How popular is the baby name Donyale in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Donyale.

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Popularity of the baby name Donyale

Posts that mention the name Donyale

African nations as baby names


During the ’60s and ’70s, a slew of Africa-inspired baby names debuted in the U.S. baby name data. These included traditional African names (e.g., Abayomi, Ayanna), names taken from African and African-American public figures (e.g., Lumumba, Levar), and — the focus of today’s post — African place names, particularly country names.

Here are all the African country/region/kingdom names I’ve spotted in the SSA data so far. (I didn’t omit Chad, even though it coincides with the English name Chad.)

NameDebut yearPeak usage
Chad191413,400 baby boys in 1972
Tunisia1943 (due to WWII)39 baby girls in 1974
Rwanda19515 baby girls in both 1951 & 1973
Kenya1952894 baby girls in 1973
Sahara1964248 baby girls in both 2006 & 2007
Rhodesia196612 baby girls in 1977
Mali196765 baby girls in 2008
Tanzania196838 baby girls in 1992
Africa196976 baby girls in 1972
Biafra1969 (due to Biafra being in the news; the Biafran War lasted from 1967 to 1970)5 baby girls in 1969; one-hit wonder
Ghana19697 baby girls in 1969
Tanganyika196916 baby girls in 1972
Nubia196983 baby girls in 1969
Ashanti19702,945 baby girls in 2002 (due to the singer)
Uganda197312 baby girls in 1973
Algeria19746 baby girls in both 1993 & 1995
Libya19748 baby girls in 2011
Zaire1974316 baby boys in 2017
Egypt1975266 baby girls in 2017
Nigeria197558 baby girls in 2000
Niger19769 baby girls in both 1976 & 1977
Somalia197743 baby girls in 1993
Zimbabwe1981 (maybe inspired by the Bob Marley song “Zimbabwe“?)5 baby boys in 1981; one-hit wonder
Sudan19825 baby boys in both 1982 & 1995
Eritrea1991 (due to Eritrea being in the news; the Eritrean War of Independence ended in 1991)5 baby girls in 1991; one-hit wonder
Asmara1993 (due to Asmara being in the news; it became the capital of independent Eritrea in 1993)13 baby girls in 2013
Morocco200519 baby boys in 2017

Only five of the above did not either debut or see peak usage during the 1960s/1970s.

Source: SSA

Image: Adapted from Africa (satellite image) (NASA)

Where did the baby name Donyale come from in 1966?

African-American fashion model Donyale Luna (1945-1979) on the cover of Vogue magazine (Mar. 1966).
Donyale Luna

The curious name Donyale debuted impressively in the U.S. baby name data in 1966:

  • 1968: 35 baby girls named Donyale
  • 1967: 43 baby girls named Donyale
  • 1966: 15 baby girls named Donyale [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: unlisted

Where did it come from?

African-American model Donyale Luna, who, in March of 1966, became the first black model to appear on the cover of Vogue (the British version).

Overnight, she became an international celebrity — not to mention one of the most in-demand models in the world.

A Time article from 1966 described her as “a new heavenly body who…is unquestionably the hottest model in Europe at the moment.”

She was born in Detroit in 1945 with the name Peggy Ann Freeman. In the early 1960s, as a teenager, she started going by the name “Donyale Luna.” The name Donyale may have been inspired by the French name Danielle, while Luna was “perhaps in reference to the era’s fascination with lunar expeditions.”

One of the reasons Luna is not well-remembered today? She passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 1979. This was a year and a half after she gave birth to a baby girl named Dream.

What do you think of the name Donyale?


Image: © 1966 Vogue

P.S. Another popular fashion model from the 1960s who went by a pseudonym was Twiggy

Where did the baby name Capucine come from in 1961?

French actress Capucine in the movie "Song Without End" (1960).
Capucine in “Song Without End

The curious name Capucine first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in the early 1960s:

  • 1964: 8 baby girls named Capucine
  • 1962: 8 baby girls named Capucine
  • 1961: 5 baby girls named Capucine [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

Where did it come from?

French actress/model Capucine (pronounced kah-pu-seen, roughly).

Her first English-language film, Song Without End, was released in mid-1960. The film was about 19th-century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, and Capucine played a fictionalized version of Polish princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who was romantically linked to Liszt. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

The film’s trailer introduced Capucine to American audiences by emphasizing the uniqueness of her name:

Capucine — a name to whisper, a name to shout, a name to remember.

Capucine — one of France’s great beauties.

Capucine’s birth name was Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre. When she started to model professionally as a teenager, she was given the name Capucine — the French word for the nasturtium flower (which is shaped like the hood of a Capuchin monk’s robe). According to Capucine’s Song Without End co-star Dirk Bogarde, “[s]he couldn’t remember who pinned it on her — Chanel, Givenchy or just a publicist somewhere.”

At the end of the ’60s, Capucine appeared alongside fellow model Donyale Luna in the film Fellini Satyricon.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Capucine?