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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Irving

Number of Babies Named Irving

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Irving

Sayonara: The Goodbye Baby Name

sayonara, brando, umeki
Sayonara (1957) movie poster
We’re all familiar with sayonara, the Japanese word for “goodbye.”

But did you know that Sayonara was also a one-hit wonder on the U.S. baby name charts in the 1950s?

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: 6 baby girls named Sayonara
  • 1957: unlisted

The James Michener novel Sayonara came out in 1953. Set during the Korean War, it told the story of U.S. airman Lloyd Gruver, stationed in Japan, who fell in love with a Japanese entertainer called Hana-ogi. (Her namesake is a historical courtesan; hana means “flower” and ogi means “fan”).

Originally, the book was going to be adapted into a stage production à la Michener’s South Pacific. With a musical in mind, Irving Berlin wrote a song called “Sayonara.”

Instead, the story was turned into a movie (starring Marlon Brando) a few years later, and so Irving Berlin’s song ended up on the soundtrack.

Both Sayonara the movie and “Sayonara” the song came out in late 1957. The film made a bigger splash than the song did, so it may have had more of an influence on baby names.

In March of 1958 the film won four Oscars, including one each for supporting actors Red Buttons (who played Joe Kelly) and Miyoshi Umeki (who played Katsumi).

Miyoshi Umeki, both a singer and an actress, was the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award. Her win drew attention to the Japanese name Miyoshi, which debuted in the data as well in 1958:

  • 1965: 6 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1964: 9 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1963: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1962: 7 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1959: 8 baby girls named Miyoshi
  • 1958: 20 baby girls named Miyoshi [debut]
  • 1957: unlisted

A few months later, Umeki appeared on the TV game show “What’s My Line?” Here’s how she signed her name:

miyoshi umeki, signature, japanese
Miyoshi Umeki’s signature

Miyoshi was Umeki’s birth name, but at the start of her singing career in Japan, she used the stage name Nancy Umeki. She reverted to her Japanese name upon relocating to America, ironically.

Sources: Sayonara (1957) – Notes – TCM, Fame may be fleeting, but warm memories of Miyoshi Umeki live on – Japan Times

Name Quotes #55: Lehia, Evian, Onix

evian, name, quotation

From the 1999 movie Superstar, character Mary Katherine Gallagher talking to schoolmate Evian:

You know what, Evi? You should be really embarrassed, because your parents named you after bottled water.

From a 2016 article about Pokémon baby names:

I cross-referenced the Social Security Administration’s annual baby name records with all 151 original pocket monsters back through 1995, the year the Pokémon franchise was created. Five species of Pokémon have proven to be appealing baby names for U.S. parents: Tangela, Abra, Paras, Onix, and Eevee.

From the essay Vamsee or Taimur: Why it matters what you name your baby by Prof. Vamsee Juluri:

But what made my name somewhat of a complication for me was the fact that “Vamsee” was somehow not too familiar outside Telugu circles. My earliest encounters with high society, and I suppose, its brand of quietly privileged narcissism, were basically about people asking me if that was even a real name.

…I also liked his conclusion:

We are going to leave our children and grandchildren with a marauded and overheated planet as it is. Let us leave them with names that evoke love, creativity and dignity at least.

About Pigcasso, a 450-pound painting pig in South Africa with a genius name:

She’s fat, friendly and fabulous! Meet Pigcasso – the fine swine who was rescued from the brink of extinction at a South African pig ‘farm’. From pork chop to hog heaven, she loves the sweet things in life: Eat. Sleep. Eat. Repeat. She also loves to paint – and that’s no hogwash! Pigcasso’s primary purpose? To paint a better picture for farm animals.

Titles of Pigcasso’s paintings include Grin, Vitality, Rockstar, and Brexit.

From the Television Academy’s history of the Emmy Statuette:

After selecting the design for the statuette that would reward excellence in the television industry, Academy members were faced with decision number two: What to name the symbol.

Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.

From The Age of Flexible Names by Laura Wattenberg:

[W]hile our baby-naming options are becoming ever more open, we’re closing the door on self-naming options. We’re treating our given names as, well, “givens.” They’re immutable objects, frozen in place as our parents imagined them before they ever met us. We don’t adapt them to fit different situations or life stages, or let friends bestow new names on us to reflect the experiences we accrue through our lives. We don’t reinvent our identities as my grandpa Isidore/Irving/Yitzhak did – or at least, not without a lot of soul-searching and ceremony.

Perhaps we could take some pressure off of ourselves in the naming process if we welcomed back a little of that old-time flexibility.

From an article about Hawaiian names in Maui Magazine by Kalehiaikealaikahiki “Lehia” Apana:

I’ve told the story of my name countless times: My mother was in Tahiti on a canoe-paddling trip and became very sick. Upon visiting a local doctor, she was shocked to learn that she was pregnant. Returning home, she asked Hōkūlani Holt, a Hawaiian cultural practitioner and close family friend, to name her baby. The name Aunty Hōkū gave me, Kalehiaikealaikahiki, translates as “the skillful fisherman on the pathway to Tahiti.”

In Hawaiian belief, one’s name is so important that many parents ask someone fluent in the language, with a deep understanding of the culture, to determine what their baby will be called. But not every child receives a Hawaiian name the way I did. For example, a name can appear through a vision or sign (inoa hō’ailona), or be given in memory of an event (inoa ho’omana’o). However it is chosen, one’s name is a prized possession, to be passed on only with the explicit permission of its owner.

From a Vanity Fair article about the Hilton family by Richard Lawson:

Anyway, all we had to do to find out that [Barron] Hilton was engaged was go on Instagram, where Hilton’s intended, Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff, posted a picture announcing the news a few days ago. Should we talk about the fact that Barron Hilton is marrying someone named Tessa Gräfin von Walderdorff or should we just figure that that’s the kind of name you marry when you’re a son of the hotel gods?

Plus there was this line: “Barron is to be a husband, and maybe someday a father to a baby named Earrl.”

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

8 Impressive People Named Cooper

The baby name Cooper comes from an English surname that referred to someone who made or repaired barrels. It’s based on a Latin word meaning “cask, vat.”

Here are more than a half dozen impressive people named Cooper:

  1. Alan Cooper (1952-), American software designer and programmer. Developed the visual programming language used to create Visual Basic.
  2. Astley P. Cooper (1768-1841), English surgeon and anatomist. First to tie the abdominal aorta to treat aneurysm in 1817.
  3. Irving S. Cooper (1922-1985), American neurosurgeon.
  4. Kenneth H. Cooper (1931-), American doctor. Introduced the concept of aerobics in 1968.
  5. Leon N. Cooper (1930-), American physicist. Co-developed the first microscopic theory of superconductivity in 1957.
  6. Martin Cooper (1928-), American engineer. Led the team that built the first mobile phone (1972-1973) and made the first public mobile phone call (1973).
  7. Peter Cooper (1791-1883), American inventor and manufacturer. Designed and built the first steam locomotive in the U.S. in 1830.
  8. Whina Cooper (1895-1994), Māori leader and activist.

Do you know of any other equally cool people named Cooper?

On the “Changed Nomenclature of Our Babies”

An opinion about “modern names” from 1907:

A very good guide, in the study of New England genealogy, is given by the Christian name. In some families, Simon, Stephen and Thomas may follow down the line of sons; while others carry only John, James and William. Genealogists have great confidence in this clue, for those Christian old worthies used to name their sons after themselves and their fathers. They had not evolved into the “Vernons” and “Cecils” and “Irvings” of now-a-days; these modern names which mean nothing but a morbid craving for the romantic and unusual. Romances guide the Christian names of babies today, alas, instead of sense of family loyalty. Have we not lost something of the real spirit of genuineness and fealty with the changed nomenclature of our babies?

So amusing to think of Vernon, Cecil and Irving as romantic or unusual. I wonder what this writer would have thought of Jayden, Jaxon and Jace.

Source: “Genealogy.” Deseret Evening News 26 Jan. 1907: 26.

1940s Family with 24 Kids – Largest Family in U.S.?

In 1946, the National Father’s Day Committee declared 63-year-old New Yorker George N. Davis the father with the largest family in the United States.

largest family 1940s
The Davis family of New York, 1946

Whether or not his family really was “the largest family in the United States” at that time I don’t know, but I can tell you that he had a total of 24 children (though only 20 were still living in 1946). He had seven with his first wife, Lillian, and the rest with his second wife, Anna.

Here are the names of all 24, in alphabetical order:

  1. Alice
  2. Anna
  3. Arthur
  4. Beulah
  5. Blanche
  6. Brayton
  7. Clark
  8. Charles (died in infancy)
  9. Derwood
  10. Emma Jean
  11. Geneva
  12. George
  13. Irving
  14. Isaac (died in infancy)
  15. Isaac
  16. Joyce Mae (died in infancy)
  17. Laura (died as an adult)
  18. Lena
  19. Lovisa
  20. Raymond
  21. Rupert
  22. Viva
  23. Wallace
  24. Winrick

According to the 1920 Census, he also had a stepdaughter named Ella.

Out of the 24 names on the list, which girl and boy names do you like best?

Source: George N. Davis, Father of the Year

P.S. Here’s a short newsreel movie [vid] about the family.