The Baby Name Charlayne

© 1961 Jet

The baby name Charlayne saw peak usage in 1961 — after a decade of being used so infrequently that it didn’t even register in the U.S. baby name data.

  • 1963: 29 baby girls named Charlayne
  • 1962: 15 baby girls named Charlayne
  • 1961: 66 baby girls named Charlayne
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

What happened in 1961 to give this name such a boost?

On January 9, 1961, two African American college students — 18-year-old Charlayne Hunter and 19-year-old Hamilton Holmes — arrived at the campus of the all-white University of Georgia to enroll, as per a federal court order to desegregate. In her memoir, Charlayne wrote:

Sure enough, we were greeted by a raucous crowd made up of some of the 20,000 white students at UGA. They limited their violence to words, calling out things like, “There go the niggers.”

Rioting broke out on January 11. “A student mob threw bricks at Charlayne’s dormitory and yelled vulgarities up at her window.” State police arrived to restrain the rioters. Charlayne and Hamilton were driven off campus, and — “for their own safety” — the university suspended them.

Finally, January 16, they returned to campus “in a cold drizzling rain from their homes in Atlanta under another federal order forbidding the university from again suspending or expelling them if disorders erupt.”

Ultimately, they became the first African-Americans “to successfully desegregate an all-white college anywhere in the South.”

Charlayne and Hamilton graduated in June of 1963. (Both had completed the first half of their sophomore year at other schools before enrolling at UGA.)

Charlayne went on to become an award-winning journalist. (Notably, while at the New York Times, she “convinc[ed] the editors to drop their use of the word Negroes when referring to African Americans.”)

What are your thoughts on the name Charlayne?

Sources:

  • “First Negroes win Georgia U. Diplomas.” Life 14 Jun. 1963: 36.
  • Hunter-Gault, Charlayne. To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement. New York: Roaring Book Press, 2012.
  • Mullen, Perry. “Two Negroes Enter School Without Trouble.” Ottawa Herald [Ottawa, Kansas] 16 Jan. 1961: 1.
  • “Prank, Riot and Shock on Georgia Campus.” Life 20 Jan 1961: 24-25.

The Introduction of Nalda

The baby name Nalda debuted in the SSA baby name data in 1923. In fact, it was the top debut name of the year.

  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: unlisted
  • 1923: 15 baby girls named Nalda [debut]
  • 1922: unlisted
  • 1921: unlisted

What gave it a boost?

A story called “The Regeneration of Malcolm Starmount” that had been serialized in the newspapers in 1923. One of the characters was a beautiful actress named Nalda Courteney.

I haven’t read the entire story, but I do know that Nalda ended up dying in a plane crash (along with the married man she’d been dating). The character’s obituary read: “Nalda Courteney had for some years been noted on Broadway. Her pearls, motors and love affairs have featured [on] the first pages of newspapers for the last five or six years.”

The story was written by journalist Idah McGlone Gibson (1860-1933), who, according to one source, was the “writer of the first syndicated story ever published in a newspaper in this country.” (Tantalizing claim! I don’t have any other details, though.)

What are your thoughts on the baby name Nalda?

Sources:

  • Gibson, Idah McGlone. “The Regeneration of Malcolm Starmount.” Hamilton Daily News 1 Sept. 1923: 5.
  • Woman Writer Dies in Hollywood Home.” Ogden Standard-Examiner 17 Dec. 1933: 14.

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2019

pop culture baby name game, 2019

Time for the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game!

But first: Happy birthday, Elvis Presley! (He would have been 85 today.)

So now, think back to 2018. Think of all the pop culture that caught your attention. Think of movies, music, TV shows, social media, sports, video games, news, politics, products, and so forth.

Which of these things had an influence on U.S. baby names last year, do you think? Which baby names will see higher usage (or appear for the very first time) in the 2018 data thanks to 2018 pop culture?

Here are some names to start with:

  • Adeya – from celebrity baby Adeya (born in March to Kehlani)
  • Alita – from the movie Alita: Battle Angel
  • Archie – from royal baby Archie (born in May to Harry & Meghan)
  • Billie – from singer Billie Eilish
  • Brixton – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Deckard – from the movie Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Dorian – from hurricane Dorian
  • Eilish – also from singer Billie Eilish
  • Gloria – from the St. Louis Blues anthem “Gloria
  • Greedy – from NFL player Andraez Montrell “Greedy” Williams
  • Greta – from environmental activist Greta Thunberg
  • Lizzo – from rapper/singer Lizzo (originally a Melissa)
  • Luce – from the movie Luce
  • Maleficent – from the movie Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
  • Post – from rapper Post Malone
  • Psalm – from celebrity baby Psalm (born in May to Kim & Kanye)
  • Saybie – from newsworthy baby Saybie
  • Shaed – from the band Shaed (“Trampoline”)
  • Sulwe – from the book Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o
  • Wick – from the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

A few names from the 2018 game (Kamala? Kelleth? Sanni? Marsai?) might still be applicable as well.

What other names should we add to the list? Let me know by commenting below. Please don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence!

I’ll be posting the game results in May of 2020, a few days after the SSA releases the 2019 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, just subscribe to NBN!

Popular Baby Names in New York City, 2018

According to New York City’s Department of Health, the most popular baby names in the city in 2018 were Emma and Liam.

Here are New York City’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Emma (501 born in NYC in 2018)
  2. Isabella
  3. Sophia
  4. Mia
  5. Olivia
  6. Ava
  7. Leah
  8. Sarah
  9. Amelia
  10. Chloe

Boy Names

  1. Liam (779 born in NYC in 2018)
  2. Noah
  3. Ethan
  4. Jacob
  5. Aiden
  6. David
  7. Lucas
  8. Matthew
  9. Daniel
  10. Alexander

In the girls’ top 10, Amelia and Chloe replace Emily and Abigail.

In the boys’ top 10, Alexander replaces Jayden.

In 2017, the top two names were also Emma and Liam.

Within each of the five boroughs, the top baby names were…

  • Manhattan: Emma and Noah
  • Bronx: Isabella and Liam
  • Brooklyn: Esther and David
  • Queens: Mia and Liam
  • Staten Island: Mia and Michael

And, finally, a few of the baby names bestowed just 10 times each in NYC last year were the girl names Aminah, Ida and Zadie, and the boy names Bentley, Lucian and Warren.

Source: The Top Baby Names of 2018

Name Quotes 79: Consuela, Gisele, Jeff

Phoebe Buffay becomes Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock in this month's collection of name-related quotes at Nancy's Baby Names.

From the 2004 Friends episode in which Phoebe changes her name to Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock:

Mike: So what’s new?

Phoebe: Well, I’m no longer Phoebe Buffay.

Mike: That’s great, you changed your name?

Phoebe: Yes I did! Meet Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock.

Lyrics from the song “Dear Winter” (2019) by indie band AJR:

Dear Winter,
I hope you like your name.
I hope they don’t make fun of you
When you grow up and go to school, ok?
‘Cause Winter is a badass name.

(The baby name Winter is already on the rise, but do you think this song could give it an extra boost?)

From an article that asks how it feels when one’s name becomes a meme:

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly popular to end online jokes with a name. The set-up usually goes like this: a person jokes about an annoying behaviour as though they were directly talking to the person annoying them, then they end the joke-angry outburst with a name. That name then slowly becomes cultural shorthand for a type of behaviour. Other names become internet jokes because they were part of movies that were clipped into gifs – such as “Sure, Jan” to denote disbelief, “My name is Jeff” for anyone whose name is, yes, Jeff, or “Bye, Felicia” for anyone irritating.

(Other names used in memes: Karen, Sharon, Janet, Chad, Becky…)

From an article about advocate Shanti Bhushnan, who was named after advocate Shanti Bhushnan (b. 1925):

I was born on March 16, 1977. By then, Senior Advocate Shanti Bhushan was a very big name in India because he had appeared for Raj Narain against then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and won the case.

So my uncle KN Puttegowda, who was an advocate and later served as President of the Bangalore Advocates Association, suggested that I should be named after the legendary lawyer.

[…]

I had not met him until now. I consider it my good luck to be named after such a big man. Many people ask me about this name because it is an unusual name in the South.

From a video about the unhurried baby naming practices of the Borana people of Ethiopia and Kenya:

When a child is a toddler, if you have the means, you call on people to gather and name the child. If you don’t have enough, you can ask your relatives to help you prepare the ceremony. That’s how we name a child. Until you name them, you just call them by random names of your choice.

From an article about Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen:

…Gisele has become a brand in itself. That monicker is fortunate – it’s easy to equate “Gisele” with “gazelle”, which is exactly what comes to mind when you see her strutting down the catwalk…

How rapper Post Malone (born Austin Richard Post) came up with his stage name:

I was like 14, and I had started getting into producing and rapping and singing over my own stuff. And I needed a name, you know, for my s—- mixtape,” he told Jimmy Fallon. “So I ran [my real name] through a random rap name generator… now I’m stuck with it.”

How rapper Childish Gambino (born Donald Glover) came up with his stage name:

“We were all hanging out, chilling and drinking and then we were like, ‘Oh, Wu-Tang name generator, let’s put our name in,'” he revealed on The Tonight Show back in 2011. “And we’re putting them all in, and they’re all funny and stuff, and then mine came up and I was like, ‘you guys, it’s not funny anymore. This is something big.’ I just really liked it.”

How spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle (born Ulrich Tölle) came up with his new name:

Some time after this “inner transformation”, Tolle changed his first name from Ulrich to Eckhart following a dream in which he saw books lying around. On the cover of one was the name Eckhart and he knew he had written it. By coincidence, he bumped into an acquaintance, a psychic, a few days later who, for no apparent reason, called him Eckhart! Having become a completely different person he was ready to relinquish the name Ulrich and the unhappy energy the name held for him.

(Other sources say Tolle chose “Eckhart” in deference to 13th-century German theologian/mystic Meister Eckhart.)

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.