Greatest Baby Name Influencers of All Time

Which people over time have had the greatest influence on baby names in the U.S.? We’ve collected the top dozen individuals who’ve inspired millions of namesakes, often in unexpected ways. Sometimes it was an actual name that went viral; in other cases these people set off a wider-ranging trend. Here, the greatest baby name influencers of all time:


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During the Great Depression, sunny ShirleyTemple, with her golden ringlets and dimply smile, almost single-handedly lifted the spirits of the American people. No wonder other parents wanted a little Shirley of their own—making it not surprising that in 1935 alone there were 42,000+ baby Shirleys born—a tipping point moment in the history of celebrity influence on names.

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