How popular is the baby name Ed 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 Ed.

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Popularity of the baby name Ed

Posts that mention the name Ed

What gave the baby name Elvis a boost in 1956?

Elvis Presley's self-titled debut album (1956)
Elvis Presley’s debut album

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Elvis — which regularly ranked inside the boys’ top 1,000 during the first half of the 20th century — saw a steep rise in usage in 1956, and reached peak popularity in 1957:

  • 1959: 264 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 480th]
  • 1958: 372 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 405th]
  • 1957: 604 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 312th]
  • 1956: 417 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 362nd]
  • 1955: 65 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 924th]
  • 1954: 47 baby boys named Elvis

Here’s a visual:

Graph of the usage of the baby name Elvis in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Elvis

What was influencing the name Elvis in the mid-1950s?

The King of Rock and Roll, of course. :)

Elvis Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935. He was named after his father, Vernon Elvis Presley.

After graduating from high school (in Nashville, Tennessee) in 1953, he went to work as a truck driver — and also began recording songs at Sun Records.

By 1955, he’d become a regional star in the South. He was playing shows with country acts like Faron Young and The Carter Sisters.

But 1956 was the year Elvis became a national phenomenon.

He released “Heartbreak Hotel” in January. It became the best-selling song in the U.S. for eight weeks straight (from April to June). Among his other 1956 singles were “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Love Me Tender” — each of which took turns in the top-selling spot for a stretch of 16 weeks (from August to December).

Elvis also performed on various TV shows throughout 1956. He appeared on Stage Show six times (from January to March), the Milton Berle Show twice (in April and June), the Steve Allen Show once (in July), and the Ed Sullivan Show twice (in September and October). His September 9th appearance on the nation’s most popular variety show attracted 60 million viewers — over 82% of the television-viewing audience of the day — making it “the most-watched TV broadcast of the 1950s.”

Finally, in November, he was featured in his first movie, Love Me Tender. (His love interest was played by Debra Paget.) In its first week, the movie ranked in #2 at the box office behind James Dean’s final film, Giant.

In 1957, Elvis continued putting out best-selling singles (such as “Too Much,” “All Shook Up” and “Jailhouse Rock”). He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show a third time (in January) and starred in two more movies: Loving You (released in July) and Jailhouse Rock (released in November).

A handful of the hundreds of baby boys named Elvis during these years were also given the middle name Presley. Some examples…

  • Elvis Presley White (b. May 1956, in Texas)
  • Elvis Presley Imes (b. July 1956, in North Carolina)
  • Elvis Presley Williams (b. October 1956, in Texas)
  • Elvis Presley Arrington (b. November 1956, in North Carolina)
  • Elvis Presley Hart (b. November 1956, in Ohio)
  • Elvis Presley Nettles (b. January 1957, in North Carolina)
  • Elvis Presley Weaver (b. January 1957, in Alabama)
  • Elvis Presley Day (b. June 1957, in North Carolina)
  • Elvis Presley Jamerson (b. August 1957, in Texas)

The original Elvis Presley went on to record hundreds of songs — 149 of which made an appearance on the pop charts — and star in 31 movies over the course of his career.

Sadly, that career was cut short when, in August of 1977, Elvis was found unconscious in his Memphis mansion, Graceland. He’d suffered a heart attack (“brought on largely by drug abuse”) and doctors were unable to revive him.

Elvis’ death at the age of 42 triggered not only a national outpouring of grief, but also a second spike in usage of the baby name Elvis:

  • 1980: 229 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 571st]
  • 1979: 274 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 504th]
  • 1978: 365 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 404th]
  • 1977: 299 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 467th]
  • 1976: 148 baby boys named Elvis [rank: 678th]

What are your thoughts on the name Elvis?

P.S. Mike Stoller, one of the songwriters behind “Hound Dog,” survived the sinking of the Andrea Doria in mid-1956.

Sources: Elvis Presley – Wikipedia, Elvis Presley – Britannica, Elvis – Television Appearances & Specials –, Elvis Presley’s 1956 –, List of Billboard number-one singles of 1956 – Wikipedia, Elvis Presley makes first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” –,, Mike Stoller recalls day he survived a wreck and discovered his Elvis hit – Elvis Australia, SSA

What popularized Kyle as girl name in the early 1950s?

Kyle MacDonnell in a Bates Fabrics ad (Feb. 1949)
Kyle MacDonnell in a Bates Fabrics ad

In the U.S., the name Kyle has always been used more often for boys than for girls.

If you look closely at the data from the early 1950s, though, you’ll notice a sudden increase in the usage of Kyle as a girl name. And, interestingly, most of that usage occurred in the north-eastern quadrant of the country — particularly in New York.

Girls named KyleBoys named Kyle
1954158 [rank: 736th]402 [rank: 362nd]
1953153 [rank: 737th]360 [rank: 358th]
1952156 [rank: 713th]381 [rank: 352nd]
1951211 [rank: 594th]343 [rank: 369th]
1950102 [rank: 879th]240 [rank: 431st]
194937144 [rank: 564th]
194816130 [rank: 586th]
194711151 [rank: 549th]
194610107 [rank: 622nd]
1945581 [rank: 670th]

Here’s a visual of the national usage (for girls only):

Graph of the usage of the baby name Kyle (as a girl name only) in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Kyle (as a girl name)

So what’s behind the rise?

Singer and actress Kyle MacDonnell, who was one of the first stars of television!

She was born Ruth Kyle MacDonnell in 1922, and spent most of her childhood in Kansas. Her middle name, Kyle, was a family name on her father’s side.

By the mid-1940s, she was doing modeling work in New York City. A talented singer, MacDonnell also found her way onto Broadway, performing in the musical Park Avenue (1946-1947) and the musical revue Make Mine Manhattan (1948-1949).

While appearing in the latter production, she was offered her own TV series, For Your Pleasure, which featured music and dancing.

The weekly, 15-minute variety show began airing live from NBC’s New York City station, WNBT, on April 15, 1948. It was also broadcast across NBC’s Eastern network, which included nearby cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Schenectady. (NBC affiliate stations in other parts of the country may have screened episodes as well, on later dates, thanks to kinescope recordings sent through the mail.)

One reviewer, after watching only the first episode of For Your Pleasure, said Kyle MacDonnell “showed an extremely photogenic personality with grace and naturalness.”

Her singing of How High the Moon and I Wish I Didn’t Love You So were satisfying, and she may well prove an important video find.

Three episodes in, New York Times television critic Jack Gould described Kyle MacDonnell as “television’s first truly new and bright star…the most videogenic young lady yet seen before the cathode cameras.”

Kyle MacDonnell on the cover of Life magazine (May 1948)

A month and a half after the show began, Kyle MacDonnell was on the cover of Life magazine. Life noted that Kyle’s “catch-all appeal nets strangely assorted fan mail from grandmothers, grammar-school kids and ardent bachelors.”

In September, after NBC was able to secure a sponsor for Kyle MacDonnell’s show, For Your Pleasure ended and its re-branded successor Girl About Town (sponsored by Bates Fabrics, Inc.) promptly began.

Girl About Town was also a weekly variety show that aired live from the studio, but episodes were slightly longer (20 minutes) and included prerecorded film footage of Kyle at various landmarks around New York City. The footage was meant to suggest to viewers that Kyle was performing from these locations.

In December, Jack Gould declared in his annual “Honor Roll” that the top male and female TV personalities of 1948 were Milton Berle (host of Texaco Star Theater) and Kyle MacDonnell.

In early 1949, NBC interlinked its 7-city Eastern network to its 9-city Midwest network (which included Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo), more than doubling the number of cities in which Girl About Town and other NBC series could be seen live.

Kyle MacDonnell in an RCA Victor ad (Aug. 1949)
Kyle MacDonnell in an RCA Victor ad

Not only was Kyle MacDonnell’s show available in more homes, but her face and name began popping up in advertisements in magazines like Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Harper’s Bazaar, and Life. Most of the ads were for either Bates-brand fabrics or her own Bates-sponsored television show. The rest were for RCA Victor television sets.

In June of 1949, Girl About Town was canceled. NBC restarted For Your Pleasure in July, but it only lasted until September.

So Kyle MacDonnell returned to Broadway, performing in the musical revue Touch and Go (1949-1950). But she could still be spotted on television, making several guest appearances on the variety show Cavalcade of Stars (DuMont) and several more on the game show Celebrity Time (CBS/ABC).

In late September, 1950, she began hosting a weekly half-hour variety show called Hold that Camera (DuMont). Soon after that, in early October, she became a regular panelist on “Celebrity Time.”

The first show lasted until early December, and her stint on the second show lasted through the end of December — meaning that, for over two months toward the end of 1950, Kyle MacDonnell could be seen on television for two half-hours per week: Fridays from 8:30 to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 to 10:30 p.m.

This double-dose of Kyle, combined with a rapidly growing TV audience — the percentage of U.S. homes with a television set had risen from about 2% in 1949 to about 9% in 1950 — is likely what boosted the name Kyle into the girls’ top 1,000 in 1950.

Kyle MacDonnell in a Camel cigarette newspaper ad (Sept. 1950)
Kyle MacDonnell in a Camel cigarette ad

She made a few more guest appearances in early 1951, then took several months off to give birth in June to her first and only child, a son named MacDonnell. (His father was Kyle’s third husband, Richard Gordon, a New York City television producer.)

After that, however, Kyle MacDonnell wasn’t able to find much work in television. Instead, she focused on other things: singing in nightclubs, touring with musical theater productions, and hosting her own radio program in NYC.

She attempted to make a comeback in 1959, singing on Tonight Starring Jack Paar in March, then The Ed Sullivan Show in May. These TV performances would have reached many more viewers than any of her earlier TV performances, as both shows were broadcast nationally, and more than 85% of U.S. homes had a television set by that time. Though they didn’t revive her TV career, they may account for her name seeing a boost in usage in 1959.

Not long after that, Kyle MacDonnell married her fourth (and final) husband, William Vernon, the president of Santa Fe National Bank. She spent the rest of her days in New Mexico, passing away in 2004.

What are your thoughts on Kyle as a girl name?


Second and third images: © 1948 Life, © 1949 Life

How did The Jackson 5 influence baby names in the early 1970s?

The Jackson Five on the cover of Jet magazine (Aug. 6, 1970)
The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5, whose “bubblegum soul” sound made them remarkably successful in the early 1970s, consisted of five musically gifted brothers out of Gary, Indiana. Their names were:

  • Sigmund Esco “Jackie” Jackson, b. 1951
  • Toriano Adaryll “Tito” Jackson, b. 1953
    • Records suggest that Tito’s first name was actually “Tariano,” but the press typically spelled it “Toriano.”
  • Jermaine LaJuane Jackson, b. 1954
  • Marlon David Jackson, b. 1957
  • Michael Joe Jackson, b. 1958

The brothers began performing together in the mid-1960s, but Jacksonmania didn’t hit until 1970, with the success of songs like “I Want You Back” (1969), “ABC” (1970), “The Love You Save” (1970), and “I’ll Be There” (1970) — all four of which hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.

At the height of their fame, the boys even had a Saturday morning cartoon show called “The Jackson 5ive” (1971-1972).

The animated version of the Jackson brothers in the cartoon series "The Jackson 5ive" (1971-1972).
“The Jackson 5ive”

So how did the Jacksons’ celebrity affect U.S. baby names in the early 1970s? Let’s go brother by brother…


Jackie Jackson couldn’t stop the name Jackie from trending downward, and he didn’t do much for the unusual name Esco, but the name Sigmund did see a distinct uptick in usage in 1971.

Fun fact: Jackie dated Debraca Foxx during the early ’70s.


Tito Jackson not only popularized his nickname, Tito, but he boosted both Toriano and Adaryll into the data for the first time. In fact, Toriano was the top debut name of 1970, and it still ranks as one of the top boy-name debuts of all time. (It also likely influenced the car name Torino.) The name Adaryll didn’t surface until 1972.

*Debut, †Peak

Tito’s first son, Toriano Adaryll “Taj” Jackson, Jr. (b. 1973) — whose nickname was derived from his initials — gave the name Taj a boost. His second son, Taryll (b. 1975), was behind the debut of the name Taryll (also mentioned here).


Jermaine Jackson, the co-lead vocalist of the group (with Michael), brought so much attention to the name Jermaine that it not only entered the top 1,000, but nearly cracked the top 100 as well:

  • 1974: 1,628 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 151st]
  • 1973: 2,039 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 127th]
  • 1972: 1,966 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 135th]
  • 1971: 1,015 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 233rd]
  • 1970: 171 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 622nd]
  • 1969: 5 baby boys named Jermaine

Jermaine was the fastest-rising boy name in the U.S. in both 1970 and 1971 — two years in a row, impressively.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Jermaine in the U.S. since 1880.
Usage of the baby name Jermaine

On the heels of Jermaine’s rise, several variant spellings of the name either saw similarly increased usage or appeared for the first time in the boys’ data:

*Debut, †Peak usage

Jermaine’s middle name, LaJuane, also debuted (in 1971).

Jermaine had a total of nine children, one of whom was named (rather infamously) Jermajesty.


Marlon Jackson was the main reason that the name Marlon saw peak usage in 1972. (But he had some help from Marlon Brando, whose movie The Godfather came out the same year.)


Michael Jackson — who was still a decade away from releasing his massively popular solo album Thriller — couldn’t ultimately reverse the decline of the name Michael. But the combined influence of Michael Jackson and other famous Michaels (like basketball star Michael Jordan, and TV star Michael Landon) did help the name’s usage level out somewhat during the 1970s and ’80s.

Graph of the usage of the baby name Michael in the U.S. since 1880
Usage of the baby name Michael

Which Jackson 5 name is your favorite? (And, if you were around during Jacksonmania: Which group member was your favorite?)

While you ponder these questions, check out the group’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in December of 1969:


Images: © 1970 Jet, © 1971 Videocraft International Limited

Name quotes #99: Silbestre, Iris, Wayne

Silbestre Esquivel’s inscription (via Petrified Forest NP’s IG)

About the historical “Silbestre Esquivel” inscription inside Petrified Forest National Park:

Who was Silbestre Esquivel? In 1811, he inscribed his name in what would become Petrified Forest National Park. Was he passing through? Was he a lonely cowboy or shepherd? Even the history of discovery of the inscription is mysterious. Two different articles in a magazine and a newspaper in 1943 and 1945 claim to discover the name. The earlier one found it by directions from a business woman in the area—wouldn’t she be the one to have discovered it? A professional photographer, Michael Bend, did find out that the man was part of a party traveling from Santa Fe to Utah lead by José Rafaél Sarracino to trade with the Ute people. Such fascinating secrets!

(The name Silbestre — like the related name Sylvester — can be traced back to the Latin word silva, meaning “forest.”)

From a Louder interview with John Rzeznik about the Goo Goo Dolls’ hit song “Iris”:

By the time Rzeznik had ironed out some of the “ugly chord sequences”, he had a swooning future classic on his hands. Only the name was required. “I’m horrible at naming songs,” he says, “so it’s the last thing I do. I was looking through a magazine called LA Weekly and saw that a great singer-songwriter called Iris DeMent was playing in town. I was, like: ‘Wow! What a beautiful name.’

(The song doesn’t actually include the name Iris in the lyrics, and yet the usage of the baby name Iris does seem to rise at a faster rate in 1998 and 1999, so…did the song influence the name? Wdyt?)

From an essay on baby names in The Guardian by Ed Cumming:

The one truly radical act for a British parent is to pluck a name from further down the class ladder. Yet it might not be the worst idea for the downwardly mobile upper-middle classes, whose jobs in accounting and law are about to be replaced by Elon’s robots. They continue to worry that Liam or Wayne wouldn’t fit in at Eton, little realising that will be the least of their concerns. Cressida and Monty will have a much harder time fitting in at the robot repair shop.