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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Harlan

Number of Babies Named Harlan

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Harlan

Bobbyetta, the Lion Lady Baby Name

In 1954, the baby name Bobbyetta appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the first and only time with a mere 6 baby girls:

  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: 6 baby girls named Bobbyetta [debut]
  • 1953: unlisted

What caused this ever-so-slight increase in the usage of Bobbyetta?

A lady with a pet lion, believe it or not.

Bobbyetta brushes Tex's teeth.
Bobbyetta brushes Tex’s teeth.

Back in the mid-1950s, a farm family in rural Herscher, Illinois, was making headlines because they shared their home with a full-grown pet lion.

The family consisted of Mr. Harlan Porter, Mrs. Pearl Porter, and their adult children Bill and Bobbyetta. And their pet lion Tex, of course.

Bobbyetta was the primary owner/caretaker of the lion. She had owned dozens of cats growing up, and in her mid-20s she decided she wanted a big cat. So she started actively looking for one. Here’s an ad she placed in The Billboard magazine in January of 1950:

bobbyetta porter big cat want ad
“Wanted–Cheetah, tiger, puma, lion or leopard cub; young as possible. Bobbyetta Porter, Herscher, Ill.”

Later that year, she spotted an ad for 3-month-old lion cubs. The cubs had been born in Africa in April, then brought to Texas to be sold by a wild animal dealer.

Bobbyetta bought one of the cubs “sight unseen” and changed his name from Quien Sabe (which means “who knows” in Spanish) to Tex, short for Texas.

Because winters in Illinois are quite a bit colder than winters in Africa, the Porters decided Tex should live indoors with them. So they split their living room in half with steel bars.

Bobbyetta “soon had him eating out of her hand and wrestling with her in his cage.”

As an adult he weighed over 300 pounds and was fed seven pounds of meat and two quarts of milk per day. He also had a weakness for ice cream.

Bobbyetta feeds Tex meatballs.
Bobbyetta feeds Tex meatballs.

Bobbyetta brushed his teeth after meals, slept near his cage (“as Tex was prone to roar when he felt he was being left alone”), and “relaxed him by running a vacuum cleaner over his coat.”

The family took Tex along when they traveled (“the rear of the station wagon was fitted with a cage”) and included him in the family photos they sent out with their Christmas cards.

Word about Tex spread, and by early 1954 he was being featured in newspapers and magazines across the U.S. and beyond. Headlines included “Lion in a Pine-Paneled Den” (LIFE), “We Live with a Lion” (Chicago Tribune) and “Girl Brushes Lion’s Teeth” (Sun-Herald, Sydney, Australia).

This is precisely when we see one-hit wonder Bobbyetta debut on the national baby name list.

Sadly, Tex wasn’t the healthiest of lions…

Tex is given pills. Bobbyetta in background.

Male African lions can survive 10-15 years in the wild, and ought to be able to many years longer in captivity, but Tex died of a chest tumor in late 1955 at the age 5.

The Porters built Tex a coffin and held both a wake a funeral for him. He was buried on the Porter property “in pink-tufted satin with his head on a royal purple pillow.”

Sources:

Images: © 1950 The Billboard, © 1954 LIFE, © 1954 British Pathé


Biggest Changes in Boy Name Popularity, 2013

Which boy names increased/decreased the most in popularity from 2012 to 2013?

We just looked at the girl names, so now let’s check out the boy names.

Below are two versions of each list. My version looks at raw number differences and takes all 13,958 boy names on the 2013 list into account. The SSA’s version looks at ranking differences and covers roughly the top 1,000 boy names.

Biggest Increases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Jase, +3,410 babies (1,123 to 4,533)
  2. Jayceon, +1,658 (180 to 1,838)
  3. Jace, +1,649 (4,692 to 6,341)
  4. Oliver, +1,313 (5,896 to 7,209)
  5. Camden, +1,276 (2,592 to 3,868)
  6. Liam, +1,246 (16,756 to 18,002)
  7. Jaxon, +1,198 (6,281 to 7,479)
  8. Lincoln, +1,112 (2,898 to 4,010)
  9. Hunter, +890 (7,997 to 8,887)
  10. Silas, +882 (2,485 to 3,367)
  11. Noah, +815 (17,275 to 18,090)
  12. Ryker, +815 (1,647 to 2,462)
  13. Grayson, +805 (4,695 to 5,500)
  14. Lucas, +781 (10,670 to 11,451)
  15. Sebastian, +778 (6,717 to 7,495)
  16. Jaxson, +774 (3,644 to 4,418)
  17. Henry, +750 (8,052 to 8,802)
  18. Josiah, +748 (5,475 to 6,223)
  19. Jayce, +737 (1,906 to 2,643)
  20. Mateo, +715 (2,832 to 3,547)
  21. Easton, +680 (3,935 to 4,615)
  22. King, +656 (1,429 to 2,085)
  23. Ezra, +628 (2,080 to 2,708)
  24. Leo, +605 (2,868 to 3,473)
  25. Benjamin, +600 (12,773 to 13,373)
  1. Jayceon, +845 spots (1,051st to 206th)
  2. Milan, +650 (1,192nd to 542nd)
  3. Atlas, +614 (1,403rd to 789th)
  4. Jayse, +495 (1,469th to 974th)
  5. Duke, +429 (1,147th to 718th)
  6. Castiel, +418 (1,374th to 956th)
  7. Zayn, +410 (1,310th to 900th)
  8. Thiago, +374 (859th to 485th)
  9. Forrest, +340 (1,181st to 841st)
  10. Kyrie, +278 (868th to 590th)
  11. Lochlan, +263 (1,201st to 938th)
  12. Azariah, +247 (1,081st to 834th)
  13. Deacon, +232 (673rd to 441st)
  14. Gannon, +231 (1,074th to 843rd)
  15. Kalel, +222 (1,187th to 965th)
  16. Jase, +215 (304th to 89th)
  17. Harlan, +211 (1,067th to 856th)
  18. Jair, +199 (1,019th to 820th)
  19. Anson, +190 (1,158th to 968th)
  20. Magnus, +179 (1,137th to 958th)
  21. Enoch, +178 (1,014th to 836th)
  22. Harvey, +176 (792nd to 616th)
  23. Cassius, +172 (932nd to 760th)
  24. Stetson, +169 (1,119th to 950th)
  25. Yair, +162 (1,125th to 963rd)

Commenter Rita wrote up a great list of explanations for many of the above.

Josiah and Ryker were both featured in the regionally popular names post from a few months ago.

Biggest Decreases

Raw Numbers (Nancy’s list) Rankings (SSA’s list)
  1. Ethan, -1,494 babies (17,621 to 16,127)
  2. Jayden, -1,413 (16,069 to 14,656)
  3. Mason, -1,329 (18,920 to 17,591)
  4. Aiden, -1,313 (14,840 to 13,527)
  5. Ryan, -1,106 (10,914 to 9,808)
  6. Brayden, -1,099 (8,483 to 7,384)
  7. Christopher, -1,084 (11,849 to 10,765)
  8. Tyler, -1,084 (7,674 to 6,590)
  9. Justin, -1,040 (5,867 to 4,827)
  10. Jacob, -1,023 (18,999 to 17,976)
  11. Andrew, -998 (12,566 to 11,568)
  12. Anthony, -980 (13,144 to 12,164)
  13. Joshua, -907 (12,587 to 11,680)
  14. Gavin, -856 (8,235 to 7,379)
  15. Brandon, -834 (7,014 to 6,180)
  16. Jonathan, -833 (9,311 to 8,478)
  17. Evan, -806 (7,876 to 7,070)
  18. Nathan, -768 (10,388 to 9,620)
  19. Michael, -710 (16,076 to 15,366)
  20. Matthew, -691 (13,917 to 13,226)
  21. Angel, -679 (6,999 to 6,320)
  22. Jordan, -646 (7,774 to 7,128)
  23. Landon, -641 (9,320 to 8,679)
  24. Nicholas, -630 (7,708 to 7,078)
  25. Hayden, -588 (3,521 to 2,933)
  1. Austyn, -330 spots (899th to 1,229th)
  2. Masen, -299 (726th to 1,025th)
  3. Trevon, -287 (925th to 1,212th)
  4. Jaidyn, -276 (978th to 1,254th)
  5. Bently, -264 (638th to 902nd)
  6. Jarrett, -257 (991st to 1,248th)
  7. Brennen, -239 (765th to 1,004th)
  8. Devan, -211 (989th to 1,200th)
  9. Osvaldo, -204 (755th to 959th)
  10. Karsen, -203 (993rd to 1,196th)
  11. Jaeden, -189 (849th to 1,038th)
  12. Donte, -187 (912th to 1,099th)
  13. Brendon, -186 (801st to 987th)
  14. Yandel, -177 (976th to 1,153rd)
  15. Teagan, -171 (758th to 929th)
  16. Johann, -169 (942nd to 1,111th)
  17. Yehuda, -168 (900th to 1,068th)
  18. Jionni, -161 (869th to 1,030th)
  19. Trystan, -160 (975th to 1,135th)
  20. Kael, -155 (992nd to 1,147th)
  21. Giovanny, -155 (762nd to 917th)
  22. Camilo, -155 (839th to 994th)
  23. Braiden, -154 (605th to 759th
  24. Damari, -153 (874th to 1,027th)
  25. Aydan, -148 (702nd to 850th)

Eight -ayden names between both lists, eh?

And check out Mason — from the biggest winner in 2011 and 2010 to the 3rd-biggest loser in 2013. Fast to rise, fast to fall.

Winners/losers in years past:

  • 2012: Liam/Jacob, or Major/Braeden
  • 2011: Mason/Jacob
  • 2010: Mason/Joshua

Source: Change in Popularity from 2012 to 2013

U.S. Baby Names 2013: Most Popular Names, Top Girl Name Debuts, Top Boy Name Debuts, Biggest Girl Name Changes, Biggest Boy Name Changes, Top First Letters, Top Lengths, Top Girl Names by Letter, Top Boy Names by Letter, Top 1-Syllable Names