How popular is the baby name Pearl in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Pearl and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Pearl.
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Nature is waking up again! Let’s celebrate by checking out which nature names are the most popular for baby girls right now. Ironically the top 50 list below includes all the seasons except for “Spring,” but it does feature lots of springtime things: flowers, birds, trees…
For this list I stuck to names that are also correctly spelled English words. This means that I skipped names that are non-English words (like Stella and Luna) and alternative spellings of words (like Brooke and Briar). I should also mention that several of the above (including Rowan, Robin, and Clementine) do have more than one etymology to choose from.
Marion and Charlotte “Lottie” Story of Bakersfield, California, had at least 22 children — including five sets of twins — from 1922 to 1946. Seventeen of their kids are listed on the 1940 U.S. Census (at right).
I don’t know the names of all the Story children, but here are 20 of them: Jean, Jane, Jack, Jacqueline, June, Eileen, Clyde, Robert, James, Jeannette, Steve, Jerry, Terry (sometimes “Terrytown”), Charlotte, Scotty, Sherrie, Garry, Joanne, Frances (called Lidwina), and Monica (called Sandy).
Charlotte Story herself was one of a dozen children, born from 1899 to 1919. Her 11 siblings were named Pearl, George, Rhea, Hazel, Fern, Ira, Myrtle, Dorothy, Helen, Russell, and Viola.
And Charlotte’s mother Elsie was one of 13 children, born from 1865 to 1892. Her 12 siblings were named Edward, Levi, William, Frank, Rosa, Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Archibald, Gertrude, and Emma.
So here’s the question: If you had to choose all of your own children’s names from just one of the sibsets above, which set would you pick? Why?
*Looks like Rurapenthe is based on “Rura Penthe,” the name of a planetoid used as a Klingon penal colony (!) in the Star Trek universe. Its name is a nod to Rorapandi, a penal colony island in the Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). Rorapandi was invented by Disney; it did not appear in the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870).
In 1954, the baby name Bobbyetta appeared on the Social Security Administration’s baby name list for the first and only time with a mere 6 baby girls:
1954: 6 baby girls named Bobbyetta [debut]
What caused this ever-so-slight increase in the usage of Bobbyetta?
A lady with a pet lion, believe it or not.
Back in the mid-1950s, a farm family in rural Herscher, Illinois, was making headlines because they shared their home with a full-grown pet lion.
The family consisted of Mr. Harlan Porter, Mrs. Pearl Porter, and their adult children Bill and Bobbyetta. And their pet lion Tex, of course.
Bobbyetta was the primary owner/caretaker of the lion. She had owned dozens of cats growing up, and in her mid-20s she decided she wanted a big cat. So she started actively looking for one. Here’s an ad she placed in Billboard magazine in January of 1950:
Later that year, she spotted an ad for 3-month-old lion cubs. The cubs had been born in Africa in April, then brought to Texas to be sold by a wild animal dealer.
Bobbyetta bought one of the cubs “sight unseen” and changed his name from Quien Sabe (which means “who knows” in Spanish) to Tex, short for Texas.
Because winters in Illinois are quite a bit colder than winters in Africa, the Porters decided Tex should live indoors with them. So they split their living room in half with steel bars.
Bobbyetta “soon had him eating out of her hand and wrestling with her in his cage.”
As an adult he weighed over 300 pounds and was fed seven pounds of meat and two quarts of milk per day. He also had a weakness for ice cream.
Bobbyetta brushed his teeth after meals, slept near his cage (“as Tex was prone to roar when he felt he was being left alone”), and “relaxed him by running a vacuum cleaner over his coat.”
The family took Tex along when they traveled (“the rear of the station wagon was fitted with a cage”) and included him in the family photos they sent out with their Christmas cards.
Word about Tex spread, and by early 1954 he was being featured in newspapers and magazines across the U.S. and beyond. Headlines included “Lion in a Pine-Paneled Den” (LIFE), “We Live with a Lion” (Chicago Tribune) and “Girl Brushes Lion’s Teeth” (Sun-Herald, Sydney, Australia).
This is precisely when we see one-hit wonder Bobbyetta debut on the national baby name list.
Sadly, Tex wasn’t the healthiest of lions…
Male African lions can survive 10-15 years in the wild, and ought to be able to many years longer in captivity, but Tex died of a chest tumor in late 1955 at the age 5.
The Porters built Tex a coffin and held both a wake a funeral for him. He was buried on the Porter property “in pink-tufted satin with his head on a royal purple pillow.”
“Cowardly Lion That Adored Ice Cream Is Dead.” Sweetwater Reporter Nov. 28, 1955: 3.
“Lion in a Pine-Paneled Den.” LIFE 25 Jan. 1945: 84.