Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
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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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):
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:
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.
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.
All 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? ;)
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
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
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
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 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.”
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?