How popular is the baby name Allie 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 Allie.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Allie


Posts that Mention the Name Allie

Popular Baby Names in Monroe, MI, in 2020

A few days ago, a writer with the Monroe News (of Monroe County, Michigan) tallied up all the baby names mentioned in the paper’s 2020 birth announcements. The most frequently occurring names for girls were Abigail and Ava (tie), and for boys was Asher.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I don’t tend to post rankings from non-governmental sources. But, again, this set had a relatively high number of names (451) compared to the size of the county (about 150,000 residents), so here’s the full list…

Girl Names

4 baby girls named:

  • Abigail
  • Ava

3 baby girls named:

  • Athena
  • Charlotte
  • Emma
  • Madison
  • Paisley
  • Quinn

2 baby girls named:

  • Allie
  • Allison
  • Amelia
  • Eleanor
  • Elena
  • Elizabeth
  • Elliana
  • Evelynn
  • Everly
  • Hadleigh
  • Harper
  • Hazel
  • Isla
  • Layla
  • Mia
  • Nova
  • Ruby
  • Sadie
  • Sophia
  • Sophie
  • Violet

1 baby girl named:

Ada, Addaleigh, Addilynn-Rose, Adorabella, Alice, Alicia, Alita, Aliva, Alora, Alyssa, A’Meila, Amirah, Amiyah, Anastasia, Aranea, Arya, Ashlynn, Aubree, Aubrey, Aurora, Avery, Bailey, Bexley, Blakely, Brielle, Brooke, Brooklyn, Brylee, Brynn, Caia, Caiya, Camilleia, Caralena, Caroline, Cattleya, Charlynn, Claire, Cora, Dahlia, Da’yana, Delaney, Eliannah, Eliza, Ellanorah, Ellie, Ellison, Ember, Emersyn, Emmarie, Emory, Evangeline, Evie, Evodia, Faith, Genevieve, Georgia, Giovanni, Gracelyn, Gracie, Gwendolyn, Haisley, Harleigh, Harlow, Harmony, HaVen, Hayzlee, Illia, Inija, Isabel, Ivy, Iylah, Jade, Janie, Jessika, Jolee, Jolene, Joni, Jordynn, Josephine, Journae, Julianna, Kaisley, Kansas, Kendelyn, Kennedy, Kensly, Klara, Kolumbiia, Laney, Leia, Lexi, Lexie, Lila, Lillian, Lily, Lively, Logan, Luciana, Lucille, Lucina, Luna, Maeve, Mahogany, Marianna, Marilyn, Marissa, Maryszka, McKenna, Mercy, Mila, Moselle, Mya, Naomi, Nora, Novalee, Omora, Ophelia, Ora, Penelope, Prudence, Raelyn, Reese, Renlee, Rhythm, Riann, Ripley, River, Roise, Rosalie, Rosemary, Ryalin, Ryleigh, Scarlett, Sedona, Shawna, Shelby, Sinya, Skyla, Skylynn, Stella, Stellana, Skyla, Tiffany, Vayda, Victoria, Ziggy, Zoe, Zoey, Zuri

Notably: “The No. 1 girl name in 2019, Olivia, wasn’t reported to The News last year.”

Boy Names

5 baby boys named:

  • Asher

4 baby boys named:

  • Wesley

3 baby boys named:

  • Andrew
  • Brooks
  • Hudson
  • John
  • Liam
  • Oliver
  • Preston
  • Roman
  • William

2 baby boys named:

  • Arthur
  • Benjamin
  • Bentley
  • Brody
  • Bryson
  • Carson
  • Connor
  • Dallas
  • Declan
  • Donald
  • Easton
  • Emmett
  • Finn
  • Henry
  • Jameson
  • Jaxon
  • Joseph
  • Kai
  • Lucas
  • Nicholas
  • Parker
  • Raiden
  • Samuel
  • Travis
  • Trevor
  • Waylon
  • Wyatt

1 baby boy named:

Adrian, Amon, Anderson, Anthony, Archer, Armani, Ashton, Atlas, Axel, Beau, Blake, Bode, Bodie, Bowie, Boyd, Bradley, Brady, Braxton, Braziel, Bryant, Carl, Carnell, Carter, Cassius, Cayden, Charles, Charlie, Christopher, Clayton, Cohen, Cole, Colson, Colt, Colten, Conner, Craig, Cruz, Dakota, Darius, David, Dean, Denver, Dominick, Dylan, Edwin, Elijah, Eliott, Emanuel, Emmerich, Enzo, Erik, Eudon, Finney, Forrest, Fulton, Gabriel, Gage, Giovani, Giovanni, Greyson, Griffyn, Henrik, Howard, Hunter, Jace, Jackson, Jaden, James, Jared, Javiah, Jaxson, Jayceon, Jayden, Jensen, Jonah, Jordan, Josiyah, Julian, Kaine, Kairo, Kane, Kayden, Kaynen, Khalil, Kirk, Koda, Kolton, Kyair, Kyren, Laurence, Lawrence, Leon, Leopold, Levi, Lincoln, Logan, Luca, Lyric, Mack, Magnus, Malachi, Marshaine, Mason, Maverick, Maveryck, Maximus, Michael, Miles, Murphy, Nickolas, Owen, Patrick, Promise, Reece, Remy, Renlee, Rhett, Richard, Rockwood, Rowan, Rubin, Russell, Ryan, Ryder, Ryker, Sebastian, Senan, Silas, Skyler, Spencer, Tate, Thatcher, Theodore, Thomas, Trenton, Valentino, Vincent, Vincenzo, Wylder, Xander, Xavier, Zachary, Zaidyn, Zeppelin

Source: Monroe County’s baby names for 2020

Numerology & Baby Names: Number 3

baby names that add up to 3, numerologically

Here are hundreds of baby names that have a numerological value of “3.”

I’ve sub-categorized them by overall totals, because I think that some of the intermediate numbers could have special significance to people as well.

Within each group, I’ve listed up to ten of the most popular “3” names per gender (according to the current U.S. rankings).

Beneath all the names are some ways you could interpret the numerological value of “3,” including descriptions from two different numerological systems.

3 via 12

The following baby names add up to 12, which reduces to three (1+2=3).

  • “12” girl names: Aja, Fae, Abi, Bee, Abha, Bia
  • “12” boy names: Cace, Gad, Jb

3 via 21

The following baby names add up to 21, which reduces to three (2+1=3).

  • “21” girl names: Kai, Asa, Gala, Jaeda, Jaia, Aara, Clea, Kia, Abiha, Abiah
  • “21” boy names: Kai, Kade, Asa, Alec, Ben, Beck, Cael, Cale, Hal, Ladd

3 via 30

The following baby names add up to 30, which reduces to three (3+0=3).

  • “30” girl names: Ella, Anna, Alice, Jane, Bianca, Abby, Noa, Bria, Celia, Liah
  • “30” boy names: Joe, Jean, Taha, Noa, Ken, Eesa, Rafe, Zac, Bodi, Tai

3 via 39

The following baby names add up to 39, which reduces to three (3+9=12; 1+2=3).

  • “39” girl names: Camila, Sara, Ayla, Mya, Amy, Gemma, Leila, Allie, Angel, Kira
  • “39” boy names: Angel, Declan, Sean, Kash, Drake, Jakob, Jon, Keagan, Lev, Edric

3 via 48

The following baby names add up to 48, which reduces to three (4+8=12; 1+2=3).

  • “48” girl names: Luna, Nora, Claire, Isabel, Teagan, Adriana, Daphne, Aviana, Sarai, Celine
  • “48” boy names: James, Ethan, Levi, Jonah, Graham, Theo, Malakai, Leland, Kamden, Jasiah

3 via 57

The following baby names add up to 57, which reduces to three (5+7=12; 1+2=3).

  • “57” girl names: Aaliyah, Rose, Mary, Adalyn, Hayden, Amiyah, Mariana, Willa, Kailani, Myra
  • “57” boy names: Owen, George, Hayden, Ellis, Major, Uriah, Colby, Chris, Layne, Franco

3 via 66

The following baby names add up to 66, which reduces to three (6+6=12; 1+2=3).

  • “66” girl names: Harper, Addison, Ruby, Emery, Ximena, Annabelle, Sloane, Brooke, Delaney, Jessica
  • “66” boy names: Charles, Xander, Beckett, Tobias, Manuel, Zayn, Romeo, Dalton, Royce, Esteban

3 via 75

The following baby names add up to 75, which reduces to three (7+5=12; 1+2=3).

  • “75” girl names: Madison, Quinn, Esther, Adelynn, Raelyn, Tatum, Annalise, Bethany, Kinslee, Simone
  • “75” boy names: Zayden, Marcus, Martin, Jeffrey, Quinn, Kendrick, Gunnar, Zachariah, Rowen, Luciano

3 via 84

The following baby names add up to 84, which reduces to three (8+4=12; 1+2=3).

  • “84” girl names: Ryleigh, Londyn, Jocelyn, Makenzie, Collins, Lennox, Zaniyah, Madalynn, Lillianna, Violeta
  • “84” boy names: Alexander, Austin, Leonardo, Nathaniel, Emmanuel, Barrett, Jaxton, Marshall, Lennox, Lawson

3 via 93

The following baby names add up to 93, which reduces to three (9+3=12; 1+2=3).

  • “93” girl names: Juniper, Elliott, Ashlynn, Sunny, Yamileth, Evalynn, Majesty, Cristina, Rhiannon, Brighton
  • “93” boy names: Bryson, Justin, Elliott, Cristian, Atticus, Tyson, Roberto, Arturo, Greysen, Brighton

3 via 102

The following baby names add up to 102, which reduces to three (1+0+2=12; 1+2=3).

  • “102” girl names: Charlotte, Juliette, Jazlynn, Whitley, Kaylynn, Kinzley, Katelynn, Gwyneth, Christiana, Gwenyth
  • “102” boy names: Harrison, Kingsley, Langston, Brixton, Humberto, Syrus, Huxton, Iverson, Yehoshua, Abdulaziz

3 via 111

The following baby names add up to 111, which reduces to three (1+1+1=3).

  • “111” girl names: Amethyst, Braylynn, Kynsley, Brystol, Bronwyn, Taylynn, Mattison, Rozalyn, Sarenity, Promyse
  • “111” boy names: Raymundo, Xzavion, Treston, Christos, Torsten, Panagiotis, Schuyler, Olajuwon, Tayshawn, Corinthian

3 via 120

The following baby names add up to 120, which reduces to three (1+2+0=3).

  • “120” girl names: Skylynn, Yaretzy, Lexington, Greylynn, Yuritza, Portlyn, Southern, Brittlyn, Ellowynn, Mattalynn
  • “120” boy names: Maximiliano, Ulysses, Lexington, Thompson, Leviticus, Arjunreddy, Philopater, Quintyn, Prentiss, Marquette

3 via 129

The following baby names add up to 129, which reduces to three (1+2+9=12; 1+2=3).

  • “129” girl names: Kourtney, Christalyn, Tzipporah, Oluwatomi, Riverrose, Stellamaris, Jazzalynn
  • “129” boy names: Augustus, Silvestre, Brookston, Constantin, Tobechukwu, Panayiotis, Toluwalase, Demetrious, Quinston, Kourtney

3 via 138

The following baby names add up to 138, which reduces to three (1+3+8=12; 1+2=3).

  • “138” girl names: Konstantina, Marylouise, Mojolaoluwa, Oluwaferanmi
  • “138” boy names: Thelonious, Toussaint, Marcoantonio, Zephyrus, Oluwaferanmi

3 via 147

The following baby names add up to 147, which reduces to three (1+4+7=12; 1+2=3).

  • “147” girl names: Autumnrose, Tirenioluwa
  • “147” boy names: Khristopher, Aristotelis

3 via 156

The boy name Ifeanyichukwu adds up to 156, which reduces to three (1+5+6=12; 1+2=3).

3 via 165

The unisex name Oluwatamilore adds up to 165, which reduces to three (1+6+5=12; 1+2=3).

What Does “3” Mean?

First, we’ll look at the significance assigned to “3” by two different numerological sources. Second, and more importantly, ask yourself if “3” or any of the intermediate numbers above have any special significance to you.

Numerological Attributes

“3” (the triad) according to the Pythagoreans:

  • “The triad has a special beauty and fairness beyond all numbers”
  • “Anything in Nature which has process has three boundaries (beginning, peak and end – that is, its limits and its middle), and two intervals (that is, increase and decrease), with the consequence that the nature of the dyad and ‘either’ manifests in the triad by means of its limits.”
  • “They call it ‘friendship’ and ‘peace,’ and further ‘harmony’ and ‘unanimity’: for these are all cohesive and unificatory of opposites and dissimilars. Hence they also call it ‘marriage.'”
  • “The triad is called ‘prudence’ and ‘wisdom’ – that is, when people act correctly as regards the present, look ahead to the future, and gain experience from what has already happened in the past: so wisdom surveys the three parts of time, and consequently knowledge falls under the triad.”
  • “We use the triad also for the manifestation of plurality, and say ‘thrice ten thousand’ when we mean ‘many times many,’ and ‘thrice blessed.'”

“3” according to Edgar Cayce:

  • “Three is the strength of one with the weakness of two” (reading 261-15).
  • ‘Three – again a combination of one and two; this making for strength, making for – in division – that ability of two against one, or one against two. In this strength is seen, as in the Godhead, and is as a greater strength in the whole of combinations” (reading 5751-1).
Personal/Cultural Significance

Does “3” — or do any of the other numbers above (e.g., 21, 57, 66, 111) — have any special significance to you?

Think about your own preferences and personal experiences: lucky numbers, birth dates, music, sports, and so on. Maybe you’re fascinated by the history of old Route 66, for example.

Also think about associations you may have picked up from your culture, your religion, or society in general.

If you have any interesting insights about the number 3, or any of the other numbers above, please leave a comment!

Source: Theologumena Arithmeticae, attributed to Iamblichus (c.250-c.330).

More Top Baby Name Drops

A couple of weeks a go we checked out the list of top raw-number rises in the U.S. baby name data, so today let’s balance things out with the list of top raw-number drops.

Just remember that the SSA data doesn’t become very accurate until the mid-to-late 20th century, so many of the numbers below don’t reflect reality all that well.

Same format as usual: Girl names on the left, boy names on the right. Numbers represent single-year decreases in usage. From 1880 to 1881, for instance, usage of the girl name Mary dropped by 146 babies and usage of the boy name William dropped by 1,008 babies.

  • 1881: Mary, -146; William, -1,008
  • 1882: Lulu, -34; Garfield, -78
  • 1883: Mary, -136; William, -911
  • 1884: Mina, -33; Albert, -61
  • 1885: Sarah, -94; William, -853
  • 1886: Nancy, -35; Grover, -361
  • 1887: Minnie, -157; John, -916
  • 1888: Dorothea, -24; Rudolph, -17
  • 1889: Emma, -203; William, -933
  • 1890: Mollie, -53; William, -278
  • 1891: Mary, -375; John, -821
  • 1892: Jennie, -26; Enoch & Irving, -16 each (tie)
  • 1893: Mary, -390; John, -990
  • 1894: Ruth, -286; Grover, -171
  • 1895: Laura, -87; Charles, -155
  • 1896: Jessie, -197; John, -182
  • 1897: Anna, -431; John, -589
  • 1898: Sophie, -49; Hobart, -63
  • 1899: Mary, -1,234; William, -1,314
  • 1900: Manila, -24; Dewey, -154
  • 1901: Mary, -3,572; John, -2,931
  • 1902: Sophie, -45; Manuel, -32
  • 1903: Mary, -211; William, -305
  • 1904: Lillie, -121; Leo, -83
  • 1905: Florence, -94; Alton, -138
  • 1906: Minnie, -173; Theodore, -146
  • 1907: Bessie & Alice, -85 each (tie); Austin, -27
  • 1908: Evelyn, -178; Theodore, -69
  • 1909: Mae, -154; Ernest, -115
  • 1910: Allie, -35; Delmar & Bruce, -24 each (tie)
  • 1911: Annie, -220; Willie, -405
  • 1912: Dessie, -20; Lawyer & Blas, -12 each (tie)
  • 1913: Carrie, -62; Emerson, -28
  • 1914: Tomasa, -27; Woodrow, -547
  • 1915: Juana, -32; Kermit, -79
  • 1916: Mollie, -88; Willard, -476
  • 1917: Edna, -204; Woodrow, -239
  • 1918: Rose, -215; Frederick, -103
  • 1919: Helen, -2,447; John, -3,029
  • 1920: Sophie, -234; Woodrow, -1,033
  • 1921: Gertrude, -449; Willie, -391
  • 1922: Helen, -2,314; Warren, -3,315
  • 1923: Helen, -1,017; George, -321
  • 1924: Elizabeth, -512; Warren, -1,231
  • 1925: Mary, -2,910; John, -1,878
  • 1926: Mary, -2,773; William, -1,358
  • 1927: Helen, -1,582; William, -479
  • 1928: Mary, -3,756; William, -2,360
  • 1929: Mary, -3,361; John, -1,652
  • 1930: Ruth, -1,079; Herbert, -2,187
  • 1931: Dorothy, -3,884; John, -4,026
  • 1932: Betty, -1,688; Robert, -1,255
  • 1933: Mary, -4,381; Robert, -5,052
  • 1934: Dorothy, -761; Franklin, -1,209
  • 1935: Betty, -2,408; Franklin, -1,543
  • 1936: Shirley, -7,202; Donald, -1,025

(From the SSA: “Note that many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.”)

  • 1937: Shirley, -8,337; Donald, -771
  • 1938: Shirley, -3,048; Donald, -1,207
  • 1939: Shirley, -3,320; Robert, -2,630
  • 1940: Shirley, -2,573; Donald, -962
  • 1941: Betty, -1,172; Wendell, -533
  • 1942: Deanna, -408; Billy, -352
  • 1943: Carole, -1,900; Douglas, -3,001
  • 1944: Barbara, -4,242; Robert, -4,008
  • 1945: Mary, -3,184; James, -2,497
  • 1946: Victoria, -280; Victor, -492
    • Top 5 boy-name drops of ’46, in order: Victor, Truman, Franklin, Delano, Roosevelt/Homer (tie)
  • 1947: Carole, -793; Richard, -369
  • 1948: Patricia, -5,144; Richard, -7,570
  • 1949: Linda, -5,192; Ronald, -2,026
  • 1950: Linda, -10,549; John, -1,642
  • 1951: Linda, -6,553; Larry, -1,016
  • 1952: Linda, -6,808; Larry, -2,224
  • 1953: Linda, -5,819; Larry, -3,081
  • 1954: Linda, -5,884; Dennis, -2,860
  • 1955: Mary, -4,830; Gary, -3,499
  • 1956: Deborah, -4,476; David, -4,588
  • 1957: Deborah, -7,778; Gary, -2,286
  • 1958: Cynthia, -8,311; James, -5,502
  • 1959: Debra, -4,166; Michael, -5,209
  • 1960: Debra, -4,626; Richard, -3,619
  • 1961: Donna, -5,468; Richard, -2,432
  • 1962: Mary, -4,163; Mark, -4,234
  • 1963: Linda, -3,754; Mark, -4,150
  • 1964: Lori, -5,280; Mark, -4,073
  • 1965: Mary, -6,709; John, -10,972
  • 1966: Karen, -7,431; John, -6,519
  • 1967: Lisa, -4,483; James, -3,495
  • 1968: Mary, -3,592; David, -3,058
  • 1969: Lisa, -4,494; Timothy, -3,153
  • 1970: Lisa, -6,077; David, -1,953
  • 1971: Lisa, -6,053; David, -8,650
  • 1972: Lisa, -5,357; John, -8,340
  • 1973: Lisa, -4,883; David, -5,267
  • 1974: Lisa, -2,889; Robert, -1,681
  • 1975: Jennifer, -4,926; Brian, -3,864
  • 1976: Michelle, -3,116; Scott, -1,571
  • 1977: Amy, -4,613; Scott, -1,541
  • 1978: Amy, -3,509; Jason, -4,027
  • 1979: Kelly, -1,686; Kevin, -1,373
  • 1980: Melissa, -2,420; Jason, -2,203
  • 1981: Melissa, -3,623; Jason, -6,268
  • 1982: Brooke, -2,183; Jeremy, -2,643
  • 1983: Jennifer, -2,767; Jason, -5,512
  • 1984: Jennifer, -3,784; Jason, -5,167
  • 1985: Jennifer, -7,903; Jason, -3,905
  • 1986: Jennifer, -6,474; Joshua, -4,655
  • 1987: Jennifer, -3,483; Jason, -3,054
  • 1988: Ashley, -4,873; Jason, -3,441
  • 1989: Jennifer, -3,888; Jason, -3,292
  • 1990: Tiffany, -2,555; Adam, -2,216
  • 1991: Brittany, -7,446; Christopher, -5,219
  • 1992: Jessica, -5,047; Michael -6,409
  • 1993: Chelsea, -4,885; Michael, -4,821
  • 1994: Ashley, -4,571; Michael, -5,089
  • 1995: Jessica, -4,175; Michael, -3,060
  • 1996: Jessica, -3,752; Michael, -3,043
  • 1997: Jessica, -3,142; Cody, -2,660
  • 1998: Jessica, -2,816; Christopher, -2,104
  • 1999: Brittany, -1,903; Austin, -2,710
  • 2000: Brittany, -2,760; Austin, -4,824
  • 2001: Hannah, -2,366; Brandon, -2,445
  • 2002: Taylor, -2,220; Jacob, -1,968
  • 2003: Ashanti, -1,983; Austin, -2,850
  • 2004: Hannah, -2,034; Zachary, -1,832
  • 2005: Alexis, -1,503; Jacob, -2,059
  • 2006: Emily, -2,540; Ryan, -1,557
  • 2007: Emily, -2,050; Joshua, -1,664
  • 2008: Hannah, -3,738; Christopher, -2070
  • 2009: Emily, -2,084; Anthony, -2,099
  • 2010: Madison, -2,059; Joshua, -2,219
  • 2011: Isabella, -3,032; Jacob, -1,783
  • 2012: Chloe, -1,361; Jacob, -1,370
  • 2013: Isabella, -1,536; Ethan, -1,494
  • 2014: Sophia, -2,657; Jayden, -1,834
  • 2015: Isabella, -1,523; Jase, -1,459
  • 2016: Sophia, -1,311; Logan, -1,697
  • 2017: Sophia, -1,281; Mason, -1,728
  • 2018: Emily, -1,125; Matthew, -1,747
  • 2019: Emma, -1,655; Logan, -1,911
  • 2020: Harper, -1,686; Ethan, -1,801

I’ve already written about some of the names above (click the links to see the posts) and will write about others in the future. In the meanwhile, feel free to beat me to it! Comment below with the backstory on the fall of Shirley in the late ’30s, Linda in the early ’50s, etc.

Name Snark from 1880

More old-timey name snark! This short article was published in a now-defunct Indiana newspaper in 1880.

The programmes of the school commencements—and our own High School is no exception to the rule—are made silly by “Nannies,” “Libbies,” “Kitties,” “Mamies,” and other pet names. No woman who drops the sensible “y” and spells her name with an “ie” termination will ever get beyond mediocre in any sphere. A pet name is for the household only. How everybody would smile if the male graduates insisted upon the same silly style, and were put down on the programmes as “Johnnies,” “Sammies,” “Jimmies,” etc. The literary nom de plume of a female author indicates to some extent the force of her mind; and we know just as well what to expect from the Lillie Linwoods and Mattie Myrtles as we do from the George Eliots. The former clearly foreshadows gush and twaddle, the latter suggests an idea of strength and common sense. You can scarcely pen a more suggestive satire against the helpfulness and independence of woman than to wrap her up in such terms of daily coddling and childish endearment as the pet names of Jennie, Nannie, Hattie, Minnie, Margie, Nettie, Nellie, Allie, Addie, Lizzie, and a host of others. How it lessens the dignity of any woman to be called by a baby name. For instance, persistently to call the two great chieftains of woman’s advanced status, Lizzie Cady Stanton and Susie B. Anthony, would crush, at one stroke, the revolution they have so much at heart. Under such sweet persiflage it would sink into languid imbecility, and furnish fresh food for laughter.

If I spelled my name “Nancie,” I would definitely use that “mediocre in any sphere” sentence as my Twitter bio.

Source: “Baby Names.” Saturday Evening Mail [Terre Haute] 26 Jun. 1880: 4.

Pet Names for Women: Inappropriate? Disrespectful?

Nine women graduated from Rutgers Female College in 1886, and three of these nine women went by the pet names Hattie, Bessie and Mamie (diminutives of Harriet, Elizabeth and Mary/Margaret) during the graduation ceremony.

A writer at the now-defunct NYC newspaper The Sun had a strong opinion about this:

“[I]t seems very incongruous, and it is very incongruous, to give scholastic degree to a young woman who is spoken of only as if she were a baby who had not yet mastered the pronunciation of some of the consonants, and who changed the construction of words to suit the limitations of her infantile vocal organs.”

Here’s more:

In the domestic circle such nursery names have sweet and tender associations, but they sound quite silly when they are read out at a college commencement as the serious appellations of young women who are deemed worthy of grave scholastic degrees. Suppose that when Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was given an honorary degree in England, the other day, he had been described as Ollie Holmes or Noll Holmes.

These three young women allowed Dr. Samson and Dr. Burchard to address them before a large audience as if they were little girls in pinafores waiting for a present of a doll or of sweetmeats, instead of young ladies about to receive diplomas certifying that they had mastered studies within the ability of maturity only. They and their friends were not in the least indignant at the familiarity, but took it as altogether nice, pretty and proper.

Among the other recipients of degrees were two Marys and two Elizabeths, who were so called in their degrees, but Mamie and Bessie probably looked on them as the victims of the prejudices of old-fashioned and unreasonable parents. Yet we can never think of Mamie and Bessie and Hattie as dignified young women so long as they put those baby names on their cards.

The author didn’t strike me as being a feminist, but that’s how I saw his/her basic argument: women looking to be respected in the public sphere do themselves a disservice when they allow pet forms of their names to be used on serious/formal occasions.

And, back in that era — back when pet names typically were pet names (and not legal names) — I think I would have agreed. Because pet names would have denoted immaturity, familiarity, perhaps weakness — certainly not maturity, independence or power (traits that I imagine progressive women of the 19th century would have been aiming for).

These days the argument sounds a bit silly, though, as diminutives (e.g., Allie, Callie, Ellie, Sadie) are just as likely to be used as standalone legal names.

What’s your opinion?

Source: “Hattie, Bessie and Mamie.” Sun [New York] 12 Jun. 1886.