The names Alison and Allison had been in the U.S. baby name data for decades by the time the names Alyson and Allyson popped up, one after the other, in the mid-1940s:
62 baby girls
24 baby girls
53 baby girls
25 baby girls
32 baby girls
24 baby girls
18 baby girls [debut]
7 baby girls
5 baby girls [debut]
The double-L version was particularly popular. Why?
Because of June Allyson, the actress who “came to personify the perfect screen wife” in the ’40s and ’50s.
Her birth name was Eleanor “Ella” Geisman. She chose her stage name in the late ’30s, when her career was just beginning. June was for the month of June, and Allyson was “derived from the pet form of her first name.”
Fame finally came in the mid-1940s, when she landed her first starring role in a movie: Two Girls and a Sailor. She went on to star in many movies. For a time, she even had her own TV show (from 1959 to 1961).
In the 1980s, Allyson described her unique appeal:
I have big teeth. I lisp. My eyes disappear when I smile. My voice is funny. I don’t sing like Judy Garland. I don’t dance like Cyd Charisse. But women identify with me. And while men desire Cyd Charisse, they’d take me home to meet Mom.
Do you like the name Allyson? (Do you like that specific spelling?)
The girl name Prosperity adds up to 161, which reduces to eight (1+6+1=8).
8 via 170
The boy name Josephanthony adds up to 170, which reduces to eight (1+7+0=8).
8 via 197
The girl name Moyosoreoluwa adds up to 197, which reduces to eight (1+9+7=17; 1+7=8).
What Does “8” Mean?
First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “8” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “8” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.
“8” (the octad) according to the Pythagoreans:
“They used to call the ogdoad [group of eight] ’embracer of all harmonies’ because of this marvellous attunement, or because it is the first to have been attuned and multiplied so as to be equal-times-equal-times-equal, which is a most lawful generation. So when they call it ‘Cadmean,’ they should be understood to be referring to the fact that, as all historians tell us, Harmonia was the wife of Cadmus.”
“The number 8 is the source of the musical ratios”
“All the ways in which it is put together are excellent and equilibrated tunings.”
“The ogdoad is called ‘safety’ and ‘foundation,’ since it is a leader, because two is a leader: the seed of the ogdoad is the first even number.”
“They used to call the ogdoad ‘mother, ‘ perhaps [because] even number is female”
“The eighth sphere encompasses the whole ‘ hence the saying ‘All is eight.'”
“8” according to Edgar Cayce:
“Eight – a money number” (reading 261-14).
“Eight indicates the commercial change” (reading 261-15).
“This brings eight as a vibration for the entity that means an awakening within the inner self to the new possibilities, the new opportunities within self that may make for not only carrying with it the abilities but the obligations of same as well. For to whom much is given in any manifested form, of him much is required” (reading 707-1).
Does “8” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 35, 44, 71, 143) — have any special significance to you?
Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe you like how “35” (i.e., 35 mm format) reminds you of photography and film, for example.
Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.
If you have any interesting insights about the number 8, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!
Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).
During the first half of the 20th century, the name Kelly was more of a boy name than a girl name. That is, it was given far more often to baby boys than to baby girls.
But things changed in the 1950s, when the overall usage of Kelly began to rise quickly — and rise faster for girls than for boys. The first year that more girls than boys were named Kelly was 1957:
# Girls Named Kelly
# Boys Named Kelly
6,379 (rank: 74th)
2,436 (rank: 142nd)
4,471 (rank: 108th)
2,299 (rank: 148th)
1,907 (rank: 187th)
1,868 (rank: 167th)
831 (rank: 310th)
1,472 (rank: 189th)
540 (rank: 380th)
1,251 (rank: 204th)
455 (rank: 406th)
960 (rank: 225th)
226 (rank: 590th)
845 (rank: 232nd)
Even though the gender switch happened in 1957, usage for boys continued to rise for several more years. Only in 1962 then did the two trajectories finally start to diverge.
So what’s behind both the popularization and feminization of the name Kelly in the 1950s? There seem to be at least three different influences (and possibly others that I haven’t discovered yet). Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Grace Kelly: actress, most popular around 1955/1956
Kelly and Me: movie, released in 1957
Bachelor Father: television show, aired from 1957 to 1962
The movie Kelly and Me, which co-starred Piper Laurie, is weirdly reminiscent of the 2008 movie Marley and Me. Both films feature a male dog as a main character, and both titular names saw increased usage as baby names — particularly girl names — the years the movies were released. Apparently neither the species nor the gender of the character mattered much to parents. (Here’s the popularity graph for Marley.)
The TV show Bachelor Father focused on a wealthy Beverly Hills attorney named Bentley Gregg who is raising his orphaned teenage niece, a female Kelly. The show clearly gave the name Bentley a boost in the late ’50s and early ’60s, nudging it into the top 1,000 for the first time in 1961, so no doubt it also helped American audiences see Kelly as a nice name for a daughter.
Do you like the name Kelly? Do you like it more as a girl name or as a boy name? (Or does it not matter to you?)