Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Lance in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Lance and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Lance.
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Atticus Finch is racist? There’s a twist no one saw coming.
Especially all the parents who were inspired by Finch — up to now, one of the most beloved characters in 20th-century American fiction — to call their sons Atticus, a name that has become quite trendy:
2014: 846 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 370th]
2013: 733 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 404th]
2012: 709 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 409th]
2011: 577 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 461st]
2010: 450 baby boys named Atticus [ranked 561st]
Bounding up the U.S. charts over the last decade, Atticus entered the top 1,000 in 2004 and the top 500 in 2011.
Then, last week, Go Set a Watchman was released. In Harper Lee’s Mockingbird sequel, Atticus makes racist comments, reads racist pamphlets, even attends a KKK meeting.
Atticus Finch — and Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning portrayal of him — is the quintessential white savior. But the trouble with white saviors is that the story is not about those whom they’re saving. It’s about themselves.
But for the hundreds of young people who’ve been named Atticus in the last few years (and for their parents) this was an unexpected and unwelcome turn of events.
(It’s a good reminder, though, that any baby name strongly associated with just one thing — a person, a character, an entity, etc. — is a risk.)
The year is half over, but sales of Watchman are through the roof, so…what do you think will happen to usage of the baby name Atticus in 2015? Will the rise continue, but at a slower rate? Will usage level off? Will usage turn around and begin to decrease? (Could Atticus become this decade’s Hillary?)
I had to follow yesterday’s post about Nydia with a post about Cherrill. Why? Because both names were inspired by fictional blind girls selling flowers. How random is that?
While Nydia came from a 19th-century book, Cherrill comes from a 20th-century film. But not just any film — one of the best romantic comedies of all time, according to those in the know.
The baby name Cherrill popped up on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time in 1931. (This was more than a decade before the similar-sounding name Cheryl started becoming popular.)
1935: 10 baby girls named Cherrill
1934: 6 baby girls named Cherrill
1933: 8 baby girls named Cherrill
1932: 6 baby girls named Cherrill
1931: 9 baby girls named Cherrill [debut]
The reason? Charlie Chaplin’s silent film City Lights, which was released in early 1931 and featured Hollywood newcomer Virginia Cherrill as a blind flower-seller (the romantic interest of Chaplin’s famous “Little Tramp” character).
Chaplin had auditioned many young actresses before he noticed twenty-year-old Virginia Cherrill when they both sat ringside at a boxing match at the Hollywood Legion Stadium. Although a beautiful blonde, it was the manner in which she coped with her near-sightedness that earned her the role.
Despite the fact that talkies had largely replaced silent films by 1931, City Lights did extremely well at the box office.
And the film has stood the test of time. In 1991, the Library of Congress inducted City Lights into the National Film Registry. In 2008, the American Film Institute ranked City Lights the #1 romantic comedy of all time.
Virginia Cherrill, who was born in Illinois in 1908, never aspired to be a film star. (She was only visiting California when she was spotted by Chaplin.) She appeared in several more films after City Lights, but stopped acting after marrying actor Cary Grant in 1934. (They divorced the next year. Grant went on to marry Barbara Hutton and become a father figure to Barbara’s son Lance.)
The first baby born in central Iowa (including Des Moines) in 2014 was Nash David Eddie, son of Lance and Christine Eddie.
The name “Nash” was chosen in honor of Nashville, Tennessee. It’s where Lance and Christine went on their first road trip together.
When the president/CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. learned about baby Nash, he sent the Eddie family a bunch of “Nashville-themed gifts, including a CD with music from the TV show “Nashville,” a guitar-shaped chocolate bar, the “Lisa Loeb’s Silly Singalong” children’s book and a four-foot-tall stuffed Gnash — the Nashville Predators hockey team mascot.”
The family will also get free passes to local attractions the next time they visit Nashville.
Annette Funicello, the most popular member of the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-1959), passed away a couple of days ago.
Seeing her name in the news made me think about the other original Mouseketeers, most of whom were born in the early to mid-1940s (making them teens in the late 1950s). If you’re looking for a baby name reminiscent of sock hops and soda fountains, the first batch of Mouseketeers is not a bad place to start:
The baby name Lance started picking up steam in the U.S. in the late 1930s.
Because on February 24, 1936, American socialite and Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and her Danish nobleman husband, Count Kurt von Haugwitz-Hardenberg-Reventlow, welcomed a baby boy and named him Lance.
What really gave the name a boost, though, was the couple’s divorce in 1938. Little Lance was mentioned in the news a lot that year.
1939: 291 baby boys named Lance [rank: 322nd]
1938: 267 baby boys named Lance [rank: 339th]
1937: 70 baby boys named Lance [rank: 724th]
1936: 72 baby boys named Lance [rank: 704th]
1935: 41 baby boys named Lance
The name remained moderately popular during the second half of the 20th century. It even reached top-100 status in 1970 and 1971.
By the 1990s, though, it was in decline.
Then Lance Armstrong (b. 1971) came along, “winning” the Tour de France seven years in a row (1999 to 2005):
2006: 1,001 baby boys named Lance [rank: 319th]
2005: 1,253 baby boys named Lance [rank: 264th]
2004: 1,161 baby boys named Lance [rank: 275th]
2003: 1,166 baby boys named Lance [rank: 269th]
2002: 1,232 baby boys named Lance [rank: 261st]
2001: 1,285 baby boys named Lance [rank: 256th]
2000: 1,221 baby boys named Lance [rank: 267th]
1999: 1,003 baby boys named Lance [rank: 287th]
1998: 880 baby boys named Lance [rank: 316th]
1997: 918 baby boys named Lance [rank: 297th]
Usage of the name Lance was buoyed temporarily by Armstrong, but as soon as his run was over, it started sinking again:
2011: 574 baby boys named Lance [rank: 467th]
2010: 602 baby boys named Lance [rank: 444th]
2009: 638 baby boys named Lance [rank: 438th]
2008: 749 baby boys named Lance [rank: 395th]
2007: 825 baby boys named Lance [rank: 372nd]
Now that the Lance Armstrong’s reputation has been trashed, will the name Lance fall out of favor even faster?
UPDATE, 7/2014: In 2013, the name fell out of the top 500 for the first time since 1937.