How popular is the baby name Patience in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Patience.
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Entrances are typically guarded by lions. But in downtown Denver, I’ve found an entrance guarded by a pair of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep:
The entrance is to the Byron White Courthouse on 18th Street, and the rams were sculpted by Gladys Caldwell Fisher in 1936, making them a few decades younger than the NYPL lions.
I wondered whether the rams had names, so I emailed the courthouse. I was told that the sculptures are titled “White Ram” and “Rocky Mountain Sheep” — but no one knows which is which.
Titles aren’t names, though. So let’s come up with some potential names for these rams, shall we?
Should they be virtue names (like Patience & Fortitude)? Should they be symbolic of the city or state in some way (Pike & Peak; Cheech & Chong)? Should they just be random (Mario & Luigi)? Leave a comment with your ideas…
Two marble lions have been guarding the entrance of the New York Public Library since it opened in May of 1911. These days, the lions are usually called Patience and Fortitude. But over the years they’ve had various nicknames, including a number of male/female nicknames (despite the fact that both lions are clearly male). Some examples:
Ainsley and Rollo
Leo Astor and Leo Lenox
The NYPL was created by combining the Astor and Lenox libraries.
Lord Lenox and Lady Astor
Leo and Leonora
Peter Cooper and Horace Greeley (famous for their whiskers, among other things)
Plato and Lily
Pyramus and Thisbe
Uptown and Downtown
The NYPL attributes the “Patience” and “Fortitude” to former NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who was in office from 1934 to 1945.
Mayor LaGuardia…nicknamed The New York Public Library’s lions Patience and Fortitude for the qualities he felt New Yorkers needed to survive the Great Depression.
While it’s a nice story, I can’t find any record of LaGuardia suggesting that the library lions be called by those particular nicknames. He did, however, use the phrase “Patience and Fortitude” repeatedly in his weekly WWII-era radio talks (1942-1945) on WNYC. So LaGuardia may be the ultimate source of the names, but it’s more likely that his radio audience began associating the two words with the two cats during the 1940s — after the Depression was over.
Speaking of Fiorello…the lions were carved by the Piccirilli Brothers, immigrants from Italy. The six brothers were named Ferrucio, Attilio, Furio, Masaniello, Orazio, and Getulio, plus they had a kid sister named Iola (according to the census).
Do you like the nicknames Patience and Fortitude for the lions? If not, what names would you prefer?
Eikel, Vera, Susan Lardner, and Brendan Gill. “Recovered.” The New Yorker 3 Sept. 1960: 20.
Larkin, Susan G. Top Cats: The Life and Times of the New York Public Library Lions. San Francisco: Pomegranate, 2006.
Jonathan and Patience Sprague of Douglas, Massachusetts, welcomed a baby boy on October 16, 1790.
They named him Federal Constitution Sprague.
Well, he was born a year after the U.S. Constitution went into effect. (It had been was created in 1787 and ratified in 1788.)
As one source put it, “Federal Constitution Sprague evidently had a father to whom the new nation meant something. He was interested evidently in the document for which he named his son.”
Yes, evidently. :)
None of Federal Constitution’s 13 siblings, nine full siblings and four half-siblings, got a name as notable (or as patriotic) as his:
F.C. ended up having a dozen children, ten from his first marriage and two from his second, but didn’t pass his unique name down to any of them:
I’ve also found a handful of other people named Constitution (or some variation thereof). Most were born in France in the 1790s, around the time France adopted several new constitutions during the French Revolution. Several other Constitutions were from countries in South America. One was born in New South Wales in 1855, the year of the New South Wales Constitution Act.
Crane, Ellery Bicknell. Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts. New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1907.
Sprague, Augustus B. R. Genealogy in part of the Sprague Families in America. Worcester, MA: Augustus B. R. Sprague, 1902.
The TV series “Bones” was on the air from 2005 to 2017, though the most popular years were 2008-2011 (corresponding to seasons four, five and six).
I’ve never seen the show, but the first names of the two main characters — Seeley Booth (male) and Temperance'”Bones” Brennan (female) — are intriguing, and they made me wonder: did Bones inspire parents to use these names more often for their babies?
2016: 40 baby boys and 15 baby girls named Seeley [peak]
2015: 37 baby boys and 15 baby girls named Seeley
2014: 28 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Seeley
2013: 38 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Seeley
2012: 36 baby boys and 11 baby girls named Seeley
2011: 32 baby boys and 12 baby girls named Seeley
2010: 34 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Seeley
2009: 10 baby boys and 8 baby girls named Seeley
2007: 7 baby girls named Seeley
And here are the numbers for Temperance since 2005:
2018: 163 baby girls named Temperance
2017: 190 baby girls named Temperance
2016: 233 baby girls named Temperance
2015: 250 baby girls named Temperance
2014: 322 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 854th]
2013: 289 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 889th]
2012: 320 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 835th]
2011: 274 baby girls named Temperance [rank: 943rd]
2010: 213 baby girls named Temperance
2009: 165 baby girls named Temperance
2008: 88 baby girls named Temperance
2007: 76 baby girls named Temperance
2006: 20 baby girls named Temperance
2005: 8 baby girls named Temperance
I’m a bit surprised by Temperance. Short virtue names like Faith, Grace, Hope and Joy are alive and well, but most of the long virtue names — especially those like Temperance (e.g., Abstinence, Experience, Deliverance, Diligence, Innocence, Obedience, Perseverance, Providence, Reliance, Repentance, Silence). Only Patience, Constance and Prudence are still around, and they aren’t exactly stylish right now.