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

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 Karen

Number of Babies Named Karen

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Karen

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: P

patria, cinema, girl name, 1910s

Here’s the next installment of rare female names used by either the actresses or characters in very old films (1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

Paducah
Paducah Pomeroy was a character played by actress Aileen Pringle in the film Piccadilly Jim (1936).

Paget
Debra Paget was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1960s. She was born in Colorado in 1933. Her birth name was Debralee Griffin.

  • Usage of the baby name Paget.

Palma
Palma May was a character played by actress Irene Castle in the film French Heels (1922).

  • Usage of the baby name Palma.

Palola
Palola was a character played by actress Hilo Hattie in the film Song of the Islands (1942).

Panama
Panama Smith was a character played by actress Gladys George in the film The Roaring Twenties (1939).

Panca
Panca was a character played by actress Linda Arvidson in the short film The Stampede (1916).

Pancha
Pancha O’Brien was a character played by actress Geraldine Farrar in the film The Hell Cat (1918).

Panchita
Panchita was a character played by actress Conchita Montenegro in the film Laughing at Life (1933).

Pandora
Pandora La Croix was a character played by actress Viola Dana in the film As Man Desires (1925).

Panthea
Panthea Romoff was a character played by actress Norma Talmadge in the film Panthea (1917).

Papela
Papela was a character played by actress Gail Kenton in the film The Lure of the South Seas (1929).

Papeta
Papeta was a character played by actress Anne Schaefer in the short film The Prayers of Manuelo (1912).

Papinta
Papinta was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film The Little Organ Player of San Juan (1912).

Papita
Papita was a character played by the actress Clara Williams in the short film Papita’s Destiny (1913).

Parete
Parete was a character played by actress Dagmar Godowsky in the film The Altar Stairs (1922).

Parisette
Parisette was a character played by actress Sandra Milovanoff in the film Parisette (1921).

Parola
Parola was a character played by actress Helen Ware in the film Fascination (1922).

Parthenia
Parthenia was a character name in multiple films, including Ingomar, The Barbarian (1908) and Show Boat (1929).

Pasqualina
Pasqualina Carmetto was a character played by actress Mary Fuller in the short film Tony’s Oath of Vengeance (1912).

Patria
Patria Channing was a character played by actress Irene Castle in the film Patria (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Patria (which saw an uptick in usage in 1917).

Patta
Patta Heberton was a character played by actress May Allison in the film The Come-Back (1916).

Patterson
Patterson Dial was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Florida in 1902. Her birth name was Elizabeth Patterson Dial.

Peaches
Peaches Jackson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in New York in 1913. Her birth name was Charlotte Jackson. Peaches was also a character played by actress May West in the film Every Day’s a Holiday (1937).

Peavey
Peavey was a character played by actress Olive Borden in the film Leave It to Me (1933).

Peg
Peg Entwistle was an actress who appeared in one film in 1932 (and, the same year, committed suicide by jumping off the H of the Hollywoodland sign). She was born in Wales in 1908. Her birth name was Millicent Lilian Entwistle. Peg was also a character played by actress Anna Neagle in the film Peg of Old Drury (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Peg.

Pegeen
Pegeen O’Barry was a character played by actress Pauline Starke in the film Irish Eyes (1918).

  • Usage of the baby name Pegeen.

Peggie
Peggie Hurst was a character played by actress Chrissie White in the film A Temporary Vagabond (1920).

  • Usage of the baby name Peggie.

Peggy
Peggy Pearce (born a Velma) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1894. Peggy Cartwright was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Canada in 1912. Peggy Moran (Mary) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in Iowa in 1918. Peggy Ryan (Margaret) was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in California in 1924. Finally, Peggy was also a character name in multiple films including Peggy Lynn, Burglar (short 1915) and Confessions of a Co-Ed (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Peggy.

Pelagia
Pelagia Walewska was a character played by actress Maria Ouspenskaya in the film Conquest (1937).

Pendola
Pendola Molloy was a character played by actress Karen Morley in the film Gabriel Over the White House (1933).

Penelopeia
Pénélopeia was a character played by actress Conchita Montenegro in the film Lumières de Paris (1938).

Peola
Peola was a character played by actress Fredi Wasghington in the film Imitation of Life (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Peola (which saw an uptick in usage in 1935).

Pepita
Pepita was a character name in multiple films, including The Street Singer (1912) and The Pretty Sister of Jose (1915).

Peppina
Peppina was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the film Poor Little Peppina (1916).

Peppy
Peppy Gilman was a character played by actress Dorothy Burgess in the film I Want a Divorce (1940).

Perdita
Perdita was a character name in multiple films, including In Old California (short, 1910) and The Demon (1918).

Periwinkle
Periwinkle was a character played by actress Mary Miles Minter in the film Periwinkle (1917).

Perka
Perka was a character played by actress Georgia Fursman in the film The Seven Sisters (1915).

Perpetua
Perpetua was a character name in multiple films, including The Arrival of Perpetua (1915) and Love’s Boomerang (1922).

Perrette
Perrette was a character played by actress Simone Vaudry in the film Fanfan la Tulipe (1925).

Persis
Persis was a character played by actress Mary Treen in the film The Great Man’s Lady (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Persis.

Pert
Pert Kelton was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in Montana in 1907. Pert was also a character name in multiple films, including Danger! Women at Work (1943) and Take It Big (1944).

Pervaneh
Pervaneh was a character played by actress Greta Nissen in the film The Lady of the Harem (1926).

Petal
Petal Schultze was a character played by actress Amy Veness in the film Red Wagon (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Petal.

Petaluma
Petaluma was a character played by actress Vivian Rich in the short film A Blowout at Santa Banana (1914).

Petrie
Petrie was a character played by actress Claire Du Brey in the film Oh, What a Night! (1944).

Petrina
Petrina Faneuil was a character played by actress Pauline Frederick in the film Let Not Man Put Assunder (1924).

Petronell
Petronell was a character played by actress Helen “Bunty” Payne in the film The Farmer’s Wife (1941).

Pette
Pette San was a character played by actress Mary Fuller in the short film An Almond-Eyed Maid (1913).

Pettie
Pettie Wilson was a character played by actress Gwen Lee in the film The Boy Friend (1926).

Pheasant
Pheasant Vaughan Whiteoak was a character played by actress Molly Lamont in the film Jalna (1935).

Phemie
Phemie was a character name in multiple films, including The Man Hater (1917) and La Bohème (1926).

Philena
Philena Mortimer was a character played by actress Helene Chadwick in the film From the Ground Up (1921).

Philine
Philine was a character played by actress Xenia Desni in the film Pariserinnen (1921).

Phillipa
Phillipa was a character name in multiple films, including The Flash of an Emerald (1915) and Risky Business (1920).

Phronsie
Sophronia “Phronsie” Pepper was a character played by actress Dorothy Ann Seese in the four Five Little Peppers films of 1939 and 1940.

  • Usage of the baby name Phronsie (which debuted in the data the year most of the films came out).

Phroso
Phroso was a character played by actress Malvina Longfellow in the film Possession (1922).

Phyl
Phyl was a character played by actress Margaret Perry in the film New Morals for Old (1932).

Phyliss
Phyliss was a character name in multiple films, including Broadway Billy (1926) and Pleasures of the Rich (1926).

Phyllis
Phyllis Gordon was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1940s. She was born in Virginia in 1889. Phyllis Haver was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Kansas in 1899. Phyllis Thaxter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1940s to the 1970s. She was born in Maine in 1919. Finally, Phyllis was also a character name in multiple films, including Just Like a Woman (short, 1915) and Wagons Westward (1940).

Phyra
Phyra was a character played by actress Enid Markey in the short film The Soul of Phyra (1915).

Pidetta
Pidetta was a character played by actress Rosita Marstini in the short film On the Trail of the Tigress (1916).

Pidgie
Pidgie Ryder was a character played by actress Leatrice Joy in the film The Invisible Divorce (1920).

Pierrette
Pierrette was a character name in multiple films, including Under the Make-Up (1913) and Laughter and Tears (1921).

Pige
Pige was a character played by actress Marcia Mae Jones in the film Barefoot Boy (1938).

Pina
Pina Menichelli was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Italy in 1890. Her birth name was Giuseppa Iolanda Menichelli.

  • Usage of the baby name Pina.

Pinkie
Pinkie was a character name in multiple films, including The Reward (short, 1915) and Oh, Yeah? (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Pinkie.

Pinky
Pinky was a character name in multiple films, including The Village Sleuth (1920) and Pinky (1949).

  • Usage of the baby name Pinky.

Pinna
Pinna Nesbit was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1896.

Piquette
Piquette was a character played by actress Shannon Day in the film Honor First (1922).

Plutina
Plutina was a character played by actress Clara Kimball Young in the film The Heart of the Blue Ridge (1915).

Pola
Pola Negri was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1960s. She was born in Poland in 1897. Her birth name was Barbara Apolonia Chałupec. Pola was also a character played by actress Elizabeth Allan in the film Insult (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Pola.

Polaire
Polaire Quinn was a character played by actress Madge Evans in the film The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932).

Poldi
Poldi Vogelhuber was a character played by actress Luise Rainer in the film The Great Waltz (1938).

Poll
Poll Patchouli was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film Fool’s Paradise (1921).

Polly
Polly was a character name in multiple films, including Outlaws of the Sea (1923) and Shanghai Lady (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Polly.

Pompeia
Pompeia Plotina was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the short film In the Days of Trajan (1913).

Pompilia
Pompilia was a character played by actress Marie Newton in the short film The Ring and the Book (1914).

Pomposia
Pomposia was a character played by actress Helen Ware in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).

Poppaea
Poppaea was a character name in multiple films, including Nero (1922) and The Sign of the Cross (1932).

Portland
Portland Fancy was a character played by actress Juliet Brenon in the film The Street of Forgotten Men (1925). (Plus there’s radio actress Portland Hoffa was most active during the ’30s and ’40s.)

Posey
Posey was a character played by actress Edith Arnold in the film College Scandal (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Posey.

Posie
Posie Stanton was a character played by actress Virginia Southern in the film Black Friday (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Posie.

Poupée
Poupée Andriot was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s and 1930s. She was born in New York in 1899. Her birth name was Edna Stone. Poupée is French for “doll.”

Preciosa
Preciosa was a character played by actress Alice Joyce in the short film Between Father and Son (1911).

Prissy
Prissy was a character name in multiple films, including The Dangerous Flirt (1924) and Gone with the Wind (1939).

  • Usage of the baby name Prissy.

Protea
Protéa was a character played by French actress Josette Andriot in multiple films in the 1910s.

Prue
Prue was a character name in multiple films, including Only Five Years Old (short, 1913) and The Man Who Had Everything (1920).

  • Usage of the baby name Prue.

Prunella
Prunella Judson was a character played by actress ZaSu Pitts in the film Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).

Psyche
Psyche was a character played by actress Lillian Yarbo in the film My Brother Talks to Horses (1947).

Puff
Puff Rogers was a character played by actress Wynne Gibson in the film Lady and Gent (1932).

Pundita
Pundita was a character played by actress Goldie Colwell in multiple films in the 1910s.

*

…Which of the above names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

Anne Rice’s Birth Name Was Howard

Anne RiceDid you know that author Anne Rice was born “Howard Allen O’Brien”?

The vampire novelist (and creator of Lestat) was born in New Orleans in 1941 to Howard and Katherine O’Brien. “Howard” came from her father — who went by Mike most of the time, ironically — and “Allen” was her mother’s maiden name.

Apparently she went by both names together as a youngster; Anne said in a recent interview that she “was Howard Allen, it was a double name” [vid].

Anne didn’t like having a male name, though, so in the first grade she started calling herself “Anne.” Eventually her name was legally changed to Anne O’Brien.

All three of Anne’s sisters (Alice, Tamara, and Karen) were given traditionally female names at birth.

[Related post: Stanley Ann Dunham, who later dropped the “Stanley.”]

Source: Ramsland, Katherine. Anne Rice Reader. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.

2 Semi-Mysterious Baby Names: Karil & Caril

I’ve been trying to piece together the stories behind the baby names Karil and Caril lately. Both of them saw increased usage in 1958:

Year Usage of Karil Usage of Caril
1960 8 baby girls .
1959 15 baby girls 7 baby girls
1958 19 baby girls [debut] 10 baby girls
1957 . .
1956 . .

The similar names Carol and Karen were popular in the late ’50s, but I think something more specific would have caused both Karil and Caril to pop up all of a sudden like that.

Right now I have two working theories, and both involve murders (how uplifting!).

The first theory is Caril Ann Fugate, the 14-year-old from Nebraska who went on a killing spree with her boyfriend, 19-year-old Charles Starkweather, in January of 1958. The story stayed in the news for months: Starkweather was sentenced to death in May, Fugate received a life sentence in November, and Starkweather’s execution took place in mid-1959.

The second theory is Karil Graham, a Los Angeles woman who was murdered in ’55 and whose story was recounted (with a lot of embellishment) in the 1958 nonfiction book The Badge by Jack Webb, the creator of Dragnet. In late 1958, many newspapers ran Jim Bishop’s positive review of the book, which included the following excerpt highlighting Karil:

The way it is with so many women who live alone, life had held back on Karil Graham. She was likable and attractive, still a year on the sunny side of 40, sandy-haired, blue-eyed, trim-figured. But there was no husband — a marriage hadn’t worked out — no children, no other man in her lonely life.

Karil hid the hurt and filled the emptiness as best she could. Every day she went to work, on time, to her job as receptionist at a downtown Los Angeles art school. Nights, in her quiet apartment, she listened to music and dabbled in painting. She was just a dilettante, she know resignedly, but records and easel were gracious cover-ups for emptiness.

Do either of these theories seem like the primary answer to you? Do you think the answer could be a bit of both? Or something else entirely…?

Sources:

Round-up of Multiples from 1944

The Badgett Quadruplets in 1944
Jeraldine, Joan, Jean, and Janet Badgett © LIFE

Oodles of multiples — eight sets of twins, one set of triplets, six sets of quadruplets, and one set of quintuplets — were featured in an early 1944 issue of LIFE magazine. Most of these multiples had been born in the 1920s and 1930s.

Curious about the names? I knew you would be! Here they are, along with ages and other details.

Twins:

  • Marjorie and Mary Vaughan, 19.
  • Lois and Lucille Barnes, 21.
  • Betty and Lenore Wade, early 20s.
  • Robert “Bobby” and William “Billy” Mauch, 22.
    • They had starred in the 1937 movie The Prince and the Pauper.
  • Blaine and Wayne Rideout, 27.
    • They had been track stars at the University of North Texas in the late 1930s along with another set of twins, Elmer and Delmer Brown.
  • Charles and Horace Hildreth, 41.
    • Horace was elected Governor of Maine later the same year.
  • Ivan and Malvin Albright, 47.
  • Auguste and Jean Piccard, 60.
    • “Honors as the world’s most distinguished pair of twins must go to Jean and Auguste Piccard, stratosphere balloonists, who are so identical that not everyone realizes there are two of them.”

Triplets:

  • Diane Carol, Elizabeth Ann, and Karen Lynn Quist, 11 months.

Quadruplets:

  • Claire (boy), Cleo (boy), Clayton (boy), and Connie (girl) Brown, 3.
  • Janet, Jean, Jeraldine, and Joan Badgett, 5.
    • “The customary alliteration in multiple names accounts for the “J” in Jeraldine.”
  • Felix (boy), Ferdinand (boy), Frances (girl), and Frank (boy) Kasper, 7.
  • James (boy), Jay (boy), Jean (girl), and Joan (girl) Schense, 13.
  • Edna, Wilma, Sarah, and Helen Morlok — the Morlok Quads — 13.
  • Anthony, Bernard, Carl, and Donald Perricone, 14.
    • “Their Beaumont neighbors call them “A,” “B,” “C” and “D” for short.”

Quintuplets:

  • Annette, Cecile, Emilie, Marie, and Yvonne Dionne — the Dionne Quints — 9.

Which of these sets of names do you like best? Why?

Source: “Twins: Accident of Their Birth Sets Them Apart from Other People.” LIFE 6 Mar. 1944: 91-99.

Delayed Celebrity Baby Name Debuts

tahnee
Raquel and Tahnee, LHJ, Nov. 1967
Last week we looked at celebrity baby name debuts. These typically occur the same year or the year after a celebrity baby is born (or adopted).

Sometimes, though, there’s a gap of several years. This typically means that the birth/adoption didn’t draw much attention to the name, but some subsequent media event did.

Here are the three earliest examples of “delayed” celebrity baby name debuts that I know of, plus the stories behind what caused them.

Tahnee

In December of 1961, actress Raquel Welch had a baby girl. The baby was legally named Latanne Rene, but her nickname was Tahnee.

But the name Tahnee didn’t debut on the baby name charts until 1967, when Tahnee was 6 years old:

  • 1970: 27 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1969: 15 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1968: 28 baby girls named Tahnee
  • 1967: 17 baby girls named Tahnee [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

Why? Because that’s the year Tahnee and her mother were featured in an issue Ladies’ Home Journal.

Tahnee went on to become an actress, like her mother. The usage of the baby name Tahnee peaked in 1985, the year Tahnee Welch played an alien named Kitty in the summer blockbuster Cocoon.

(Her legal name, Latanne, has never made the SSA’s list.)

Karac

Karac Pendra Plant with his father Robert Plant
Karac with Robert Plant, mid-1970s
In April of 1972, musician Robert Plant welcomed a baby boy named Karac Pendra. “Karac” was inspired by Caractacus, the name of a first-century British chieftain.

But the name Karac didn’t debut until 1979:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 6 baby boys named Karac [debut]
  • 1978: unlisted

Sadly, Karac died of a stomach infection in 1977 while Led Zeppelin was on tour in North America.

In 1979, Led Zeppelin released the album In Through the Out Door, which included a tribute to Karac called “All My Love.” At least one high-profile magazine, People, mentioned Karac in its write-up of the album. My guess is that this and other press mentions are what caused the baby name to debut in ’79.

(For the record, several U.S. babies named Karac before 1979. And I found one born in London in 1977 named “Zeppelin Karac.”)

A’keiba

Akeiba Burrell on the cover of Jet with her father MC Hammer in 1992
A’keiba on the cover of Jet, May, 1992
In September of 1987, musician M.C. Hammer welcomed a baby girl named A’Keiba Monique.

But the name Akeiba didn’t debut until 1992, when A’keiba was four years old:

  • 1995: unlisted
  • 1994: 5 baby girls named Akeiba
  • 1993: 6 baby girls named Akeiba
  • 1992: 49 baby girls named Akeiba [debut]
  • 1991: unlisted

M.C. Hammer wasn’t famous in 1987. (“U Can’t Touch This” didn’t become a hit until 1990.) So A’Keiba’s birth wouldn’t have affected the baby name charts that early.

But why did it suddenly hit in 1992?

Because A’keiba was in the spotlight several times that year.

Various publications ran a photo of A’keiba and her father attending the American Music Awards together in January, for instance, and Jet put Hammer and A’keiba (and her name, sans apostrophe) on the cover in May.

*

Delayed celebrity baby name debuts still occur these days, though less often — at least relative to the sheer number of celebrity baby name debuts that we now see on the charts.

The best internet-era example I can think of is Kailand, son of Stevie Wonder and fashion designer Kai Milla (Karen Millard-Morris). He was born in 2001, but his name didn’t debut until 2005 — the year he started showing up to fashion shows (one in February, another in December) with his parents.

Can you think of any other celebrity baby names didn’t debut on time?

Source: Jones, Jerene. “After Tragedy Left Their Hearts Heavier Than Their Metal, Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin Have Risen Again.” People 27 Aug. 1979: 32.

*

Update, 5/1/16: Forgot to add Shangaleza to this list! Baseball player Dock Ellis welcomed a baby girl named Shangaleza in 1969, but her name didn’t debut until 1971. Why? A mention in the August issue of Sports Illustrated (“On the Lam with the Three Rivers Gang“):

Dock Ellis, the hottest-talking, hottest winning pitcher in the National League, explained that his one-year-old daughter’s name, Shangaleza Talwanga, meant “everything black is beautiful” in Swahili.

The name ended up being a one-hit wonder.