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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Pansy

Number of Babies Named Pansy

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Pansy

The Baby Name Tara

tara plantation, gone with the wind
Tara, the Gone with the Wind plantation
Gone with the Wind (1936) heroine Katie Scarlett O’Hara was originally called Pansy O’Hara.

And that’s not the only name change writer Margaret Mitchell made before her book was published.

She also changed the name of Scarlett’s stately home, originally called Fontenoy Hall, to Tara — after Ireland’s Hill of Tara.

What happened to the baby name Tara after the movie version of Gone with the Wind came out in 1939? It immediately debuted on the baby name charts:

  • 1938 – (unlisted; fewer than 5)
  • 1939 – 7 baby girls named Tara
  • 1940 – 13 baby girls named Tara
  • 1941 – 14 baby girls named Tara
  • 1942 – 21 baby girls named Tara
  • 1943 – 24 baby girls named Tara

Usage continued to rise through the ’40s and ’50s. And, thanks to television, it was given two big boosts in the late ’60s and early ’70s — one from The Avengers character Tara King (on the show from 1968 to 1969), the other from soap opera All My Children character Tara Martin (introduced in 1970).

  • 1967 – 1,290 baby girls named Tara (rank: 229th)
  • 1968 – 2,184 baby girls named Tara (rank: 147th)
  • 1969 – 3,519 baby girls named Tara (rank: 107th)
  • 1970 – 5,334 baby girls named Tara (rank: 69th)
  • 1971 – 6,327 baby girls named Tara (rank: 50th)
  • 1972 – 7,230 baby girls named Tara (rank: 38th)
  • 1973 – 6,706 baby girls named Tara (rank: 37th)

Tara landed inside the top 40 six different times during the 1970s, far surpassing the popularity of Scarlett, which couldn’t even make the top 1,000 that decade.

But, as with all fads, after the rise comes the fall. Tara was out of the top 100 by the early ’90s. It ranked 775th in 2010, and could drop out of the top 1,000 entirely within the next few years.

Source: Walker, Marianne. Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh: The Love Story Behind Gone With the Wind. Atlanta, Georgia: Peachtree Publishers, 2011.

Other Gone with the Wind posts: Scarlett, Gone With & Wind, Suellen, Careen, Melanie


The Baby Name Scarlett

The baby name Scarlett is within spitting distance of the top 100, thanks in large part to actress Scarlett Johansson.

What put it on the map originally, though, was Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind (1936).

Did you know that Katie Scarlett O’Hara was nearly named Pansy? It’s true. Scarlett might never have become a baby name at all had Margaret Mitchell not decided, months after her book was accepted for publication, to change the character’s name from Pansy to Scarlett. She explained:

The name Scarlett was chosen six months after my book was sold….I submitted nearly a hundred names to my publishers and they chose Scarlett,–I may add it was my choice too.

Other names under consideration were Robin, Kells, Storm and Angel.

What made her settle on Scarlett?

As to why I chose the name of Scarlett — first, because I came across the name of Katie Scarlett so often in Irish literature and so I made it Gerald’s Mother’s maiden name. Second, while I of course knew of the Scarlett family on our Georgia Coast, I could find no record of any family named Scarlett in Clayton County between the years 1859 and 1873.

The surname originally denoted a maker or seller of a bright (often red-colored) woollen cloth called scarlet.

How many babies were named Scarlett following the book’s publication?

  • 1936 – (unlisted; fewer than 5)
  • 1937 – 7 baby girls named Scarlett
  • 1938 – 6 baby girls named Scarlett
  • 1939 – 7 baby girls named Scarlett (6 Scarlet)

Of course, the film version of Gone with the Wind, released at the very end of 1939, is what really gave the name a boost:

  • 1940 – 59 named Scarlett (16 Scarlet, 8 Scarlette)
  • 1941 – 76 named Scarlett (21 Scarlet, 12 Scarlette)
  • 1942 – 76 named Scarlett (25 Scarlet, 12 Scarlette)
  • 1943 – 68 named Scarlett (29 Scarlet, 11 Scarlette)
  • 1944 – 45 named Scarlett (15 Scarlet, 5 Scarlette)
  • 1945 – 34 named Scarlett (16 Scarlet, 6 Scarlette)

The name slowly picked up steam over the following decades and, by the end of the century, several hundred baby girls were being named Scarlett every year.

When Scarlett Johansson came on the scene in the early 2000s, usage of the name and its variants (and the number of variants) increased at a much faster rate:

  • 2000 – 227 Scarlett, 100 Scarlet, 14 Scarlette, 8 Scarleth
  • 2001 – 236 Scarlett, 114 Scarlet, 31 Scarlette, 6 Scarleth
  • 2002 – 290 Scarlett, 165 Scarlet, 25 Scarlette, 12 Scarleth, 10 Escarlet
  • 2003 – 326 Scarlett, 169 Scarlet, 22 Scarlette, 15 Scarleth, 5 Escarlet
  • 2004 – 538 Scarlett, 158 Scarlet, 41 Scarlette, 10 Scarleth, 6 Escarlet
  • 2005 – 732 Scarlett, 213 Scarlet, 49 Scarlette, 13 Scarleth, 5 Escarleth
  • 2006 – 1,116 Scarlett, 318 Scarlet, 76 Scarlette, 21 Scarleth, 7 Escarlet
  • 2007 – 1,581 Scarlett, 403 Scarlet, 109 Scarlette, 18 Scarleth, 6 Escarlet
  • 2008 – 1,619 Scarlett, 474 Scarlet, 110 Scarlette, 20 Scarleth, 5 Escarlet
  • 2009 – 1,919 Scarlett, 494 Scarlet, 114 Scarlette, 31 Scarleth
  • 2010 – 2,700 Scarlett, 757 Scarlet, 203 Scarlette, 27 Scarleth, 10 Escarlet, 5 Escarleth, 5 Escarlett

Do you think any of the other names Mitchell considered — Pansy, Robin, Kells, Storm, Angel — would have made a better character name? Do you think any of them could have caught on as a baby name the way Scarlett did?

Sources:

Other Gone with the Wind posts: Gone With & Wind, Tara, Suellen, Careen, Melanie

Unusual Baby Names from Florida

In the 1970s, Everett H. Williams–director of the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville, Florida–compiled lists of the most unusual baby names he saw on Florida birth certificates. Here’s a sampling:

  • 5/8 Jameson
  • Betty Burp
  • Bigamy and Larceny [twins]
  • Cancer
  • Candy Box
  • Cherry Pye
  • Cigar Stubbs
  • Crystal Chanderlier
  • Curlee Bush
  • Dor Bell
  • Easy Rider
  • End of the Line
  • First Time Benjamin
  • Florida Fellows
  • Full Dress Coat
  • Gospel Lilly Floweryvine Virgin Mary Lord Caroline
  • January Snow White
  • Kekoalauliionapalihauulioliokeloolau David Kaapuawaokamehameha
  • Lasagne
  • Lavoris
  • Looking at the Moon
  • Lucky Hippotamus
  • Mac Aroni
  • Pansy Flowers Greenwood
  • Prarie Totsiuia
  • Shantu Cantre
  • Silver Ware
  • Sky Rocket
  • Sports Model Higginbotham
  • Starlight Cauliflower Shaw
  • Strange Odor
  • Sweet Tart
  • Teflon
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Wedless Souvenir Campbell

I checked for some of these names in the SSDI and discovered one more Lasagne, two more Cigars, two more Larcenys, eight more Gospels, and 17 more Stranges. I also spotted a Full Price (1912-1990), an Easy Fortune (1922-2009) and a Flowery Tutor (1890-1965).

Sources:

  • “Everett: what a name!” Miami News 13 Sept. 1973: 1.
  • “Speaking Of Names.” St. Joseph News-Press 5 Jul. 1970: 1.
  • “What’s in a Name?” Gadsden Times 23 May 1974: 3.
  • “What’s in a Name?” Ocala Star-Banner 16 May 1977: 2B.

Baby Names Gone Unusable

I thought I would follow up my posts on bad meanings and unlikable names with ten baby names that have been rendered fairly unusable for modern parents, for various reasons.

  • Dorcas (f) – last ranked among the top 1,000 U.S. names in 1950.
  • Fairy (f) – last ranked in 1932.
  • Fanny (f) – last ranked in 1939.
  • Gaylord (m) – last ranked in 1956, though — who knows? — maybe those Focker movies will spark a comeback. :)
  • Hortense (f) – last ranked in 1941.
  • Hymen (m) – last ranked in 1913.
  • Maxie/Maxi (f) – Maxie last ranked in 1962; Maxi has never ranked.
  • Pansy (f) – last ranked in 1952.
  • Philander (m) – has never ranked, likely because its negative connotation dates all the way back to the mid-19th century (before data was collected).
  • Rube (m) – last ranked in 1907.

Did I miss any good ones? (Good as in bad, of course.)