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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Joe

Number of Babies Named Joe

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Joe

Babies Named after Oprah’s Boyfriend?

StedmanAccording to Wikipedia, Stedman Graham is an “educator, author, businessman and speaker.” But without Wikipedia’s help, how would you describe Stedman? That’s right: “Oprah’s boyfriend.”

Oprah began dating Stedman in mid-1986, a few months before The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. We’ve already seen how the baby name Oprah debuted on the national list that year, but did you know that the talk show gave the baby name Stedman a boost as well?

  • 1991: 28 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1990: 38 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1989: 82 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1988: 29 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1987: 20 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1986: unlisted

Not only did Stedman reappear on the national baby name list in 1987 after a 48-year absence, but the variant names Steadman, Stedmen, Stedmon and Stedmond all followed suit in 1988.

Stedman on Oprah, 1989
Stedman on Oprah, 1989
And what accounts for the Stedman spike of 1989?

In February of that year, Stedman appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time. The episode was about “men who marry or date famous women, and how they cope with it.” The other guests were actress Susan Lucci and her husband Helmut, and singer Barbara Mandrell and her husband Ken. (Here’s the episode, if you want to watch.)

While usage of the name Stedman has tapered off since 1989, the relationship between Oprah and Stedman is still going strong nearly 3 decades later. They attended the Oscars together last month, in fact.

Stedman is one several “significant other” baby names I’ve spotted on the SSA’s baby name list so far. Others include Josanne, Movita and Tarita (all associated with Marlon Brando), Syreeta and Londie (both associated with Stevie Wonder), Loray and Altovise (both associated with Sammy Davis, Jr.), Kayatana (girlfriend of Flip Wilson), Marva (first wife of Joe Louis) and Sonji (first wife of Muhammad Ali). Stedman is unique, though, in that it’s a male name that was popularized by a famous female — not a common scenario, it seems.

Sources: Stedman Graham – Wikipedia, Oprah’s Beau Drops In Her Main Squeeze Meets Star’s Tv ‘Family’


Twins Named After Joe Louis and Marva

Joe LouisWillis and Esther Scott of Beloit, Wisconsin, welcomed twins (one boy, one girl) on the evening of September 24, 1935 — the day heavyweight boxer Joe Louis both got married to his girlfriend Marva Trotter and defeated fellow heavyweight Max Baer at Yankee Stadium.

What did they name the twins? Joseph Louis and Josephine Marva, of course.

And they weren’t the only ones to opt for Marva that year. Usage of the girl name rose significantly following the marriage:

  • 1937: 343 baby girls named Marva (ranked 342nd)
  • 1936: 350 baby girls named Marva (ranked 334th)
  • 1935: 187 baby girls named Marva (ranked 466th)
  • 1934: 74 baby girls named Marva (ranked 785th)
  • 1933: 60 baby girls named Marva (ranked 873rd)

Source: “Wisconsin Twins Named After Joe Louis and Bride.” Afro-American 5 Oct. 1935: 1.

Stickers with Names from the ’60s

In 1969, dozens of “Mod Generation” stickers — each of which featured a drawing of a young person and a name — were distributed inside packs of Topps chewing gum.

(The outfits and hairstyles seem a lot more hippie than mod to me, but oh well.)

Female names used on the stickers include Alice, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Connie, Diane, Donna, Dotty, Ellen, Esther, Fay, Frances, Gloria, Helen, Jackie, Joan, Judy, Lois, Marie, Mary, Millie, Minda, Nancy, Natalie, Phyllis, Rose, Shelly and Susan.

Mod Generation Sticker BettyMod Generation Sticker DonnaMod Generation Sticker Minda

Male names used on the stickers include Barry, Bert, Bill, Charlie, Chris, Dave, Don, Fred, George, Herb, Irv, Jerry, Joe, John, Larry, Louis, Michael, Paul, Pete, Ray, Richard, Roy, Teddy and Tony.

Mod Generation Sticker IrvMod Generation Sticker LarryMod Generation Sticker Terry

While of these female and male names do you like most? How about least?

Source: 1969: “Mod Generation” Stickers, Mod Generation – 1969

How Many Twins Get Matchy-Matchy Names?

In a comment on last week’s twin name post, Erin said she’d “love to see some kind of analysis on what percentage of twins are given names that are/aren’t matchy-matchy.”

I do know of one analysis like this. It’s 50 years old, so it’s not exactly up-to-date, but these were the findings:

  • 79% of twins overall had similar names
    • 90% of identical twins had similar names
    • 75% of fraternal twins had similar names

Name researcher Robert Plank published “Names of Twins” in the journal Names way back in 1964. This study was mentioned by H. Edward Deluzain in the essay “Names and Personal Identity” in 1996:

Robert Plank, who studied names of twins, discovered that the names fit into three patterns and that the names in two of the patterns show unmistakable similarity. The most common pattern, which occurred in 62% of the cases Plank studied, was the use of names that begin with the same letter. This included such names as Richard and Robert (Ricky and Robby), Joseph and Judith (Joey and Judy), Louise and Louisa, as well as such names as Paul and Paula and Patrick and Patricia. The second pattern involved names that had different first letters but where similar in sound, rhythm, or rhyme. Such sets of names as Tracy and Stacy, Billy Joe and Penny Sue accounted for 17% of the sets of names. Finally, Plank found that only 21% of the sets of names were different enough from one another to be considered dissimilar. Identical twins, who are always of the same sex and who look so much alike people have trouble telling them apart, fare worse than fraternal twins in the similarity of their names. For, as Plank found, almost 90% of the identical twins had similar names compared to roughly only 75% of the fraternals.

Have any of you seen more recent research on similar/dissimilar names for twins?

Name Quotes for the Weekend #11

From an article in The Independent about filmmaker Lu Lu:

Lu Lu is no stranger to a language gap. Even her name is a constant source of confusion in America. “They ask me my first name. I say ‘Lu.’ Then they ask me for my last name, and I say ‘Lu.’ They think I misunderstood them.” In Chinese, the characters, while pronounced the same, are written differently. In English, though, Lu Lu’s first and last name are identical. She laughs, being frank, “My name in Chinese is ordinary, but when I came to the US, people think it is interesting.”

From a New York Times article about hipsters:

While waiting at the cash register, I picked up a pair of argyle wool socks from a nearby wicker basket and asked, “Are your socks local?” The salesman self-consciously said no. I returned the socks like an organic farmer who has learned that a friend has named her child Monsanto.

From Momo Fali’s about page:

When my son was an infant I created an on-line account with the user name “momofali” (read: Mom of Ali) and when my best friend saw the site, she sent me an e-mail asking, “Who’s Momo Fali?” I’ve been Momo ever since. As a matter of fact, most people have trouble calling me Diane anymore.

From a Scotsman.com article about surnames:

Looking to the future, a resurgence in the popularity of traditional Scottish forenames in recent years is likely to combat Anglicisation, said Hough.

“Far more Gaelic and Celtic-derived personal names are being chosen by parents in Scotland, which can be a way of affirming national identity,” she says. “Gaelic-derived forenames that are in the top 100 names in Scotland at the moment include Aiden, Callum and Finlay. Cameron is originally a clan name, and Lewis, Evan and Isla are all place names.”

Frank Dixon, statistician for the National Records of Scotland, which compiles the top 100 baby names, says that whilst Jack and Sophie are the most popular forenames, middle names are increasingly being used to showcase a sense of national identity.

From the Allmusic.com profile of Blues/R&B pianist Ivory Joe Hunter (b. 1914):

An accomplished tunesmith, he played around the Gulf Coast region, hosting his own radio program for a time in Beaumont before migrating to California in 1942. It was a wise move since Hunter — whose real name was Ivory Joe, incidentally (perhaps his folks were psychic!) — found plenty of work pounding out blues and ballads in wartime California.

From an interview with photographer Peter Belanger in The Verge:

What’s your favorite movie, period?

True Romance is one of my favorites. There is an intensity of passion. It showed the extent people will go for those they love, blurred the lines between right and wrong, and had some great lines as well. I wanted to name our first child Alabama after the main character, but my wife vetoed it.

From a letter to the editor in the Casper Star-Tribune:

OK, once again I had to laugh at Tuesday’s paper.

The biggest front page news article, sporting a full banner headline in the place of honor just below the masthead was: “Liam and Emma Most Popular Names for Babies in Wyoming in 2012”

Baby names beat out the meteor sighting and the loss of a popular airline route.

Baby names beat out coverage of Israel’s air strikes on Syria.

Baby names beat out the passage of the Internet sales tax bill, sponsored by Wyoming’s Sen. Mike Enzi. That piece of news didn’t even make the front page.

Now, if the Casper Star-Tribune were a supermarket tabloid or a neighborhood weekly I wouldn’t say a thing. Is that what Wyoming’s only statewide newspaper is trying to be? I thought that the Casper Star Tribune was a real newspaper. Real newspapers carry news on the front page and publish baby name surveys in the home-and-family section.

From a post at Appellation Mountain:

Despite that data, here’s my theory: part of the increasing volatility in baby names is due to conversations like this one. The parents agree on Olive for their daughter’s name, but they’re seriously considering using something else for fear that Olive is going to become too popular. I think Anna gives her excellent advice, and some low-key encouragement to use Olive anyhow. But if we’re thinking this way, that means that we’re discarding names as “too popular” before they’re even popular. All of this crystal-ball gazing pushes us towards more and more unusual names, and growing diversity in given names.

And three in a row from an article in The Atlatnic about the names of NPR reporters

1:

But perhaps no reporter’s name is more beloved than Sylvia Poggioli, NPR’s Italian correspondent. Sylvia has had a cow in Cambodia named after her, and a restaurant in Salem, Oregon. “Every time Sylvia says her name,” the restaurateur said, “I envision Italy, I see and smell good food.”

2:

Neda Ulaby’s first name means “dew” and is fairly common in Syria. (“It’s also the name of the heroine of an opera called Pagliacci who is literally killed by a clown,” she told me over email.)

[…]

A few years ago, a pair of hardcore NPR listeners invited Neda Ulaby to their wedding, sending along a picture of their car’s license plate, which reads “OOLABEE.” “Apparently they’d developed the creepy habit of referring to each other as ‘my little Ulaby.’ So I became a mating call,” she explained.

3:

Robert Smith of Planet Money told me by email that the only reason to change his name “would be so that I could be more famous. You would remember it better if I ended by reports with, ‘I’m Mobius Tutti.'” But at the same time, he says, “I’m in this business to tell other people’s stories, and not to promote myself or my own name. Being a Robert Smith is always a good reminder that you aren’t that different than the people you cover.”

Jordache – The Baby Name Inspired by Designer Jeans

Young people have been wearing jeans since the 1950s, thanks to the influence of jeans-wearing movie stars like Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman.

But designer jeans didn’t catch on until the late 1970s.

Designer jeans, made for the dance floor and the roller-disco rink, were tighter, sexier, and more sophisticated. Their hallmarks were instantly recognizable: a covetable name and logo on the back pocket, a high price, and a curve-hugging fit.

And what brand went on to become one of the most popular designer jean brands of the 1980s?

Jordache.

Jordache Logo
Jordache Logo

The Jordache Jeans label was created in New York City in 1978 by Israeli brothers Josef (Joe), Raphael (Ralph) and Abraham (Avi) Nakash.

The word Jordache was created from the “Jo” of Joe, the “R” of Ralph, the “D” of David (Ralph’s eldest son), the “A” of Avi, and sh-sound of Nakash.

The brothers had built up a small chain of stores selling brand-name jeans at discounted prices during the ’70s, but during the New York City blackout of 1977, their largest store was looted and burned down. With the insurance settlement, they decided to start manufacturing their own jeans.

But designer jeans by Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, Chic, Sergio Valente, Sasson, Zena, Bon Jour, and others were already on the market. To differentiate themselves, the bothers launched a controversial advertising campaign for Jordache Jeans in January of 1979.

Banned by all three major television networks at first, the 1979 30-second spot featured a topless model on horseback clad only in Jordache and accompanied by the jingle “You’ve got the look I want to know better.”

The ad may have been too lewd for the big networks, “but the independent New York stations carried it, and within weeks Jordache was a hit among teenage girls.”

And so, by the start of the 1980s, Jordache was huge.

How huge?

So huge that it became a baby name.

Jordache first popped up on the SSA’s baby name list in 1980:

  • 1985: 5 baby boys named Jordache
  • 1984: 5 baby boys named Jordache
  • […]
  • 1981: 8 baby boys named Jordache
  • 1980: 12 baby boys named Jordache [debut]

But the baby name Jordache didn’t catch on. It made the list three more times during the ’80s, then dropped off, never to return.

I find it really interesting that Jordache, a fashion brand, was use more often as a boy name than as a girl name. (I have found a handful of females with the name, so they do exist.)

What do you think — does the name “Jordache” seem masculine or feminine to you?

Sources:

What’s the Most Common Name in the U.S. Senate?

In early 2011, the blog Smart Politics analyzed the first names of all the U.S. Senators elected or appointed within the last 100 years.

In total, there were 884 senators and 313 names.

The most common names were these:

  1. John (including Jon, Jonathan, and Johnny) – total of 65 senators (7.4%)
  2. William (including Bill) – 50 (5.7%)
  3. James (including Jim) – 44 (5.0%)
  4. Robert (including Bob and Rob) – 34 (3.9%)
  5. Thomas (including Tom) – 29 (3.3%)
  6. George – 25 (2.8%)
  7. Charles (including Chuck) – 22 (2.5%)
  8. Joseph (including Joe) – 21 (2.4%)
  9. Frank – 17 (1.9%)
  10. Richard (including Rick and Dick) – 16 (1.8%)

Some of the unique names were Spessard, Furnifold, Zales, Xenophon, Olympia, Orrin, Rand, Saxby, Sherrod and Barack.

Names that have become popular recently in the Senate include Mark and Mike/Michael.

Source: What’s in a Name? From Abraham to Zell, 100 Years of U.S. Senators