How popular is the baby name Frank 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 Frank.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Frank


Posts that Mention the Name Frank

The Debut of Donaldine

donaldine, baby name, 1922, newsThe American news is currently dominated by the name Donald, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about one of Donald’s feminized forms, Donaldine, which was not just a one-hit wonder in 1922, but the top one-hit wonder of 1922.

  • 1924: unlisted
  • 1923: unlisted
  • 1922: 12 baby girls named Donaldine
  • 1921: unlisted
  • 1920: unlisted

Where did it come from?

A Stanford co-ed named Donaldine Cameron, whose photo ran in the newspapers twice during the first half of the year.

The first time was in February, after Donaldine was declared the prettiest girl at Stanford:

Searching out the most beautiful girls on the Pacific coast finds Miss Donaldine Cameron getting the unanimous vote at Stanford University where she has been starring in amateur collegiate theatricals.

(Some of the plays she was in: “Wedding Bells,” “Charm School,” “Maid to Order.”)

The second time was in May, when Donaldine’s opinion that college boys spent too much money on girls somehow became the topic of an entire article:

“They have enough to do in carrying themselves through college without being burdened by extravagances. It’s up to the men to cut out their foolish spending.”

(The expenditures listed in the article: dances, movies, ice cream sodas.)

Donaldine graduated from Stanford in 1923 and, later the same year, married U.S. Navy officer Frank Pinckney Helm.

Donaldine’s father was named Donald, so no doubt she was named in honor of him. That said…around the time she was born (1902), and in the same region of California, there was a relatively famous missionary named Donaldina Cameron (often called “Donaldine” in the papers) who was helping female Chinese immigrants escape forced prostitution. I think it’s possible that the missionary was a secondary influence on the name (though I have no way to confirm this).

What are your thoughts on the baby name Donaldine?

Sources:

What Would You Name the Catfish-Riding Boy?

little boy, large catfish, old photo, texas, 1940s

This might be my favorite photo on the entire internet.

The shot, which depicts a playful little Texas boy pretending to ride a dead catfish on someone’s front porch, was taken by photographer Neal Douglass in April of 1941.

The Portal to Texas History calls it “Mrs. Bill Wright; Boy Riding Catfish.” So I’m guessing that “Mrs. Bill Wright” was the boy’s mother. But there’s no other identifying information, so I don’t know the boy’s name, nor do I have any way of tracking it down.

So let’s turn this into a name game!

First, let’s suppose our little catfish-rider was not named “Bill” (or “William,” or “Willie,” etc.) after his father. With that rule in place, here are the questions:

  • What do you think Mrs. Bill Wright named her son?
  • What would you have named him?

Just for reference, popular names for Texas newborns in the late ’30s included:

Albert
Arthur
Carl/Charles
Clarence
Daniel
David
Don/Donald
Edward/Eddie
Ernest
Frank
Fred
Gary
Gene/Eugene
George
Gerald
Harold
Henry
Jack
James
Jerry
Jesse
Jesus
Jimmie/Jimmy
Joe/Joseph
John/Johnny
Jose
Juan
Kenneth
Larry
Louis
Manuel
Melvin
Paul
Raymond
Richard
Robert/Bobby
Ronald
Roy
Thomas/Tommy
Walter

For extra credit, what do you think the boy named his catfish? And, what would you have named his catfish? ;)

(If you like this game, here’s a similar one from years ago: What Would You Name the Two Frenchmen?)

The Baby Name Jarma

jarma lewis, actress, 1950s
Jarma Lewis

The rare name Jarma has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just twice so far:

  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby girls named Jarma
  • 1955: 7 baby girls named Jarma [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted

The influence? Movie and television actress Jarma Lewis, who was at the height of her relatively short career in the mid-’50s. One of her more memorable films was The Tender Trap (1955) starring Frank Sinatra.

She was born in Alabama in 1931, and her full name at birth was Jarma Toy Lewis. According to a 1955 newspaper article, she had “a first name of Czech origin and a middle name of Chinese derivation” despite being “of Irish-English descent.”

(I don’t think “Jarma” is a traditional Czech name, but it may have been based on a traditional Czech name such as Jaromír/Jaromíra or Jarmil/Jarmila.)

Do you like the name Jarma? Would you use it?

Sources:

  • “Jarma Goes From Dentists Office To Hollywood Studio.” Arizona Republic 20 Mar. 1955: 55.
  • Jarma Lewis – IMDb

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2018

Nearly 270 blog posts were published at Nancy’s Baby Names in 2018. Which ones were the most popular?

It’s hard to know for sure right now, because the most recent 2018 posts haven’t had much time to gain traction, but here’s the (admittedly skewed) top ten list as of today:

  1. Black Panther Baby Names: T’Challa, Shuri, Nakia (Feb.)
  2. Popular Baby Names in Finland, 2017 (June)
  3. Five-Name Friday: Girl Names Like Imogen (Jan.)
  4. Old-Fashioned Double Names: Loladean, Ivylee, Effielou (Jul.)
  5. Classics on the Decline: Rebecca, Carol, Susan (Sept.)
  6. Top Debuts, Baby Girl Names, 2017 (May)
  7. Classics on the Decline: Paul, Jesse, Frank (Sept.)
  8. Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2017 (Jan.)
  9. Initials that Spell Names (Feb.)
  10. Top First Letters of U.S. Baby Names, 2017 (May)

And since we’re talking posts…do you have any topic suggestions for 2019? Or, are there any older posts you’d like me to update (à la Abcde)? I can’t make any promises, but I always do my best to honor reader requests that come my way (via comments, email, or social media).

Name Spotting: Malancthon

sign, colorado, names
Sign inside Garden of the Gods

My dad came out to visit us in Colorado recently. He loves geology, so we made sure to take him to several different places with impressive rocks/terrain.

One place we visited was Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. In this park we spotted the above sign, which described how the park got its name back in the 1850s:

As they looked over this area of cathedral-like rock spires, one man, Malancthon Beach, commented that the spot would be a great place for a beer garden someday. His friend, a poetic young man named Rufous Cable, replied that it was a place “fit for the Gods.”

It’s a cool story, but, to me, that first name “Malancthon” is way more interesting than the origin of the park name. Where did it come from?

My best guess is that Malancthon is a tribute to 16th-century German theologian Philipp Melanchthon, one of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation. His surname at birth was Schwartzerd (“black earth” in German), but as a young man he Latinized his name to the classical equivalent Melanchthon (“black earth” in Greek).

Civilian Conservation Corps, new deal
CCC Company 1848

We also saw some names at Red Rocks, which is both a park and a famous amphitheater.

The amphitheater was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by men in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a work relief program that existed during the Great Depression. One display included a photo of 124 of the men in the local CCC. Here are their first names, sorted by frequency:

  • 5: Joe, Raymond
  • 4: Charles
  • 3: Arthur, Clarence, Edward
  • 2: Bill, Byron, Carl, David, Earnest, Edwin, Everett, Jack, James, Leo, Maurice, William
  • 1: Aaron, Albert, Aldine, Alfonso, Allen, Alva, Amos, Ancelmo, Arleigh, Aubrey, Audrey, Barnett, Blaine, Calvin, Celestino, Charley, Claud, Claude, Clayton, Cleston, Dale, Damas, Dan, Darold, Dick, Don, Donald, Ed, Elden, Elias, Elipio, Emerson, Emilio, Eric, Ernest, Eston, Fares, Frank, Fred, Glenn, Grant, Gust, Guy, Horace, Hubert, Irvin, Jake, Jasper, Jesse, Jim, John, Jose, Kenneth, Lawrence, Leland, Leonard, Lester, Louis, Lyman, Manual, Marvin, Max, Merce, Noah, Norman, Orval, Pasqual, Paul, Pete, Richard, Rowland, Rudolfo, Russel, Russell, Sandeford, Trenton, Willard

…What interesting names have you spotted while out and about recently?