How popular is the baby name Paul in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Paul and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Paul.
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.
In the early 1970s, the Internet as we know it didn’t exist. But people back then were just as fascinated by scandalous celebrity baby names as they are today.
For example, in 1971, Grace Slick and Paul Kantner, both of the band Jefferson Airplane, welcomed a baby girl. Grace told the press that her daughter’s name was “god” with a small g:
“It’s a small ‘g’ because with a name like that you have to show some humility.”
The story was widely reported…but it wasn’t true. It was a rumor that Grace herself had concocted and started spreading well before the birth.
The baby’s real name was China.
China Kantner had a brief acting career, including a recurring role on the TV sitcom Home Improvement in the late ’90s as character Willow Wilson. In one episode Willow says, “My full name is Willow Branch Leaf Wilson. But I pruned it back.”
Alabamian Danny Pitts, who today works as a pastor, spent most of his childhood in an abusive home. He was taken in by the Pitts family in his teens, and soon after decided “that he wanted a new name, something to give him a fresh start.” So he and his adoptive mother began looking through a baby name book…
A knock on the door interrupted, and Ann Pitts got up to answer. The caller was an insurance salesman, who handed her his card and asked if she might be interested in a policy.
“She left him at the door and came over with his card. She said, ‘I like his name and how it is spelled — D-u-a-n-e,'” Danny Pitts recalled.
He said “Danny Duane Pitts” aloud, liked it and that was who he became.
I love how the name was essentially hand-delivered to them as they were searching. :)
In early 1898, the St. Landry Clarion (and other newspapers) ran the following story about a baby boy who has named after the train on which he was born:
When the St. Paul train No. 4, the through Omaha and Chicago express, rolled into the Union depot at Chicago the other day it brought one passenger who had neither ticket nor pass and who had not boarded the train at any station. The extra passenger was a baby boy, the child of Mr. and Mrs. George Morrow, born on the train near Elgin. The young couple came from Nora Springs, Ia., and were on their way to visit relatives in Chicago. They were passengers in the day coach, but the young woman was given the drawing room in the sleeper and a doctor telegraphed ahead for. He got on at Kirkland and came on to Chicago with the young mother. When the station was reached the coach was switched in a side track and later mother and boy were taken to the home of friends. The child has been named St. Paul.
Do you like that they went with “St. Paul,” or do you think they should have gone with “Paul” by itself?
Clint was already seeing moderate usage in the early ’50s, but usage increased considerably in mid-1950s:
1959: 482 baby boys named Clint (rank: 357th)
1958: 474 baby boys named Clint (350th)
1957: 398 baby boys named Clint (385th)
1956: 258 baby boys named Clint (469th)
1955: 115 baby boys named Clint (682nd)
1954: 81 baby boys named Clint (803rd)
1953: 106 baby boys named Clint (693rd)
1952: 84 baby boys named Clint (767th)
1951: 79 baby boys named Clint (793rd)
1950: 60 baby boys named Clint (886th)
The reason for the rise? My money’s on Clint Walker, the actor who played the part of Cheyenne Bodie in the successful TV Western Cheyenne (1955-1963), which happened to be TV’s first hour-long Western.
Cheyenne Bodie was “a former frontier scout who drifts through the old West, traveling without any particular motivation from one adventure to another.”
The series was held together not so much by its premise as by its charismatic star, Clint Walker, who rose from obscurity to become one of the icons of the TV western. With his powerful physique and towering height, Walker commanded the small screen through sheer presence; his performance gained gravity simply from the way his body dominated the screen.
According to the Nielsen ratings, Cheyenne was a top-20 series for three seasons straight (1957-1958, 1958-1959, and 1959-1960).
The show also boosted the male usage of Cheyenne during the second half of the 1950s and through most of the 1960s.
But I should mention that Clint Walker and Cheyenne are only part of the story, as several other gun-slinging Clints also emerged around this time:
Clint Tollinger, a character played by Robert Mitchum in the movie Man with the Gun (1955).
Clint Reno, a character played by Elvis Presley in the movie Love Me Tender (1956).
Clint Travis, a character played by and Paul “Kelo” Henderson in the TV series 26 Men (1957-1959).
There was also a non-gun-slinging teenager named Clint in the short Micky Mouse Club serial The Adventures of Clint and Mac (most episodes aired in January of 1958).
The rise of Clint didn’t continue into the ’60s, despite a continued Clint presence in pop culture:
Clint Eastwood, the actor who played Rowdy Yates on the TV series Rawhide (1959-1966).
Clint McCoy, a character played by Rory Calhoun in the movie Young Fury (1965).
But usage picked back up in the ’70s. Clint saw peak popularity in 1980. These days, usage is roughly back down to pre-Cheyenne levels.
Do you like the name Clint? Would you use it for your baby boy?
From the 1920s to the 1940s, brothers Paul Glee Waner (1903-1965) and Lloyd James Waner (1906-1982) played major league baseball, primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Many Pirates fans of the era named their kids after either Paul or Lloyd, and some named their kids after both Paul and Lloyd. In January of 1940, for instance, Jack and Dorothy Munyon of Pittsburgh named their son Paul Lloyd Munyon. A couple of years earlier, a St. Louis mother named her twin boys Paul Glee Kraatz and Lloyd James Kraatz. (From the article: “The Waners have had baseball teams, cats, dogs, chickens, pigs, hogs, race horses and now even twins named after them.”)
Where did Paul Glee Waner get his gleeful-sounding middle name? One source claimed he was born Paul John Waner, but his middle name was changed at the age of six after he received a shotgun from his curiously named Uncle Glee.