How popular is the baby name Sheena 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 Sheena.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Sheena


Posts that Mention the Name Sheena

Where did the baby name Desira come from in 1942?

The comic strip characters Flash Gordon and Queen Desira (early 1940s).
Flash Gordon & Queen Desira

The name Desiree, which became trendy in the mid-1950s, wasn’t doing anything special in the early 1940s when the name Desira first appeared in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1944: unlisted
  • 1943: unlisted
  • 1942: 5 baby girls named Desira [debut]
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: unlisted

So where did Desira come from?

Looks like the source is the comic strip Flash Gordon, which introduced a character named Queen Desira in January of 1942. Desira was the red-headed ruler of the jungle kingdom Tropica (on the rogue planet Mongo) and she was regularly featured in the strip until 1944.

Wonder Woman also introduced a character named Queen Desira in 1942 — a rather fishy coincidence — but I doubt this Desira had much/any influence on the charts, as Wonder Woman wasn’t in newspapers until 1944. (Her first stand-alone comic book came in mid-1942, a bit after Sheena’s comic book).

Do you like the name Desira?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Sheena come from?

sheena, queen of the jungle, comic, 1940s, baby name

If you meet someone in the U.S. named Sheena, chances are she was born in the 1980s. That’s when the usage of baby name Sheena spiked impressively thanks to Scottish singer Sheena Easton, whose first big hit was “9 to 5 (Morning Train)” and whose name was no doubt based on Sìne, the Scottish form of Jeanne.

But the name Sheena has been on the onomastic map (here in the U.S.) a lot longer than that. And I think the initial influence was a comic book character.

“Queen of the Jungle” Sheena, who always wore a skimpy, leopard-print outfit, started appearing in the adventure anthology comic book Jumbo Comics in 1938. She’d been created by artist Will Eisner as a female counterpart to Tarzan, and her name was inspired by H. Rider Haggard’s novel She: A History of Adventure.

By the second half of 1940, Sheena was being featured on the cover of Jumbo Comics regularly. And in the spring of 1942, Sheena became the first female character to star in her own comic book in the spin-off series Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. (The first issue of Wonder Woman didn’t appear until later in 1942.)

Around the same time, the baby name Sheena debuted in the SSA’s baby name data:

  • 1945: 14 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1944: 11 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1943: 9 baby girls named Sheena [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

The next decade, Sheena got her own TV series. Sheena, Queen of the Jungle first aired from 1955 to 1956 and the title character was played by Nellie Elizabeth “Irish” McCalla. The show gave the name a boost in the mid-1950s:

  • 1958: 121 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1957: 163 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1956: 136 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1955: 34 baby girls named Sheena
  • 1954: 20 baby girls named Sheena

The name got another (lesser) boost in the late ’70s with the release of the Ramones song “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” (1977), but it was nothing like the rise that was to come a few years later thanks to Sheena Easton.

What are your thoughts on the name Sheena?

Sources: Sìne – Behind the Name, Eisner and Iger – WillEisner.com, First female character to star in her own comic book | Guinness World Records
Image from the Digital Comic Museum.

How do you feel about your name, Caitlin?

Today’s name interview is with Caitlin, a 30-year-old from Boston who happens to be the blogger behind Republic of Names.

What’s the story behind her name?

I was born in Massachusetts in the mid-’80s, so I think it came pre-printed on the birth certificate.

(Here’s the national popularity graph for the baby name Caitlin. Highest usage was the late ’80s and early ’90s.)

What does she like most about her name?

I’m glad my parents went with this spelling.

What does she like least about her name?

The proliferation of cutesy spellings is annoying. Many of my senior colleagues have grandchildren named Kaitlyn/Caytlynne/Katelin and I sometimes feel that the name identifies me as a child, rather than as a professional.

Finally, would Caitlin recommend that her name be given to babies today?

No. It will never be spelled the way you want it to be spelled. It gets mixed up with all the Kaylas and Kaylees and Kaylins.

Thanks so much, Caitlin!

P.S. Just noticed that the baby name Caitlin saw a sizable jump (+2,253 baby girls) from 1987 to 1988. My best guess (from a whopping 3 minutes of research) is the Miami Vice character Caitlin Davies, played by Sheena Easton from 1987 to 1988. Does that sound about right, or is it something else…?

P.P.S. Recent NBN post Distinctive Baby Names, State by State is based on Caitlin’s research at Republic of Names.