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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Calamity


Posts that Mention the Name Calamity

Name Quotes #87: Kamala, Simon, Genghis

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From a recent CNN article about how to pronounce Sen. Kamala Harris’s name:

Harris wrote in the preface of her 2019 memoir, “The Truths We Hold,” “First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark. It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.

From a 1982 Washington Post article about actors Lucie Arnaz and Laurence Luckinbill:

Lucie Arnaz, whose illustrious pedigree is evident in her name, and actor Laurence Luckinbill were Simonized several years ago.

He was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “Chapter Two.” She was on Broadway doing Neil Simon’s “They’re Playing Our Song.” They met at Joe Allan’s, the famous Broadway restaurant, and started seeing each other entr’acte.

[…]

Twenty months ago, they had a son, whom they named…Simon.

From a 2015 Indian Express article in which Rebel Wilson talks about her name:

A little girl named Rebel sang at my parents’ wedding. My mum is really big on theme names like that – my sisters are called Liberty and Annachi, and my brother is Ryot. I did pretty well in comparison. I love it.

You can’t be a shrinking violet if you have a name like Rebel. It gives me an edge and helps me not give in to my fears. I try to live that way.

From a 1998 BBC article about All Saint singer Melanie Blatt:

Melanie and her boyfriend, musician Stuart Zender [of Jamiroquai], revealed in a magazine interview that they intend to name their daughter Lily Ella [sic]: Lily after the first flowers he bought her during their courtship and Ella after the music legend Ella Fitzgerald.

(Technically, her name is Lilyella.)

From a case study (pdf) of Amtrak’s automated customer service representative, “Julie,” launched in 2001:

Julie became popular with callers and even garnered national acclaim through blogs, YouTube videos, and as an answer on the TV quiz game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Her persona was even featured on Saturday Night Live. “I’ve been surprised about how attached people have gotten to Amtrak Julie,” says the woman who provides the voice of Julie, Julie Stinneford. “I find it funny. Because they’re not really talking to me. They’re talking to a computer.”

From a 2019 NPR interview with musical duo (and identical twins) Tegan and Sara, who originally called themselves “Sara and Tegan”:

We changed the name only because we had a manager [who] gave us one good piece of advice during that time. He said, “When people say ‘Sara and Tegan,’ it all blends together into one word and they don’t know what you’re saying. But if you say ‘Tegan and Sara,’ you have to enunciate. So I think you should switch your names around.” So we did.

From a recent Crunchyroll article about parents who named their son Asta after the anime character (Black Clover):

We came up with that name early on but had other names we considered like Natsu, Sora, Roxas, and Yuki.

From a 2007 Times Colonist [Victoria, British Columbia] article about unusual baby names:

The time was when naming a baby Conan or Calamity could doom a kid to years of schoolyard drubbings, but if Genghis Charm Usher’s experience is any indication, the times are changing.

Genghis, 13, can’t recall any friction caused by his unusual name, pointing out “that you don’t have to have a weird name to get teased.”

[…]

“I love my name. Once they get my name, they don’t forget it,” he says.

The siblings of Reba McEntire

Oklahoma-born country singer Reba McEntire is one of four siblings:

  • Alice, b. 1951
  • Del Stanley, “Pake” (rhymes with rake), b. 1953
  • Reba Nell, b. 1955
  • Martha Susan, “Susie,” b. 1957

Reba was named after her maternal grandmother, but the story of Pake’s nickname is a bit more interesting. Here’s how their mother Jacqueline starts the story:

Our oldest daughter, Alice, was named “Pedro Joe” long before her birth. Her father, Clark [veteran rodeo cowboy and inductee in the Rodeo Hall of Fame], would often write home on the road because we didn’t have a phone.

He’d say, “How is Pedro Joe?” and, if I knew where he was going to be, I’d write back to the next rodeo he was entering and tell the prospective father that he was just fine. Well, when the baby came, she was a little girl. End of Pedro Joe.

The same thing happened with their second child, who was called “Pecos Pete” or “Pake” before he was born. In his case, though, the name was retained. The formal name his parents chose for him was Del Stanley (after rodeo stars Del Haverty and Stanley Gomez), but the birth certificate reads: “Del Stanley (Pake).”

The McEntire’s in utero nicknaming tradition wasn’t carried on with Reba or Susie.

Pake went on to have three daughters: Autumn (born on the first day of autumn), Calamity (named after frontierswoman Calamity Jane), and Chism (named after cattle baron John Chisum).

Sources:

P.S. Want more country music-related names? Here are Dolly Parton’s siblings.

What turned Calamity into a baby name?

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

Why?

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