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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rudolph

Number of Babies Named Rudolph

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Rudolph

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?

View Results

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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:

The 9/11-Inspired Baby Name Giuliani

Giuliani, TIME magazineOn September 11, 2001, members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out four coordinated terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people, most of whom died with the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City.

New York City mayor Rudolph “Rudy” Giuliani was lauded for his leadership in the aftermath of the attacks. He made a number of appearances on TV* and radio. Oprah Winfrey dubbed him “America’s Mayor.”

On the last day of 2001, Time magazine declared Giuliani “Person of the Year.” (That day was also Giuliani’s last day as mayor, incidentally). Time said:

With the President out of sight for most of that day, Giuliani became the voice of America. Every time he spoke, millions of people felt a little better. His words were full of grief and iron, inspiring New York to inspire the nation. “Tomorrow New York is going to be here,” he said. “And we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before…I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us.”

And in 2002, we see the baby name Giuliani appear for the very first time in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 2003: unlisted
  • 2002: 6 baby boys named Giuliani [debut]
  • 2001: unlisted

Two other baby names that debuted around this time, Independence in 2001 and Patriot in 2002, were also likely given a boost by the events of 9/11.

*Later in September, Rudy Giuliani was featured in the Saturday Night Live9/11 Tribute” (video) that memorably ended with this short exchange between Lorne Michaels and Giuliani: “Can we be funny?” “Why start now?”

Source: Pooley, Eric. “Mayor of the World.” Time 31 Dec. 2001.

P.S. Fr. Mychal Judge, the first official casualty of 9/11, also had an impact on baby names in the early 2000s.

Names Popular During the Victorian Era

Tuesday’s post about the Victorian-style Tylney Hall Hotel reminded me of a list of Victorian-era names that I’ve had bookmarked forever.

The list was created by amateur genealogist G. M. Atwater as a resource for writers. It contains names and name combinations that were commonly seen in the U.S. from the 1840s to the 1890s. Below is the full list (with a few minor changes).

Victorian Era Female Names Victorian Era Male Names
  • Abigale / Abby
  • Ada
  • Adella
  • Agnes
  • Allie
  • Almira / Almyra
  • Alva
  • America
  • Amelia
  • Ann / Annie
  • Arrah
  • Beatrice
  • Bernice
  • Charity
  • Charlotte
  • Chastity
  • Claire
  • Constance
  • Cynthia
  • Dorothy / Dot
  • Edith
  • Edna
  • Edwina
  • Ella
  • Eleanor
  • Ellie
  • Elizabeth / Eliza / Liza / Lizzy / Bess / Bessie / Beth / Betsy
  • Elvira
  • Emma
  • Esther
  • Ethel
  • Eudora
  • Eva
  • Fidelia
  • Frances / Fanny
  • Flora
  • Florence
  • Geneve
  • Genevieve
  • Georgia
  • Gertrude / Gertie
  • Gladys
  • Grace
  • Hannah
  • Hattie
  • Helen
  • Helene
  • Henrietta / Hettie / Ettie
  • Hester
  • Hope
  • Hortence
  • Isabell / Isabella
  • Jane
  • Jennie
  • Jessamine
  • Josephine
  • Judith
  • Julia
  • Juliet
  • Katherine / Kate
  • Laura
  • Leah
  • Lenora
  • Letitia
  • Lila
  • Lilly
  • Lorena
  • Lorraine
  • Lottie
  • Louise / Louisa
  • Lucy
  • Lulu
  • Lydia
  • Mahulda
  • Margaret / Peggie
  • Mary / Molly / Polly
  • Mary Elizabeth
  • Mary Frances
  • Martha
  • Matilda / Mattie
  • Maude
  • Maxine / Maxie
  • Mercy
  • Mildred
  • Minerva
  • Missouri
  • Myrtle
  • Nancy
  • Natalie
  • Nellie / Nelly
  • Nettie
  • Nora
  • Orpha
  • Patsy
  • Parthena
  • Permelia
  • Phoebe
  • Philomena
  • Preshea
  • Rachel
  • Rebecca / Becky
  • Rhoda / Rhody
  • Rowena
  • Rufina
  • Ruth
  • Samantha
  • Sally
  • Sarah
  • Sarah Ann
  • Sarah Elizabeth
  • Savannah
  • Selina
  • Sophronia
  • Stella
  • Theodosia / Theda
  • Vertiline / Verd
  • Victoria
  • Virginia / Ginny
  • Vivian
  • Winnifred / Winnie
  • Zona
  • Zylphia
  • Aaron
  • Abraham / Abe
  • Alan / Allen
  • Albert
  • Alexander
  • Alonzo
  • Ambrose
  • Amon
  • Amos
  • Andrew / Drew / Andy
  • Aquilla
  • Archibald / Archie
  • Arnold
  • Asa
  • August / Augustus / Gus
  • Barnabas / Barney
  • Bartholomew / Bart
  • Benjamin
  • Bennet
  • Benedict
  • Bernard
  • Bertram / Bert
  • Buford
  • Byron
  • Calvin
  • Cephas
  • Charles / Charley / Charlie
  • Christopher
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Clarence
  • Clement / Clem
  • Clinton / Clint
  • Cole
  • Columbus / Lom / Lum
  • Commodore Perry
  • Daniel / Dan
  • David
  • Edmund
  • Edward / Ned
  • Edwin
  • Eldon
  • Eli
  • Elijah
  • Elisha
  • Emmett
  • Enoch
  • Ezekiel / Zeke
  • Ezra
  • Francis / Frank
  • Franklin
  • Frederick / Fred
  • Gabriel / Gabe
  • Garrett
  • George
  • George Washington
  • Gideon
  • Gilbert / Gil
  • Granville
  • Harland
  • Harrison
  • Harold / Harry
  • Harvey
  • Henry / Hank
  • Hiram
  • Horace
  • Horatio
  • Hugh
  • Isaiah
  • Israel
  • Isaac / Ike
  • Isaac Newton
  • Jacob / Jake
  • James / Jim
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson / Jeff
  • Jedediah / Jed
  • Jeptha
  • Jesse
  • Joel
  • John / Jack
  • John Paul
  • John Wesley
  • Jonathan
  • Joseph / Josephus
  • Josiah
  • Joshua
  • Julian
  • Julius
  • Lafayette / Lafe
  • Lawrence / Larry
  • Leander
  • Les / Lester / Leslie
  • Lewis / Lew / Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Louis
  • Levi
  • Lucas
  • Lucian
  • Lucius
  • Luke
  • Luther
  • Matthew
  • Marcellus
  • Mark
  • Martin
  • Martin Luther
  • Masheck
  • Maurice
  • Maxwell
  • Merrill
  • Meriwether
  • Meriwether Lewis
  • Michael / Mike
  • Micajah / Cage
  • Mordecai
  • Morgan
  • Morris
  • Nathaniel / Nathan / Nate / Nat
  • Newton / Newt
  • Nicholas / Nick
  • Nimrod
  • Ninian
  • Obediah
  • Octavius
  • Ora / Oral
  • Orville
  • Oscar
  • Owen
  • Paul
  • Patrick / Pat
  • Patrick Henry
  • Paul
  • Perry
  • Peter
  • Pleasant
  • Ralph
  • Raymond
  • Reuben
  • Robert / Bob
  • Robert Lee
  • Richard / Rich / Dick
  • Roderick
  • Rudolph
  • Rufus
  • Samuel
  • Sam Houston
  • Seth
  • Silas
  • Simon
  • Simeon
  • Stanley / Stan
  • Stephen
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas / Tom
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Theodore / Ted
  • Timothy / Tim
  • Ulysses
  • Uriah
  • Victor
  • Walter
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Wilfred
  • William / Will / Bill / Billy
  • Willie
  • Zachariah
  • Zebulon
  • Zedock

Which female name and male name do you like best?

Source: Victorian Era Names, A Writer’s Guide

80+ Hidden Gems: Rare Baby Boy Names

gemstoneWant a boy name that’s not common, but also not crazy?

I looked through all the names at the bottom of SSA’s 2011 mega-list and found a bunch of hidden gems:

  1. Alaric (48 baby boys)
  2. Alban (12)
  3. Aldous (11)
  4. Aldric (7)
  5. Alphonse (20)
  6. Archibald (14)
  7. Astor (5)
  8. Augustin (50)
  9. Balthazar (13)
  10. Barclay (6)
  11. Barnabas (8)
  12. Bartholomew (19)
  13. Booker (22)
  14. Chadwick (34)
  15. Cyril (41)
  16. Clancy (14)
  17. Claude (44)
  18. Clement (34)
  19. Crispin (21)
  20. Darcy (15)
  21. Dirk (40)
  22. Doyle (10)
  23. Ernst (6)
  24. Ferdinand (20)
  25. Garrick (42)
  26. Giles (20)
  27. Gregor (14)
  28. Griffith (18)
  29. Grover (9)
  30. Gustaf (7); Gustav (29)
  31. Horatio (10)
  32. Hubert (46)
  33. Ignatius (49)
  34. Isidore (7)
  35. Kermit (6)
  36. Lambert (6)
  37. Laird (17)
  38. Laurence (48)
  39. Laurent (9)
  40. Leander (48)
  41. Leith (7)
  42. Lemuel (50)
  43. Lowell (29)
  44. Maxfield (22)
  45. Newton (14)
  46. Nicanor (8)
  47. Norbert (9)
  48. Norris (21)
  49. Ogden (13)
  50. Orson (33)
  51. Osborn (5); Osborne (7)
  52. Oswald (18)
  53. Pascal (25)
  54. Percival (13)
  55. Peregrine (9)
  56. Piers (16)
  57. Regis (10)
  58. Remis (11)
  59. Roscoe (47)
  60. Rudolph (44)
  61. Rufus (39)
  62. Rupert (8)
  63. Sanford (6)
  64. Seymour (6)
  65. Sherman (40)
  66. Sinclair (8)
  67. Tavish (16)
  68. Thane (48)
  69. Tobiah (14)
  70. Walton (14)
  71. Warner (48)
  72. Watson (42)
  73. Webster (8)
  74. Weldon (27)
  75. Werner (11)
  76. Wilbert (42)
  77. Wilbur (20)
  78. Winfield (7)
  79. Winfred (7)
  80. Winslow (10)
  81. York (5)
  82. Zebulon (25)
  83. Zeno (13)

(In some cases, a different spelling of the name is more popular than what’s shown here. For instance, Laurence is rare, but Lawrence is moderately popular.)

Like any of these?

Spot any other good names at the end of the list?

See the girls’ list, or check out the Rare Baby Names page.

Frosty: Snowman & Baby Name

frosty the snowman, sheet music, 1950The unusual baby name Frosty has appeared in the SSA’s baby name data just once so far:

  • 1952: unlisted
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: 6 baby boys named Frosty
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: unlisted

What inspired this sudden interest in Frosty?

The Christmas song “Frosty the Snow Man,” believe it or not. Written and composed by Steve Nelson and Walter “Jack” Rollins, it was first published in 1950.

The lyrics tell the story of a snowman named Frosty (with “a corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal”) who magically comes to life when an “old silk hat” is placed on his head.

Gene Autry was one of the first artists to record it, and his version saw the greatest success during the 1950 holiday season. According to Billboard magazine, Autry’s “Frosty” peaked at #2 on the Best Selling Children’s Records chart for several weeks in a row at the end of 1950 and the beginning of 1951. More importantly, it peaked at #7 on the Best Selling Pop Singles chart during the first week of 1951. (The rankings that week were “based on reports received December 27, 28 and 29.”)

Other recordings of “Frosty the Snow Man” available during the 1950 holiday season included versions by Nat “King” Cole, Red Foley, Roy Rogers, Vaughn Monroe, Curt Massey, Guy Lombardo, Dick “Two-Ton” Baker, Harry Babbitt, and Jimmy Durante.

What are your thoughts on Frosty as a baby name? Do you like it more or less than Bimbo?

Sources:

  • “The Billboard Music Popularity Charts.” Billboard 6 Jan. 1951: 16.
  • “The Billboard Music Popularity Charts.” Billboard 30 Dec. 1950: 10.
  • Frosty the Snowman – Wikipedia

Image: “Frosty the Snow Man” Sheet Music, Smithsonian

P.S. The biggest hit of Gene Autry’s career? “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” released just ahead of the 1949 holiday season.

P.P.S. The name Rudolph saw peak usage around the time Italian-born silent film actor Rudolph Valentino died in 1926, at age 31.