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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dewey

Number of Babies Named Dewey

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Dewey

The Trendiest Baby Names of All Time?

I’m no stats whiz, but Nathan Yau of FlowingData and David Taylor of Prooffreader are, and each has taken a stab at determining/ranking the trendiest baby names of all time in the U.S.

The FlowingData list of trendiest baby names was published last year. Nathan analyzed girl names and boy names separately. Here are his top 5 for each gender:

Trendiest Girl Names Trendiest Boy Names
1. Catina
2. Deneen
3. Aaliyah
4. Allisson
5. Katina
1. Jalen
2. Tevin
3. Elian
4. Demond
5. Mcarthur

The Prooffreader list of trendiest baby names was published earlier this month. David analyzed all the names together (his overall top 100 was 80% girl names, 20% boy names). Here are his top 5 for each gender (with placement on the original list in parentheses):

Trendiest Girl Names Trendiest Boy Names
1. Linda (#1)
2. Brittany (#3)
3. Debra (#4)
4. Shirley (#5)
5. Ashley (#6)
1. Dewey (#2)
2. Jason (#11)
3. Grover (#15)
4. Mark (#20)
5. Woodrow (#30)

Click through and check out their full lists. Then come back and tell me which list/methodology you prefer, and why.

Interesting Baby Name Analysis

I only recently noticed that Behind the Name, one of my favorite websites for baby name definitions, has a page called United States Popularity Analysis — a “computer-created analysis of the United States top 1000 names for the period 1880 to 2012.”

The page has some interesting top ten lists. Here are three of them:

Most Volatile

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Elvis
2. Brooks
3. Santiago
4. Lincoln
5. Ernie
6. Wyatt
7. Quincy
8. Rogers
9. Alec
10. Dexter
1. Juliet
2. Lea
3. Justine
4. Martina
5. Felicia
6. Delilah
7. Selina
8. Lonnie
9. Magdalena
10. Katy

Biggest Recoveries

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Silas
2. Isaiah
3. Caleb
4. Emmett
5. Jordan
6. Josiah
7. Harrison
8. Ezra
9. Jason
10. Jesus
1. Ella
2. Stella
3. Sadie
4. Sophie
5. Isabella
6. Lily
7. Hannah
8. Isabelle
9. Sophia
10. Lilly

Biggest Flash-in-the-Pans

Boy Names Girl Names
1. Dewey
2. Woodrow
3. Dale
4. Barry
5. Rick
6. Greg
7. Roosevelt
8. Shannon
9. Kim
10. Darrin
1. Debra
2. Lori
3. Tammy
4. Pamela
5. Tracy
6. Cheryl
7. Beverly
8. Dawn
9. Diane
10. Kathy

I wonder what the formulas were. I’d love to try the same analysis on the SSA’s full list, using raw numbers instead of rankings. Wonder how much overlap there’d be…

Random Road Trip Names – Uneeda, Askew, Bovina

Last week we went on a road trip, mainly to Minnesota and Missouri. Here are some names I spotted while we were out and about:

Ole & Lena

At the Mall of America, I noticed a display of “Ole and Lena” branded items — joke books, mugs, jams, jellies, even fortune cookies. Apparently the characters Ole and Lena are well-known in the Upper Midwest, where there are a number of Scandinavian-Americans.

Ole is a short form of Olaf.

Lena is short form of Helena, Magdalena, and other names that end with -lena.


In Kansas City, we toured the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank.

Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City
Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City

We saw the huge cash vault, and the three robots that carry large containers of cash into and out of storage.

I noticed that robot #2 was named Dewey. That made me think of George Dewey, so I told my husband, “I bet all three names have some sort of military connection. Maybe they’re all named after naval commanders, or war heroes.”

And then we saw car #1, Huey. Then car #3, Louie.

He laughed at me.

Not war heroes. Just Disney. Figures.


Also at the money museum, we watched a short movie about how Kansas City fought to be chosen as one of the nation’s Federal Reserve cities back in early 1914.

The movie featured a lot of old black-and-white photographs, one of which was a building with “Uneeda Biscuit 5¢” painted on the side.

That reminded me about the baby name Uneeda:

  • 1968: 5 baby girls named Uneeda
  • 1962: 5 baby girls named Uneeda
  • 1961: 7 baby girls named Uneeda
  • 1931: 9 baby girls named Uneeda
  • 1929: 5 baby girls named Uneeda [debut]

In fact, the popular Uneeda Biscuit was probably the very thing that inspired parents of the ’20s and ’30s to try out Uneeda as a first name.

The biscuit was a product of the National Biscuit Company, later shortened to “Nabisco.”

I’m thinking the ’60s usage was more likely inspired by the Uneeda Doll Company.


Of course, since we were in KC, we had to go and test out Google Fiber at the Google Fiber Space.

While we were there, I noticed a big map of the city on the wall. And that’s where I spotted Askew Avenue:

Askew Avenue, Kansas City
Askew Avenue, Kansas City

It goes on for blocks and blocks, perfectly straight, never veering east or west. Not askew at all! I found that funny.

Have babies ever been named Askew? Yes, hundreds. A few examples:

  • Askew Mathew, born in 1611 in Hertfordshire, England
  • Askew Beards Burbidge, born in 1751 in Warwickshire, England
  • Askew Peacock, born in 1888 in Alabama
  • Askew Kenneth Edward Taylor Askew, born in 1996 in Texas

Askew beards! What a visual.

I’m sure that in most (if not all) cases, the first name Aksew was inspired by the surname Askew, which referred originally to the village of Aiskew in North Yorkshire, England.


We’ve taken I-80 a bunch of times, but never I-70, so the town names on this trip were all new to me.

One of the names I noticed was Bovina, which is a town in eastern Colorado. The name was surely inspired by the word “bovine.”

The states of Mississippi, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin also have places called Bovina.

And dozens of U.S. babies have been named Bovina, believe it or not. Some examples:

  • Bovina Lemming, born in 1846 in Indiana
  • Bovina Wheeler, born in 1878 in Vermont
  • Bovina Parmer, born in 1910 in Texas

…And that’s most of the names I spotted. There are a few others (e.g. Cabela) but I’ll give them their own posts.

P.S. Check out the names I spotted on last year’s road trip.

Klondike, the Gold Rush Baby Name

Klondikers, 1898 - Klondike Gold RushAll this recent interest in mining Bitcoin is making me think of a gold rush.

And that reminds me…I have yet to talk about the many dozens of babies named after the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899).

Here are some examples of people named Klondike:

  • Klondike Counsell, born in Utah in May, 1897
  • Klondike Winters, born in Michigan in May, 1897
  • Harry Klondike Hayes, born in Washington in June, 1897
  • Klondyke Alaska Slaughter, born in Kentucky in July, 1897
  • Klondike McKinley Smith born in Oregon in August, 1897
  • Klondike A. Bogardeus, born in Ohio in August, 1897
  • Harold Klondike Hathaway, born in Massachusetts in August, 1897
  • Klondike P. Flint, born in Ohio in September, 1897
  • Klondike DeMoss Tucker, born in Indiana in September, 1897
  • Klondike Goldy Kelly, born in Ohio in October, 1897
  • Goldy Klondike Fletcher, born in Nebraska in December, 1897
  • Pearl Klondike Lincoln, born in Pennsylvania in December, 1897
  • Kittie Klondike Hughes, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondyke Dodd, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Klondike D. Ator, born in Texas in January, 1898
  • Loren Klondike Philleo, born in Washington in January, 1898
  • Dewey Klondike Livingston, born in Oklahoma in February, 1898
  • Klondyke Kirkendall, born in West Virginia in March, 1898
  • Vannie Klondyke Smith, born in West Virginia in June, 1898
  • Earl Klondike Kinahan, born in Illinois in June, 1898
  • Joseph Klondike Dawson, born in Tennessee in September, 1898
  • Roy Klondike Temple, born in Oregon in September, 1898
  • John Klondike Griffith, born in Massachusetts in October, 1898
  • Klondike Dewey Sengelmann, born in Texas in December, 1898

Some of the above take the Klondike theme even further with names like “Goldy” and “Alaska.” Others commemorate war hero Commodore George Dewey or 25th U.S. President William McKinley.

The baby name Klondike has never appeared on any SSA list, but I think it could (should?) have in 1897 and 1898, if a complete set of data had been collected those years.

Where does the word Klondike come from? The Klondike River was originally called Tr’ondëk in the Hän language. Tr’ondëk means “hammerstone water,” as the people who originally inhabited the area would “hammer stakes into the riverbed and weave branches between them to create weirs that guided fish into carefully set basket traps.”

So…think we’ll be seeing any babies named Bitcoin soon? ;)

Sources: Bitcoin Is No Longer a Currency, Dawson City Museum South Gallery

The Demise of the Baby Name Hillary

Hilary Parker’s recent post on the 14 most “poisoned” baby names reminded me that I haven’t yet written about the demise of the baby name Hillary. (Or Hilary. Or Chelsea.)

So let’s travel back to 1992 for a minute.

In mid-July, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency. His wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea were now in the national spotlight.

In early November, Bill managed to beat Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush to become the 42nd president of the United States. Hillary and Chelsea would now stay in the national spotlight.

And in late November, a few weeks after the election, the Miami Herald printed this:

Now that the Clinton women are set to move into the White House, both names are becoming more popular among new parents.

For the first time, Chelsea has cracked the top 10 list of the most popular girl names in Florida. Name expert Leonard R. N. Ashley, a Brooklyn College professor, said he expects Hillary to also catch on.


The popularity of Chelsea, on the rise long before the presidential pre-teen made her Democratic convention appearance, is likely to get a boost from the first family pedigree, Ashley said.

The “name expert” got it wrong, of course.

Hillary did not catch on. Nor did Chelsea. Both names had been on the rise, but usage dropped significantly after 1992.

Here are the spikes, both graphically and numerically:

The Baby Name Hillary

Baby Name Hillary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hillary
  • 1994: 408 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 566th]
  • 1993: 1,064 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 261st]
  • 1992: 2,522 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 132nd]
  • 1991: 1,789 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 166th]
  • 1990: 1,523 baby girls named Hillary [rank: 192nd]

That’s a 58% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hillary fell so low that it got pushed out of the top 1,000 entirely for two years (2002 and 2003).

The Baby Name Hilary

Baby Name Hilary - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Hilary
  • 1994: 145 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 1,208th]
  • 1993: 343 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 651st]
  • 1992: 1,171 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 233rd]
  • 1991: 1,148 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 243rd]
  • 1990: 1,216 baby girls named Hilary [rank: 232nd]

A 71% drop from 1992 to 1993. Hilary was out of the top 1,000 by 1994 and hasn’t been back since. (Hilary Parker says the name Hilary is “clearly the most poisoned.”)

The Baby Name Chelsea

Baby Name Chelsea - Drop in Popularity After 1992
The Baby Name Chelsea
  • 1994: 7,713 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 38th]
  • 1993: 11,288 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 25th]
  • 1992: 16,176 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 15th]
  • 1991: 13,508 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 18th]
  • 1990: 12,782 baby girls named Chelsea [rank: 24th]

The drop here isn’t as dramatic — just 30% — but Chelsea was out of the top 100 by 1999. It currently ranks 222nd.


Why did the name Hillary slip after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in the White House?

Because she violated gender norms — that’s my guess.

Hillary Clinton, 1992

Hillary Clinton was a new kind of First Lady. She was a lawyer, a businesswoman, a scholar and an activist. She was the first First Lady with an earned (vs. honorary) post-graduate degree, and the first to have her own professional career.

But, instead of being praised for her intelligence and ambition, she was criticized for it.

Just two months after the inauguration, Anna Quindlen of the New York Times made note of the double standard:

Maybe some of our daughters took notice of how Hillary Clinton was seen as abrasive, power-hungry and unfeminine when to some of us she seemed merely smart, outspoken and hard-working. Maybe they saw the masquerade and recognized intuitively the age-old message about how much more attractive women are when they are domestic, soft, contented, the message aimed over the years at Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and many, many others.

To expectant parents, it didn’t matter that Hillary Clinton was smart and successful. They began avoiding the name Hillary in 1993 because the First Lady — the most high-profile Hillary in the nation — was making her name seem “unfeminine.”

Do you agree? Disagree?

P.S. What are the 13 other “poisoned” names? The 9 to drop since the 1960s are Ashanti, Catina, Deneen, Farrah, Iesha, Infant, Katina, Khadijah and Renata. The other four — Celestine, Clementine, Dewey and Minna — are from the 1800s, a time when SSA data wasn’t too reliable.


The Baby Names Douglas, MacArthur & McArthur

Douglas MacArthurDouglas MacArthur was the popular U.S. Army General who received the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his service in the Philippines Campaign.

How many babies were named in honor of Douglas MacArthur in 1942?

Quite a few.

The number of babies named Douglas nearly tripled that year:

  • 1944: 6,996 baby boys named Douglas [34th]
  • 1943: 8,231 [28th]
  • 1942: 11,234 [23rd]
  • 1941: 4,149 [53rd]
  • 1940: 3,729 [rank: 56th]

And the number of babies named MacArthur (or some variant thereof) also swelled:

Name 1940 1941 1942 [rank] 1943 [rank] 1944 [rank]
Mcarthur 9 14 289 [357th] 173 [471st] 134 [528th]
Macarthur 5 141 [518th] 60 [864th] 38
Mcarther 23 13
Macarther 10

Variant “McArther” was the top debut name for baby boys in 1942.

And isn’t it strange how “McArthur” became more popular than “MacArthur”? Perhaps newspapers of the day had trouble spelling the surname correctly.

Speaking of newspapers, several of them made note of the sudden trendiness of “Douglas MacArthur” as a baby name. A Boston Globe headline from March 25, 1942, said: “Douglas MacArthur Wong Among 15 Babies Named for Hero Here.” A similar New York Times headline from April 9 stated: “MacArthur Wins Another Reward of Fame: 7, Maybe 13, Babies Here Are Named for Him.”

Finally, a few MacArthur-related asides:

  • Did you know that a string of men in Douglas MacArthur’s family had the double name Arthur MacArthur?
  • MacArthur was the one in charge of clearing the Bonus Expeditionary Force out of Washington, DC, back in 1932.
  • Another U.S. military man whose name became a trendy after a battle in the Philippines was George Dewey.

Newspaper Baby Name – Jackson Daily

Often I blog about baby names I spot in old newspapers. This one is no different, except it’s the first newspaper-inspired newspaper baby name that I’ve seen.

The parents are Dewey and Janet English, who met while working for the Jackson Daily News in Jackson, Mississippi. They had a son around 1990 and named him Jackson Daily “Jack” English.

The Jackson Daily News no longer exists, but Dewey is still in the newspaper business. He’s now the managing editor of the Press-Register in Mobile, Alabama.

Source: “One baby’s name tells a story of strength, caprice and the romance of a special kind of business.” Press-Telegram [Long Beach, CA] 6 Sep. 1990.