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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Harriet

Number of Babies Named Harriet

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Harriet

Pop Culture Baby Name Game, 2016

pop culture baby name game, 2016

It’s December 2 — the doubly momentous day on which Britney Spears celebrates her birthday and on which we start another round of the annual Pop Culture Baby Name Game.

Which baby names will see significant movement on the charts in 2016 thanks to popular culture (TV, movies, music, sports, politics, products, current events, video games, etc.)? Below are some possibilities. Leave a comment with the names you’d add — and don’t forget to mention the pop culture influence.

  • Addison – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Adonis – movie Creed (suggested by Becca)
  • Ali – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Aroldis – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Auli’i – movie Moana
  • Bernie – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (suggested by elbowin)
  • Bison – new national mammal & Dakota Access pipeline protests
  • Boomer – son of Michael Phelps
  • Bowie – musician David Bowie
  • Canaan – son of Oprah Winfrey
  • Clark – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cohen – death of Leonard Cohen
  • Creed – movie Creed (suggested by Julie and Becca)
  • Cub – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cubby – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Cyrus – TV miniseries Roots
  • Dexter – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Doris – movie Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • Emayatzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • E’myri – TV miniseries Roots
  • Esperanto – number of speakers (suggested by elbowin)
  • Greyson – son of JWoww
  • Hamilton – musical Hamilton
  • Harriet – Harriet Tubman, chosen to appear on $20 bill
  • Hillary – presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  • Ingwen – Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan (suggested by elbowin)
  • Ivanka – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jikan – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Jonbenet – anniversary of the death of JonBenet Ramsey
  • Juno – NASA space probe
  • Jupiter – NASA space probe
  • Lorca – death of Leonard Cohen (suggested by elbowin)
  • Luna – daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Keanu – Key & Peele movie Keanu
  • Kizzy – TV miniseries Roots
  • Kunta – TV miniseries Roots
  • Lyanna – TV show Game of Thrones
  • Malachi – TV miniseries Roots
  • Melania – wife of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Maui – movie Moana
  • Moana – movie Moana
  • Monica – Puerto Rican Olympian Monica Puig (I’m curious about the rankings in Puerto Rico specifically; Monica fell out of the top 100 in PR after 2002.)
  • Mountain – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Mowgli – movie The Jungle Book
  • Muhammad – death of Muhammad Ali
  • Murray – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series
  • Ode – daughter of actress Jena Malone
  • Omran – Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh
  • Onyx – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Phiona – movie Queen of Katwe
  • Paisley – death of Prince
  • Prince – death of Prince (suggested by elbowin)
  • Queen – TV show Queen Sugar & movie Queen of Katwe
  • Regé-Jean – TV miniseries Roots
  • Rio – location of the 2016 Summer Olympics
  • Rykiel – death of Sonia Rykiel (suggested by elbowin)
  • Sanders – presidential candidate Bernie Sanders
  • Simone – gymnast Simone Biles & daughter of John Legend & Chrissy Teigen
  • Solace – daughter of Alanis Morissette
  • Sully – movie Sully
  • Teresa – canonization of Mother Teresa
  • Tiffany – daughter of president-elect Donald Trump (suggested by elbowin)
  • Trump – president-elect Donald Trump
  • Tulip – movie Storks
  • Valor – son of JWoww
  • Wilder – death of Gene Wilder (suggested by m4yb3_daijirou)
  • Wrigley – Chicago Cubs winning season
  • Zephyr – U.S. House of Rep. (NY) candidate Zephyr Teachout, who was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. (She was born in Washington state, where Zephyr is particularly popular.)
  • Zobrist – Chicago Cubs winning season/World Series

I’ll post the results next May, when the SSA releases the 2016 baby name data. If you don’t want to miss the results post, please subscribe!

Previous rounds of the Pop Culture Baby Name Game: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011: #1 & #2, 2010.


Baby Nearly Named After Police Officer

On July 30, 1946, Los Angeles police officer Harry Dowty helped a pregnant woman named Edith Runfola deliver a baby girl.

According to the LA Times, Edith “said she [would] name the baby Harriet in honor of Officer Dowty.”

But what do the records say? The California Birth Index shows that Edith’s daughter got the first name Josephine and middle name Katherine. No mention of “Harriet.”

Did Edith change her mind? Did her husband veto “Harriet”? We shall never know…

But we do know the names of Edith’s other children. The article listed the 10 born before Josephine and the California Birth Index revealed that at least two more came along after:

  • Florence
  • Pearl
  • Ruby
  • Willie
  • Hazel
  • Marie
  • Daniel
  • Grace
  • Edith
  • Kenneth
  • Josephine (and not Harriet)
  • Jack
  • Helena

Source: “Police Officer Assists at Birth of Baby Girl.” Los Angeles Times 31 Jul. 1946: A1.

6 Impressive People Named Harriet

The baby name Harriet is based on two Germanic elements, the first meaning “home,” the second meaning “ruler.”

Here are half a dozen impressive people named Harriet:

  1. Harriet B. Hawes (1871-1945), American archaeologist.
  2. Harriet Quimby (1875-1912), American aviator. First female pilot to fly across the English channel, in 1912.
  3. Harriet Quimby in 1911
    Harriet Quimby in 1911
  4. Harriet B. Rogers (1834-1919), American educator. Pioneer of the oral method of deaf education (oralism).
  5. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896), American writer. Wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), often cited as a cause of the American Civil War.
  6. Harriet W. R. Strong (1844-1926), American inventor and water conservationist.
  7. Harriet Tubman (c.1820-1913), African-American abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor. (Her birth name was Araminta Ross. She later renamed herself Harriet after her mother.)

And here’s a bonus Harriette:

  • Harriette Chick (1875-1977), British microbiologist and nutritionist. Confirmed that both cod-liver oil and sunlight could prevent/cure rickets.

Do you know of any other equally cool people named Harriet (or Harriette, or some other variant)?

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1866

providenceLast month we looked at the top Providence names of 1867, so today let’s check out the rankings from the year before — 1866.

First, some stats:

  • 1,633 babies were babies were born in Providence in 1866, by my count. (The number given by the author of the document is 1,632.)
  • 1,457 of these babies (707 girls and 750 boys) had names that were registered with the government at the time of publication. The other 176 babies got blank spaces.
  • 234 unique names (123 girl names and 108 boy names) were shared among these 1,457 babies.

And here’s some extra information I forgot to mention in the last post: In 1860, the city of Providence was home to 29.0% of Rhode Island’s population. In 1870, it was home to 31.7% of the population. So each of these 3 sets of rankings (1866, 1867, 1868) ought to account for roughly 30% of the residents of the state.

Now, on to the names…

Top 5

The top 5 girl names and boy names of 1866 were, unsurprisingly, very similar to the top names of 1867.

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. George
5. Thomas

The girls’ top 5 is identical, while the boys’ top 5 includes Thomas instead of George.

Girl Names

As expected, Mary was the front-runner by a huge margin. And, while there were dozens of Catherines, and a single Catharine, there weren’t any Katherines.

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 43
  3. Ellen, 40
  4. Margaret, 37
  5. Sarah, 36
  6. Elizabeth, 32
  7. Alice, 18
  8. Annie, 15
  9. Anna & Eliza, 14 each (2-way tie)
  10. Clara, 13
  11. Ann, 11
  12. Carrie, Emma, Jane & Susan, 10 each (4-way tie)
  13. Grace & Ida, 9 each (2-way tie)
  14. Esther, Martha & Minnie, 7 each (3-way tie)
  15. Anne & Julia, 6 each (2-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Charlotte, Cora, Harriet, Jennie, Joanna, Maria & Rosanna, 5 each (8-way tie)
  17. Amelia, Bridget, Ella, Frances, Hattie, Lydia, Nellie & Theresa, 4 each (8-way tie)
  18. Abby, Emily, Florence, Josephine, Laura, Lillian, Lizzie, Louise & Marion, 3 each (9-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amy, Augusta, Deborah, Edith, Etta, Eva, Fannie, Georgianna, Hannah, Henrietta, Honora, Isabel, Isabella, Lottie, Lucy, Mabel, Marietta, Maud & Teresa, 2 each (20-way tie)
  20. Almira, Annette, Bertha, Catharine, Cedelia, Celia, Christina, Delia, Diana, Dora, Dorcas, Eldora, Eleanor, Elsie, Emeline, Etherine, Eugenie, Evangeline, Fanny, Flora, Geneva, Georgia, Gracie, Helen, Helena, Imogene, Janette, Jessie, Kate, Lena, Louisa, Lucia, Lucinda, Madelina, Marian, Marsalin, May, Millie, Mina, Mini, Minna, Neatah, Nettie, Phebe, Rebecca, Rosa, Roselia, Rosetta, Ruth, Sophia, Stella, Susanna, Susannah, Tillie & Winnifred, 1 each (55-way tie)

Boy Names

John had an even more commanding lead in 1866 than in 1867.

  1. John, 109 baby boys
  2. William, 78
  3. James, 62
  4. George, 44
  5. Thomas, 41
  6. Charles, 36
  7. Edward, 28
  8. Joseph, 27
  9. Frederick, 20
  10. Henry, 18
  11. Frank, 17
  12. Michael, 15
  13. Francis, 14
  14. Daniel, 13
  15. Albert, Patrick & Robert, 12 each (3-way tie)
  16. Walter, 11
  17. Arthur, Peter & Samuel, 8 each (3-way tie)
  18. Alfred, Harry, Louis & Stephen, 7 each (4-way tie)
  19. Martin, 6
  20. Matthew, 5
  21. Christopher, Clarence, Herbert, Howard & Hugh, 4 each (5-way tie)
  22. Benjamin, Eugene, Ira & Jeremiah, 3 each (4-way tie)
  23. Aaron, Alvin, Arnold, Earl, Edgar, Elisha, Freddie, Harrison, Lewis, Marcus, Nicholas, Philip, Richard & Timothy, 2 each (14-way tie)
  24. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Alanson, Alden, Ambrose, Antonio, August, Augustavus*, Augustus, Bartholomew, Bernard, Bradford, Byron, Chauncey, Clinton, David, Duncan, Eben, Ebenezer, Edwin, Elias, Elliott, Ethan, Everett, Ezra, Ferdinand, Frederic, Fullerton, Gilbert, Gwynn, Harold, Herman, Isaac, Jesse, Josiah, Lauriston, Luther, Manuel, Marks, Maurice, Miles, Mortimer, Oliver, Olney, Oscar, Otto, Rana, Rectol, Salisbury, Shamball, Simon, Terence, Theodore, Victor, Willard, Willie & Wilton, 1 each (58-way tie)

(I didn’t combine any variant spellings, but I did lump the abbreviated names Chas., Benj., and Fred’k in with Charles, Benjamin and Frederick.)

*Does Augustavus = Augustus + Gustav, I wonder?

Twins

I counted 19 pairs of twins born in Providence in 1866. I didn’t notice any triplets this year. (All of these names have already been accounted for above.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g)
Edgar & Oscar
Edward & James
Francis & James
James & John
John & Thomas
(blank) & (blank)
Frederick & Alice
John & Alice
Samuel & Sarah
Stephen & Annie
(blank) & Catherine
Agnes & Anna
Eldora & Ellen
Eliza & Mary
Elizabeth & Julia
Frances & Mary
Josephine & Mary
Mary & Sarah
Theresa & (blank)

I’ll try to finish/post the final set of rankings before the end of the year.

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence During the Year 1866. Providence: Hammond, Angell & Co., 1867.

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1867

providence baby names 1867The 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…

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1867:

Top Baby Girl Names Top Baby Boy Names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Ellen
4. Margaret
5. Sarah
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

Girl Names

Notice how the #1 name, Mary, was bestowed three times as often as the #2 name, Catherine.

  1. Mary, 138 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 46
  3. Ellen, 37
  4. Margaret, 34
  5. Sarah, 31
  6. Annie, 19
  7. Elizabeth, 16
  8. Alice, 15
  9. Florence, 14
  10. Ann, Emma & Ida, 12 each (3-way tie)
  11. Minnie, 11
  12. Harriet & Julia, 9 each (2-way tie)
  13. Anna, Caroline, Carrie, Jennie, Joanna & Louisa, 8 each (6-way tie)
  14. Cora & Eliza, 7 each (2-way tie)
  15. Agnes, Clara, Edith, Rosanna & Theresa, 6 each (5-way tie)
  16. Bertha, Grace, Hannah, Hattie, Jane, Lillian, Maria, Martha, Nellie & Susan, 5 each (10-way tie)
  17. Eleanor, Fannie, Gertrude, Helen, Isabella, Lucy & Rosa, 4 each (7-way tie)
  18. Anne, Bridget, Ella, Emily, Esther, Eva, Lizzie, Mabel, Matilda & Ruth, 3 each (10-way tie)
  19. Ada, Amelia, Charlotte, Dora, Eleanora, Elvira, Henrietta, Jessie, Josephine, Kate, Louise, Lydia, Maggie & Rosella, 2 each (14-way tie)
  20. Abby, Addie, Adelaide, Adelia, Almina, Almira, Amanda, Amey, Amy, Anastasia, Angelie, Annis, Antoinette, Augusta, Aurelia, Bethiah, Cecelia, Celia, Clarissa, Clementina, Corielynn, Cornelia, Drusilla, Effie, Emeline, Estella, Ethelin, Fanny, Florentina, Frances, Gelie, Genevieve, Georgiana, Georgianna, Helena, Honora, Irene, Isabel, Issie, Juliann, Julietta, Katie, Laura, Leah, Leonora, Lillie, Lillis, Lily, Lottie, Luella, Margaretta, Margery, Margret, Marietta, Maude, May, Millie, Myra, Nelly, Phebe, Robie, Rosalthe, Rose, Selina, Sophia, Susanna, Susannah, Vienna, Viola, Vira, Virginia & Winifred, 1 each (72-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. John, 87 baby boys
  2. William, 75
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 50
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 40
  7. Joseph, 30
  8. Walter, 21
  9. Edward, 16
  10. Francis & Michael, 14 each (2-way tie)
  11. Patrick, 13
  12. Arthur & Robert, 12 each (2-way tie)
  13. Frank, Frederick & Henry, 11 each (3-way tie)
  14. Albert, 9
  15. Daniel & Peter, 8 each (2-way tie)
  16. David, Eugene, Howard & Samuel, 6 each (4-way tie)
  17. Alexander, Louis & Stephen, 5 each (3-way tie)
  18. Harry, Herbert, Hugh & Martin, 4 each (4-way tie)
  19. Carl, Edgar, Everett, Jeremiah & Willie, 3 each (5-way tie)
  20. Abraham, Alfred, Clarence, Cornelius, Dennis, Ernest, Ezra, Franklin, Freddie, Jacob, Jesse, Lewis, Luke, Nicholas, Philip, Sylvester, Theodore, Timothy, 2 each (18-way tie)
  21. Abner, Adam, Adolph, Amos, Andrew, Appleton, Archibald, Ashel, August, Benjamin, Benno, Bernard, Bertram, Burt, Byron, Clifford, Davis, Dexter, Dunlap, Edmund, Edwin, Elmer*, Embert, Forrest, Freddy, Gustav, Herman, Isaac, Jeffrey, Jerome, Josiah, Lucian, Malcolm, Matthew, Maurice, Milton, Nathan, Nehemiah, Nelson, Oren, Oscar, Otto, Owen, Paul, Ralph, Reginald, Richard, Sanford, Seth, Shirley, Sullivan, Terence, Theobald, Victor, Wanton, Warren, Weston, Wheelan, Wilford, 1 each (59-way tie)

*Elmer, who had the middle initial “E.,” was likely named after Civil War casualty Elmer E. Ellsworth.

Twins & Triplets

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.)

Twins (b/b) Twins (b/g) Twins (g/g) Triplets
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).

Sources:

Pet Names for Women – Inappropriate? Disrespectful?

Nine women graduated from Rutgers Female College in 1886, and three of these nine women went by the pet names Hattie, Bessie and Mamie (diminutives of Harriet, Elizabeth and Mary/Margaret) during the graduation ceremony.

A writer at the now-defunct NYC newspaper The Sun had a strong opinion about this:

“[I]t seems very incongruous, and it is very incongruous, to give scholastic degree to a young woman who is spoken of only as if she were a baby who had not yet mastered the pronunciation of some of the consonants, and who changed the construction of words to suit the limitations of her infantile vocal organs.”

Here’s more:

In the domestic circle such nursery names have sweet and tender associations, but they sound quite silly when they are read out at a college commencement as the serious appellations of young women who are deemed worthy of grave scholastic degrees. Suppose that when Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes was given an honorary degree in England, the other day, he had been described as Ollie Holmes or Noll Holmes.

These three young women allowed Dr. Samson and Dr. Burchard to address them before a large audience as if they were little girls in pinafores waiting for a present of a doll or of sweetmeats, instead of young ladies about to receive diplomas certifying that they had mastered studies within the ability of maturity only. They and their friends were not in the least indignant at the familiarity, but took it as altogether nice, pretty and proper.

Among the other recipients of degrees were two Marys and two Elizabeths, who were so called in their degrees, but Mamie and Bessie probably looked on them as the victims of the prejudices of old-fashioned and unreasonable parents. Yet we can never think of Mamie and Bessie and Hattie as dignified young women so long as they put those baby names on their cards.

The author didn’t strike me as being a feminist, but that’s how I saw his/her basic argument: women looking to be respected in the public sphere do themselves a disservice when they allow pet forms of their names to be used on serious/formal occasions.

And, back in that era — back when pet names typically were pet names (and not legal names) — I think I would have agreed. Because pet names would have denoted immaturity, familiarity, perhaps weakness — certainly not maturity, independence or power (traits that I imagine progressive women of the 19th century would have been aiming for).

These days the argument sounds a bit silly, though, as diminutives (e.g., Allie, Callie, Ellie, Sadie) are just as likely to be used as standalone legal names.

What’s your opinion?

Source: “Hattie, Bessie and Mamie.” Sun [New York] 12 Jun. 1886.

The Names Harriet and Duncan Are Illegal in Iceland

Iceland’s restrictive baby naming law is in the news again. Last year the problem was Blær, this year it’s Harriet.

Tristan Cardew (of Britain) and his wife Kristin (of Iceland) live in Iceland and have two children: Duncan, 12, and Harriet, 10. Duncan’s and Harriet’s Icelandic passports have always listed them as Drengur Cardew (Boy Cardew) and Stúlka Cardew (Girl Cardew) because Iceland doesn’t officially recognize their non-Icelandic names.

Not long ago, Tristan and Kristin tried to renew Harriet’s passport ahead of a vacation, but the National Registry in Reykjavik denied their request. They are appealing the decision. (In the meanwhile, they’ve gotten Harriet an emergency UK passport from the British embassy.)

The Cardews could get round Harriet’s problem by giving her an Icelandic middle name.

“But it’s a bit late for that, and way too silly,” said [Tristan] Cardew. “Are they saying they don’t want us here?”

I’m not sure how much support/criticism the name law gets from residents of Iceland, but Jón Gnarr, former mayor of Reykjavik, has called the law “unfair, stupid [and] against creativity.”

What other names has Iceland declared illegal? Here are links to all of the approved and rejected baby names in Iceland.

Source: Icelandic girls can’t be called Harriet, government tells family