Jester, Hester, Jester, Lester…Vicki Lester!
Secretary: Oh I like that!

Everyone in the office started chanting the newly minted name Vicki Lester…and with that the star was born.

On the name charts, the entire name-group — Vicki, Vickie, Vicky, Vickey, and so forth — rode a wave of trendiness that started in the ’30s, peaked around 1957, and was over by the ’80s. It’s hard to say how much of this trendiness (if any of it) was fueled by the movie, but one thing definitely attributable to the movie is the higher-than-expected usage of “Vicki” in the late ’30s:

  • 1941: 542 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 274th]
  • 1940: 405 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 316th]
  • 1939: 334 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 355th]
  • 1938: 367 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 332nd]
  • 1937: 148 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 555th]
  • 1936: 82 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 738th]
  • 1935: 70 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 822nd]

Notice how the number adjusted downward in 1939 before the name was picked back up by the wave.

Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that several baby girls born in the late ’30s were named “Vicki Lester.” In 1940, for instance, the Seil family of Washington included parents Orval (26 years old) and Beryl (25) and daughters Arlene (4) and Vicki Lester (1).

vicki lester, census, 1940
Vicki Lester Seil on 1940 U.S. Census

History repeated itself in 1954 upon the release of the first A Star is Born remake, which starred Judy Garland as Esther/Vicki. The name Vicki was again nudged upward a few years ahead of schedule:

  • 1958: 7,434 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 57th]
  • 1957: 8,101 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 51st]
  • 1956: 7,762 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 57th]
  • 1955: 7,978 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 52nd]
  • 1954: 8,220 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 50th]
  • 1953: 6,822 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 61st]
  • 1952: 6,774 baby girls named Vicki [ranked 61st]

And, again, records from the mid-1950s reveal a handful of baby girls named “Vicki Lester.”

The second remake — the 1976 Barbra Streisand version — didn’t include the name change. Even if it had, though, the popularity of Vicki was plummeting by the ’70s and I doubt the film could have done much to boost its image/usage.

Currently the name Vicki is only given to about a dozen baby girls in the U.S. per year. But another version of A Star is Born is in the works — a Lady Gaga version slated for 2018. If this third remake materializes, and if it features the name Vicki, do you think it will influence the baby name charts?

(While we wait for 2018, check out the original version of A Star is Born (1937), which is in the public domain.)

Sources: SSA, U.S. Census

Popular Baby Names in New York City, 2015

According to data from the New York City Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the city last year were Olivia and Ethan.

Here are New York City’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2015:

Girl Names
1. Olivia (595 baby girls)
2. Sophia
3. Emma (tied)
4. Mia (tied)
5. Isabella
6. Leah
7. Emily
8. Ava
9. Chloe
10. Madison

Boy Names
1. Ethan (773 baby boys)
2. Liam
3. Noah
4. Jacob
5. Jayden
6. Matthew
7. David
8. Daniel (tied)
9. Dylan (tied)
10. Aiden

On the girls’ list, Olivia replaces Sophia as the top name and Madison replaces Sofia in the top 10.

On the boys’ list, Dylan and Aiden replace Michael and Alexander in the top 10.

Here are the top names broken down by ethnic/racial group:

Latino:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Isabella
2. Sophia
3. Mia
4. Emma
5. Camila
1. Liam
2. Dylan
3. Ethan
4. Matthew
5. Noah

Black:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Madison
2. Skylar
3. Ava
4. Olivia
5. Mia
1. Noah
2. Liam
3. Aiden
4. Jeremiah
5. Ethan/Josiah (tie)

White:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Emma
2. Olivia
3. Leah
4. Sarah
5. Esther
1. David
2. Joseph
3. Moshe
4. Jacob
5. Benjamin

Asian & Pacific Islander:

Girl Names Boy Names
1. Olivia
2. Chloe
3. Sophia
4. Emily
5. Emma
1. Jayden
2. Ethan
3. Ryan
4. Muhammad
5. Aiden

New York City’s less-popular names (used 10 times each) included…

  • Damaris, Eunice, and Shirin (girl names)
  • Dimitri, Immanuel, and Ousmane (boy names)

The news release also mentioned that NYC’s baby name data goes back as far back as 1898. That year, the top girl names were Mary, Catherine, and Margaret, and the top boy names were John, William, and Charles.

Here are NYC’s 2014 rankings. For more U.S.-specific baby name rankings, see the U.S. name rankings subcategory. For international rankings as well, check out the full name rankings category.

Source: Olivia and Ethan Top Health Department’s Annual Most Popular Baby Names For 2015

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