How popular is the baby name Depression in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Depression and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Depression.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Depression

Number of Babies Named Depression

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Depression

Babies of Silverites Named “Silver” in 1896

free silver
“Silver Lunatics”

The baby name Silver is now a regular on the SSA’s annual baby name list. But it wasn’t quite as common back in the 1890s when it suddenly debuted with an impressive 10 baby boys:

  • 1898: unlisted
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: 10 baby boys named Silver [debut]
  • 1895: unlisted
  • 1894: unlisted

If we look at SSDI data we see a similar spike in the number of people named Silver in 1896:

  • 1898: 8 people named Silver
  • 1897: 6 people named Silver
  • 1896: 18 people named Silver
  • 1895: 6 people named Silver
  • 1894: 8 people named Silver

Can you guess the cause?

I’ll give you two hints. First, look what happens to the name Bryan that year:

  • 1898: 57 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1897: 97 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1896: 157 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1895: 27 baby boys named Bryan
  • 1894: 9 baby boys named Bryan

Now check out how the name Jennings peaks a year later:

  • 1898: 28 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1897: 50 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1896: 40 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1895: 9 baby boys named Jennings
  • 1894: 5 baby boys named Jennings

No doubt you’ve pieced it together: 1896 was the year William Jennings Bryan ran for president, and the central issue for Democrats that year was Free Silver.

The U.S. was in the middle of a depression, and Free Silver supporters (the “Silverites”) thought the depression could be alleviated via the coinage of silver.

“For true believers,” the Encyclopedia Britannica states, “silver became the symbol of economic justice for the mass of the American people.”

And those “true believers” were very likely the ones naming their kids Silver back in 1896.

But Bryan’s opponent, William McKinley, was able to convince voters that Free Silver was a bad thing — that the resultant inflation would harm the economy — and won the election.

What do you think of the baby name Silver?

Sources: William Jennings Bryan – Wikipedia, Free Silver – Wikipedia, Free Silver Movement | United States history | Britannica.com
Image: A down-hill movement – LOC

P.S. Want to see other money-inspired monikers? Try Legal Tender, Depression, Cash Money, Rose Mary Echo Silver Dollar, Millionaire, Billionaire, Trillionaire, Free Silver, Gold Standard.


Mystery Monday: The Baby Name Treasure

The baby name Treasure debuted on the charts in 1935:

  • 1938: 7 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1937: 6 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1936: 18 baby girls named Treasure
  • 1935: 16 baby girls named Treasure [debut]
  • 1934: unlisted

Treasure was the top debut name that year, in fact.

And yet, because Treasure (like Memory) is also a vocabulary word, figuring out where it must have been used as a girl name circa 1935 is tricky.

There are a lot of possibilities in the 1930s, actually — movies, literature, radio, comic strips, etc.

Any thoughts on this one?

(I also idly wonder whether a baby name alluding the riches wouldn’t have been especially appealing during the era of the Depression. Hm.)

The Baby Name Velveeta

the baby name velveeta

We may not be able to stop the Cheesepocalypse, but while we’re waiting it out, we can talk about how Velveeta isn’t just a product name — it’s also a baby name! The name Velveeta first appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in the 1950s:

  • 1971: 8 baby girls named Velveeta
  • […]
  • 1966: 5 baby girls named Velveeta
  • […]
  • 1959: 6 baby girls named Velveeta
  • 1958: 5 baby girls named Velveeta
  • 1957: 7 baby girls named Velveeta [debut]

These numbers don’t give the full picture, though. Usage of the name (and of the product itself) was highest in the middle of the century, but I’ve found people named Velveeta born as early as the 1930s and as late as the 1980s.

So where does the word “Velveeta” come from?

The product was invented in the late 1910s by Swiss-born cheesemaker Emil Frey. The Kraft-Phenix company (later just Kraft) ended up acquiring the processed cheese spread and naming it “Velveeta” for its velvety consistency.

Velveeta was introduced nationally in the late 1920s, right around the start of the Great Depression. Here’s a Velveeta ad from 1929 telling people about the “delicious new cheese product.”

What do you think of the name Velveeta?

Do you know anyone with the name? How do they like it?

(Other food product baby names I’ve blogged about so far include Calizza, Dijonnaise and Oleomargarine. And, while we’re talking Velveeta, we can’t forget to mention Cheesette.)

Sources: A Cheesy Meltdown: Kraft Warns Of Velveeta Shortage, And it was all yellow
Image: the beast by stumptownpanda

Did You Know About the Babies Named Depression?

In the U.S., the Great Depression started in 1929 and lasted through most of the 1930s.

What was it like to live during the Depression?

Massive unemployment had a profound social and emotional impact upon American workers and their families. […] The great population movement of the thirties was transiency the worker adrift in a sea of unemployment. People, especially the young, girls as well as boys, took to the road because they could no longer bear to stay home. In the middle of the decade when the dust blew in the Great Plains, wiping out their farms, whole families of Okies, Arkies, and Mizoos migrated west, especially to California. The migrants often made their way to the junk-pile Hoovervilles with their Prosperity Roads, Hard Times Avenues, and Easy Streets. The destitute often lost their homes or farms because they were unable to make payments on mortgages.

depressionOne fascinating fact I discovered not long ago is that a small number of babies born during the Great Depression were actually named Depression.

At least three of these babies made the news:

  • In the New York Times: Norma Depression Jacobs, a baby girl born to Joseph and Sally Jacobs of New York in early 1932.
  • In the Reading Eagle: Viola Depression Davis, a baby girl born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1932.
  • In the New York Times: Franklin Depression Pasquale, a baby boy born in New York in 1933. (Franklin was for President Roosevelt, whose presidency began in March of 1933 — “the worst month for joblessness in the history of the United States.”)

And here are more baby Depressions I tracked down using other sources:

  • Robert Depression Cann, born in Oklahoma on October 22, 1931.
  • Joyce Depression Bradford, born in Texas on December 5, 1931.
  • Robert Depression Arnold, born in California on February 2, 1932.
  • Helen Depression Carr, born in Indiana on February 29, 1932.
  • Hoover Depression Norman, born in Texas on June 14, 1932. (Hoover was in office from 1929 to 1933.)
  • Depression Heaton, born Ohio on June 24, 1932. (Born and died the same day, sadly.)
  • William Depression Ellerby, born in North Carolina on August 5, 1932.
  • Depression Brockington, born on October 21, 1932.
  • Depression Ivy, born in Texas on May 28, 1934.
  • Percy Depression Giles, born in West Virginia circa 1934.
  • Depression Austin, born in North Carolina circa 1934.
  • Depression Red, born in Georgia circa 1934. (The sister born right after her was named “Beauty.” Quite the disparity.)
  • Depression Bennett, born in Alabama on February 10, 1938.

I also found two baby Depressions born in the 1870s, during an earlier period of economic recession now called the Long Depression.

Sources:

  • “Baby Will Know of Depression; In Fact, It’s Her Middle Name.” New York Times 19 Jan. 1932.
  • Bernstein, Irving. “Americans in Depression and War.” The U.S. Department of Labor Bicentennial History of The American Worker, Ed. Richard B. Morris. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976.
  • “Child, Named for President, Called Franklin Depression.” New York Times 3 May 1933.
  • “Parents Name Baby Viola Depression.” Reading Eagle 26 Oct. 1932: 9.

[Check out these other names from the early-to-mid 1930s: Edwarda, Joretta, Karina, Nira, Norita, Normandie, Rockne, Sharlie]