How popular is the baby name Clifford in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Clifford and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Clifford.
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In March of 1950, Clifford and Annie Holden welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Chaneta, at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx.
Chaneta was born premature — she weighed just 2 pounds, 9 ounces — so she would have to be kept in a hospital incubator in order to survive.
But that didn’t quite happen. Why not? Because the poor thing was kidnapped.
She was abducted from the hospital on March 30th, when she was just nine days old. Doctors at the time warned that, outside of the incubator, she would have little chance of survival.
Hundreds of New York City police officers searched for Chaneta, but the search was called off after several days. At that point she was presumed dead.
But weeks later, on April 24th, Chaneta was discovered — still alive, miraculously.
She was found in a small storeroom at the Coburg Hotel, inside a homemade incubator constructed by her kidnapper, 18-year-old hotel maid Evelyn Jordan. (Evelyn had lost her own premature twins a few months earlier, sadly.) Here’s how the scene was described:
Besides a piggy bank, a toy cat and a rosary on the carriage she stocked the room with correctly prepared baby formulas, rubber gloves, child care books, diapers, blankets, thermometers, an electric heater to help provide the prescribed incubator temperature of 96° and a pan of bubbling hot water to keep up the required humidity.
Chaneta had gained 6 ounces and was in “perfect health.”
Annie, who sympathized with Evelyn, had this to say: “I feel sorry for her. She took such good care of the baby.”
The discovery made national headlines on April 25th, and the story stayed in the news for months to come.
Baby Chaneta was immediately returned to Lincoln Hospital. In mid-May she was declared healthy enough to go home with her parents.
Evelyn Jordan was sent to a mental institution. She was released six years later.
And in 1950, nearly two dozen baby girls suddenly got the rather unusual name Chaneta, according to SSA data:
1950: 23 baby girls named Chaneta [debut]
In a follow-up story from 1956, Annie Holden mentioned that Chaneta had been named after her favorite childhood schoolteacher.
Do you like the name Chaneta?
“Baby Chaneta Coming Home.” New York Age 13 May 1950: 3.
“Crude Incubator Keeps Baby Alive.” Life 8 May 1950: 50.
“Ex-Mental Patient Beats 1950 Kidnap Rap.” New York Age 8 Dec. 1956: 4.
“Kidnapped Incubator Infant Found Safe.” Los Angeles Times 26 Apr. 1950: 20.
“Kidnapped Negro Incubator Baby Is Found Alive.” Ogdensburg Journal 25 Apr. 1950: 1.
The U.S. National Park Service has a birthday coming up!
When the NPS was created on August 25, 1916, there were only 35 national parks and monuments. (The world’s first, Yellowstone, had been established in 1872.)
Nowadays the agency oversees 411 units. These units are located in the 50 states and beyond, and include national monuments (82), national historic sites (78), national parks (59), national historical parks (50), national memorials (30), national battlefields (11), national seashores (10), national lakeshores (4), national scenic trails (3), and more.
Let’s celebrate the upcoming centenary with over 100 baby names that pay tribute to the national parks specifically:
The derivation of Kenai is unknown, but it could come from either Dena’ina Athabascan (“big flat” or “two big flats and river cut-back” or “trees and brush in a swampy marsh”), Russian (“flat barren land”), or Iniut (“black bear”).
The registrar of Providence, Rhode Island, published a series of documents listing all “of the names of persons deceased, born and married in the city of Providence” during years 1866, 1867 and 1868. The series may have been longer, but these are the only documents I could find online.
I’ve finally finished creating a set of rankings using one of the documents — 1867. But before we get to the rankings, here are some stats:
1,547 babies were born in Providence in 1867, going by the number of babies listed in the document itself. According to the document’s introduction, though, the number is 1,625. Not sure what to make of this discrepancy.
1,431 of these babies (713 girls and 718 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 116 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps they died young and never received a name.
254 unique names (141 girl names and 113 boy names) were shared among these 1,431 babies.
And now, on to the names…
A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:
Top Baby Girl Names
Top Baby Boy Names
Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.
Twenty-one sets of twins and two sets of triplets were born in Providence in 1867. (All of these names were accounted for above — I just thought it’d be fun to check out the sibsets.)
Abraham & George
Charles & George
Charles & John
Daniel & David
Dunlap & Frank
Eugene & Timothy
George & John
George & William
James & John
John & Martin
Albert & Harriet
Ashel & Ida
George & Grace
James & Mary
Maurice & Ann
Annie & Fannie
Annie & Mary
Ann & Ellen
Jennie & Minnie
Margaret & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Carl, (blank) & (blank)
James, Alexander & Sarah
I’ll post Providence’s 1866 and 1868 rankings as soon I get them done. Until then, here are two older posts featuring uniquely named Rhode Islanders: Aldaberontophoscophornia (b. 1812) and Idawalley (b. 1842).
Ziegfeld Follies, which appeared on Broadway almost every year from 1907 until 1931, was an extravagant production that included music, dance and comedy.
The biggest draw, though, was the bevy of beautiful showgirls.
It became a popular sport to guess which one would break out and become the next big star, like onetime showgirls Barbara Stanwyck, Paulette Goddard, Gypsy Rose Lee, Josephine Baker, and of course, Marilyn Miller.
Several Follies girls went on to enjoy successful careers in entertainment, but only two — Allyn King and Avonne Taylor — inspired baby name debuts.
In fact, Allyn and Avonne are the 4th- and 5th-earliest actor-inspired baby name debuts that I know of (after Francelia, Ormi and Seena).
Allyn King was born in North Carolina in February of 1899. It looks as though she was named after her father, Allen. (Her sister, Phoebe, was named after their mother.)
Allyn was a Follies girl from 1916 until 1920, and the name Allyn — which was already showing up regularly on the SSA’s list as a boy name — debuted as a girl name in 1918:
1926: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1925: 11 baby girls named Allyn
1924: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1923: 7 baby girls named Allyn
1921: 5 baby girls named Allyn
1918: 7 baby girls named Allyn [debut]
(I can’t include SSDI data for unisex names like this one because the SSDI doesn’t code for gender, making it difficult to figure out which people are male and which are female.)
Allyn King continued to appear in Broadway shows during the 1920s, and she was in one silent film in 1923.
But the pressure to achieve the skinny, boyish figure that was fashionable during the ’20s proved too much for her. Extreme dieting nearly killed her in 1927, and after spending almost two years recovering in a sanatorium, she was still so depressed in early 1930 that she jumped out of a 5th story window in New York City. She died two days later.
Avonne Taylor was born in Ohio, also in February of 1899, to parents Clifford and Diana. Her birth name was Evangeline, but she joined the Follies under the name Avonne. (I’m not sure how she came up with it.)
Avonne was a Follies girl from 1920 to 1922, and the name Avonne debuted on the SSA’s list in 1923:
1928: 9 baby girls named Avonne
1927: 12 baby girls named Avonne
1926: 6 baby girls named Avonne
1925: 12 baby girls named Avonne
1924: 17 baby girls named Avonne
1923: 11 baby girls named Avonne [debut]
Though the name was in use before 1923, it was too rare to appear in the publicly available SSA data. Here’s SSDI data from the same time period, for comparison:
1928: 3 people named Avonne
1927: 6 people named Avonne
1926: 2 people named Avonne
1925: 9 people named Avonne
1924: 11 people named Avonne
1923: 13 people named Avonne
1922: 4 people named Avonne
1920: 1 person named Avonne
1919: 2 people named Avonne
(For the SSDI numbers, I only counted people who had Avonne as a first name, not as a middle.)
Avonne Taylor went on to appear in a couple of films — one in 1927, the other in 1931 — and then left the entertainment industry altogether, it seems. She died in 1992 at the age of 93.