What turned Calamity into a baby name in 1956?

The character Calamity from the TV series "Buffalo Bill, Jr." (1955-1956).
Calamity from “Buffalo Bill, Jr.

The rare name Calamity has popped up in the U.S. baby name data twice, both times in the 1950s:

  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 8 baby girls named Calamity
  • 1956: 11 baby girls named Calamity [debut]
  • 1955: unlisted
  • 1954: unlisted


At first I thought the explanation was the 1953 movie Calamity Jane, but I couldn’t account for that gap between the movie’s release and the name’s rise in usage.

Then I discovered a short-lived TV western called Buffalo Bill, Jr. (1955-1956). The show’s main characters were siblings Bill — the teenage marshal of a fictional town in Texas — and his kid sister, Calamity. The orphaned pair had been adopted by a Texas judge who’d re-named them after the historical figures Buffalo Bill Cody and Calamity Jane.

What are your thoughts on “Calamity” as a baby name?

Source: Buffalo Bill Jr. – Western Clippings

P.S. The thing that prompted me to write about this name today was a recent road trip to South Dakota, where I got a chance to see Calamity Jane’s grave (at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood). Did you know that her birth name was actually Martha? Here’s a photo:

Photo of Calamity Jane's headstone, taken by Nancy.
Calamity Jane’s headstone

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