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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Robert

Number of Babies Named Robert

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Robert

Runner-Up Names for the Red-Nosed Reindeer

rudolph, alternative names, reindeer names,

We’re all familiar with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, thanks to the catchy Christmas song.

But the character was around for a full decade before the song came out. He originated in a 1939 children’s book by Robert L. May.

May, a copywriter at Montgomery Ward, wrote the book as part of the retailer’s annual holiday promotion. More than two million copies of Rudolph were handed out to shoppers nationwide that year.

One of May’s handwritten notes from that era reveals that, before he’d settled on the name “Rudolph” for the red-nosed reindeer, he’d considered the following alliterative R-names:

  • Rodney
  • Roddy
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rudy
  • Rollo
  • Roland
  • Reggy
  • Reginald
  • Romeo

The two names he’d circled were Rudolph and Reginald — the top two contenders, no doubt. (Sources say he decided Reginald was “too British,” and Rollo “too happy.”)

Robert L. May’s songwriter brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, later turned Rudolph’s story into a song. Gene Autry recorded “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” in mid-1949 and it became a massive hit that Christmas. (Autry followed it up with “Frosty the Snowman” in 1950.)

So now imagine you’ve gone back in time, oh, say, 78 years. Your copywriter friend Rob sends you a telegram asking for your assistance in naming a fictional reindeer character he’s writing about, for work. He includes a list of ten possibilities. Which name do you select?

What would you have named the red-nosed reindeer?

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Or, if you’re not keen on any of these, feel free to comment with a write-in candidate. Just be sure it starts with R!

Sources:


Baby Name Story: Brilliana

Ethel Brilliana Tweedie (1862–1940)
In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, during the Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Hapsburgs, several Dutch port towns were handed over to England temporarily so they could be better defended against Spain.

One of these towns was Brielle, which was called Brill by the English. The name can be traced back to the Celtic word brogilo, meaning “marshland.”

Englishman Edward Conway was the governor of Brill for twenty years (1596–1616). In 1598, he and his wife Dorothy had a baby girl. They named her Brilliana after the town.

She went on to marry Robert Harley and have seven children: Edward, Robert, Thomas, Brilliana, Dorothy, Margaret, and Elizabeth. She’s remembered today because of her prolific letter-writing. In the letters, she addressed her own daughter Brilliana by the short form, “Brill.”

Several of her descendants and her siblings’ descendants, including Ethel Brilliana Tweedie (1862–1940), also got the name.

Do you like the name Brilliana?

Sources:

Name Quotes #54: Roella, Rumi, Tsh

splash, movie, quote, quotation, madison, 1980s

From the 1984 movie Splash, the character Allen (Tom Hanks) talking with his then-nameless lady friend (Daryl Hannah) as they walk around NYC:

Woman: “What are English names?”

Allen: “Well, there’s millions of them, I guess. Jennifer, Joanie, Hilary. (Careful, hey, those are hot!) See names, names… Linda, Kim– (Where are we? Madison.) Uh, Elizabeth, Samantha–”

Woman: “Madison…I like Madison!”

Allen: “Madison’s not a name… Well, all right, ok, Madison it is. Good thing we weren’t at 149th Street.”

Jay-Z on the names of his twins, Rumi and Sir, from a recent Rap Radar interview (via People):

“Rumi is our favorite poet, so it was for our daughter,” he shared. “Sir was like, man, come out the gate. He carries himself like that. He just came out, like, Sir.”

From a 2016 interview with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander in the Tampa Bay Times:

In the early ’90s, he and wife, Pam, who grew up in Pinellas County, settled down in the Sunshine State, drawn by family ties and the promise of a nice, safe community in which to raise their son, Robin Taylor, now 23, and daughter, Robin-Sailor, 15. (Zander’s go-to line about his kids’ quirky names: “My wife just calls us Robin, and we all come running.”)

From a 2009 review of the book Looking In, about photographer Robert Frank:

On November 7 1955, part-way through a two-year, Guggenheim-funded voyage around America, the photographer Robert Frank was arrested by Arkansas state police who suspected he was a communist. Their reasons: he was a shabbily dressed foreigner, he was Jewish, he had letters of reference from people with Russian-sounding names, he had photographed the Ford plant, possessed foreign whisky and his children had foreign names (Pablo and Andrea).

From an article called This Is The Biggest Influence On Baby Names:

[Neil] Burdess says most parents’ baby-name decisions are shaped by affluent, highly educated families who live near them, rather than prominent figures in pop culture.

[…]

He cites research conducted in California in the 1960s, which found that names adopted by high-income, highly educated parents are soon embraced by those lower down the socioeconomic ladder.

From a 2015 obituary of movie star Rex Reason:

Contrary to what one might think, Rex Reason was his birth name, not one dreamed up by a Hollywood executive. Universal Pictures, in fact, had billed him as “Bart Roberts” in a couple of films before he insisted on being credited with his real name.

From a 1998 obituary of surfer Rell Sunn:

There seemed to be a bit of destiny attached. Her middle name, Ka-polioka’ehukai, means Heart of the Sea.

“Most Hawaiian grandparents name you before you’re born,” she says. “They have a dream or something that tells them what the name will be.” Hawaiians also have a knack for giving people rhythmic, dead-on nicknames, and for young Rell they had a beauty: Rella Propella.

“My godmother called me that because I was always moving so fast,” says Rell. “To this day, people think my real name is Rella. Actually I was born Roella, a combination of my parents’ names: Roen and Elbert. But I hated it, and no one used it, so I changed it to Rell.”

From a blog post by Jason Fisher on naming practices in Nigeria:

When [Kelechi Eke] was born, his mother experienced dangerous complications, which his parents acknowledged in his naming. In Igbo, Kelechi means “thank God”, and Eke means “creation”. The usual Igbo name for God, Chineke, means literally, “God of Creation”, and you can see both elements (chi + eke) in his two names. When K.C.’s own son was born, it was in the wake of difficulties in bringing his wife to the United States; consequently, they chose the name Oluchi, meaning “God’s work”, suggesting their gratitude that the immigration problems were resolved before his mother went into labor.

From the about page of writer Tsh Oxenreider:

My name is Tsh Oxenreider, and no, my name is not a typo (one of the first things people ask). It’s pronounced “Tish.” No reason, really, except that my parents were experimental with their names choices in the 70s. Until my younger brother was born in the 80s, whom they named Josh, quite possibly one of the most common names for people his age. Who knows what they were thinking, really.

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

The Week of Int: Flint

flint, wagon train, western, television
Flint
The final “Week of Int” name is Flint. It has been on the charts since the 1910s, but the only year in which it was able to achieve triple digit usage was 1959:

  • 1963: 35 baby boys named Flint
  • 1962: 49 baby boys named Flint
  • 1961: 59 baby boys named Flint
  • 1960: 86 baby boys named Flint [rank: 821st]
  • 1959: 100 baby boys named Flint [rank: 763rd]
  • 1958: 42 baby boys named Flint
  • 1957: 20 baby boys named Flint
  • 1956: 10 baby boys named Flint

What was the influence?

Flint McCullough, one of the main characters on the show Wagon Train (1957–1965). He was on the show during the first five seasons and was played by actor Robert Horton.

In Horton’s capable hands, Flint McCullough became the thinking man’s cowboy. He was educated, well-spoken and thoughtful without Horton’s ever sacrificing the toughness expected of a wagon train scout.

According to the Nielsen ratings, Wagon Train was the #2 rated TV show for three seasons straight (1958-1959, 1959-1960, and 1960-1961) and finally the #1 TV show during the 1961-1962 season.

These days the usage of Flint is picking up again. This could be due to the current trendiness of gun-related names like Trigger and Pistol. (For centuries, gunpowder was ignited using flint via the flintlock mechanism.)

Do you like the name Flint?

Sources: Wagon Train, U.S. Western – The Museum of Broadcast Communications, Robert Horton – Fifties Web

The Week of Int: Clint

western, television, clint walker, cheyenne bodie, cheyenne
Clint Walker as Cheyenne Bodie
Welcome to the Week of Int! “The week of what?” The Week of Int!

It’s a week of posts focusing on the four -int names that were popularized by fictional TV cowboys (or the actors who played them) during the late ’50s and early ’60s.

First up? Clint.

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?

Source: Cheyenne, U.S. Western – The Museum of Broadcast Communications