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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Dwight

Number of Babies Named Dwight

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Dwight

Gamal & Nasser: Suez Crisis Baby Names?

gamal nasser, dwight eisenhower, ike, 1960,
Dwight Eisenhower and Gamal Nasser, 1960

Egyptian politician Gamal Abdel Nasser became one of the primary leaders of Egypt following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.* He was elected president of the country on June 23, 1956.

A little more than a month after the election, on July 26, Nasser nationalized the 120-mile Suez Canal. Up to that point, the canal had been controlled jointly by Britain and France. Nasser did this in response to the U.S. and Britain withdrawing their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, which was part of Nasser’s plan to improve Egypt’s economy and thereby modernize the country.

In late October and early November, forces from Israel, France, and Great Britain invaded Egypt. But the aggression was opposed by much of the rest of the world, including both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the three invading countries were pressured to withdraw from Egypt over the following weeks and months.

So, Gamal Nasser emerged victorious from the Suez Crisis. (It was now “clear that the old colonial powers, Great Britain and France, had been supplanted as the world’s preeminent geopolitical forces by the United States and Soviet Union.”) And in 1957, both Gamal and Nasser saw enough usage as baby names to debut on the U.S. baby name charts:

Year Usage of Gamal Usage of Nasser
1959 13 baby boys 6 baby boys
1958 8 baby boys 7 baby boys
1957 9 baby boys [debut] 7 baby boys [debut]
1956 unlisted unlisted

Many of these early Gamals and Nassers were born in New York and Illinois — likely New York City and Chicago specifically — and could therefore be babies born into Egyptian-American families.

Sources: SSA, BBC – History – British History in depth: The Suez Crisis, What was the Suez Crisis? – Ask History

*The revolution overthrew King Farouk, whose first wife was Farida.


Baby Names from Pullman Cars?

pullman car, train,Years ago I posted about Livonia, a baby both born on and named after a Pullman car. Recently I wondered: What other Pullman car names would have made good baby names?

So I downloaded a big spreadsheet of over 12,000 Pullman car names from The Pullman Project and was slightly surprised to see that thousands of them could have been baby names, if we allow for the splitting of compound car names (like Fort Miley, Glen Norman, Meredith College, and West Willow).

Here are a handful of examples. On the left are relatively common/familiar names, and on the right are some unexpected choices.

Alana, Archer, Arnold Adriatha, Arundel, Arvonia
Baxter, Becket, Bradley Bantry, Bellonia, Besco
Calvin, Catalina, Clyde Cadesia, Clarnie, Clymer
Dana, Deborah, Dwight Darlow, Dathema, Dodona
Edith, Eileen, Elmo Edminster, Emalinda, Etherley
Finley, Flavia, Floyd Fithian, Flaxton, Florilla
Gary, Georgette, Grayson Gavarnie, Gilia, Gloxinia
Harper, Harriet, Hector Harista, Humela, Hythe
Iona, Isabella, Ivan Irvona, Isleta, Ixion
Jessica, Jordan, Julia Jacelia, Jathniel, Justitia
Kara, Keith, Kenneth Keinath, Kenia, Kittson
Laurel, Lewis, Linden Lauveta, Leolyn, Lysander
Madison, Marco, Maude Mardonia, Mayence, Morganza
Nicola, Noel, Nora Narinda, Nasby, Norlina
Olivia, Omar, Otis Oaklyn, Olanda, Oxus
Parker, Perry, Philippa Penlyn, Pipila, Pixley
Quincy Quarren
Rebecca, Riley, Ronald Rexis, Risley, Ruxton
Sarah, Scott, Susanne Salphrona, Sarver, Sibley
Thora, Tracy, Tyler Tascott, Tilden, Tisonia
Vanessa, Vernon, Victoria Varick, Vinora, Vivita
Wesley, Wilson, Wren Welby, Wescott, Wexford

Which of the names above do you like best?

Soviet Leader Influenced U.S. Baby Names in 1959

Nikita Khrushchev, 1959Nikita Khrushchev was the leader of the Soviet Union for over a decade during the early Cold War (from 1953 to 1964).

Between the time the U.S.S.R. launched Sputnik in 1957 and sent Yuri Gagarin on the first manned space flight in 1961, Khrushchev became first Soviet head of state to visit the U.S.

Upon the invitation of president Dwight Eisenhower, Khrushchev and his family flew to Washington, D.C., on September 15, 1959. They visited New York, California, Iowa, and Pennsylvania before flying back to Moscow on the 27th.

Though Khrushchev famously never made it to Disneyland, he did manage to make an impression upon expectant parents:

Year U.S. girls named Nikita U.S. boys named Nikita
1961 39 21
1960 56 25
1959 44 19 [debut]
1958 16 unlisted
1957 13 unlisted

The baby name Nikita had appeared on the U.S. charts as a girl name before, but in 1959 it showed up for the very first time as a boy name.*

These days the usage of Nikita is about equal for males and females — 93 baby girls and 92 baby boys got the name in 2015. But there was a spike in female usage in 1985, thanks to the song “Nikita” by Elton John. (American radio listeners similarly interpreted Luka as a girl name a couple of years later.)

The name Nikita can be traced back to the ancient Greek word for “victor,” niketes, which is based on the more familiar word nike, meaning “victory.”

And eight years after the name Nikita debuted, another Russian arrival, Svetlana Stalina, showed up and added yet another Soviet-inspired baby name to the mix…

Sources: Nikita Khrushchev – Wikipedia, Timeline: Nikita Khrushchev’s Trip Itinerary
Image: © TIME

*To debut on the SSA’s baby name list, a name has to be given to least 5 babies of one gender or the other within a single calendar year.

Mamie Eisenhower’s Middle Name

Mamie Eisenhower, wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, was born Mamie Geneva Doud in 1896 to John and Elivera Doud of Iowa. She was the second of four daughters.

Lovely Lake GenevaWhere did her middle name come from? Her mother was a fan of the popular song “Lovely Lake Geneva,” written by Charles B. Holmes and published in 1885.

Mamie’s older sister was named Eleanor. Her younger sisters were Eda Mae and Mabel Frances, but her father was “so disappointed that he had not yet had a son that he nicknamed his two younger daughters “Buster” and “Mike,” respectively.” They were known as Buster and Mike their entire lives.

Source: Eisenhower, Susan. Mrs. Ike: Portrait of a Marriage. Sterling, Virginia: Capital Books, 2002.

Eisenhower’s Mom Tried to Avoid Nicknames

Dwight D EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower’s mom didn’t like nicknames.

The future president, who was born in 1890, was going to be named “David Dwight Eisenhower” — David for his father, Dwight for evangelist Dwight Lyman Moody — until Mrs. Eisenhower realized that David would inevitably be shortened to Dave.

It was the contraction of Edgar’s name to Ed and another brother’s name from Arthur to Art that inspired Mrs. Eisenhower to try to forestall the cognomen of Dave for the son who was to lead the Allied armies in the second world war.

So she reversed David and Dwight.

But it made no difference. Dwight’s boyhood friends started called him “Little Ike” (because his older brother Edgar was called “big Ike”) and Ike stuck.

(Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose tells a different story. He says Mrs. Eisenhower reversed the order of the names because she wanted to avoid the confusion of having two Davids in the family.)

Weirdly, I have three other posts about Eisenhower: Do You Like Ike, Were Babies Named After Sputnik, and Pakistani Baby Named After Eisenhower.

Sources:

  • “Mother of ‘Ike’ Shuns Nickname, Gets It Anyway.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune 15 Jun. 1945: 2.
  • Smith, Jean Edward. Eisenhower in War and Peace. New York: Random House, 2012.