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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Legal

Number of Babies Named Legal

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Legal

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 |
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.

Unusual Noun-Names

In 1971, the editors of American Heritage asked readers to tell them about people who were “named after places, institutions, and events.” They offered examples like Wilmot Proviso Ragsdale, Legal Tender Coxey, Monongahela de Beaujeau and Illinois Central Wilson.

In 1972, the best of the submitted names were published. Here’s most of that list (with a few extra details):

Boston Raspberry, born circa 1900. While playing in a sandlot baseball game in Florida, he “clubbed the opposing shortstop to death with a bat after an argument over a called third strike.” He was sentenced to life in prison, but was later pardoned by Gov. Millard Fillmore Caldwell, “who said that anybody with a name like Boston Raspberry should have a full pardon.”

Budweiser Hawkins and Falstaff Hawkins. Brothers from Arkansas. Budweiser Hawkins upheld the tradition by naming his children Budweiser Jr., Falstaff, Virginia Dare (wine), Ron Rico (rum), Jose Cuervo (tequila), and Courvoisier (cognac). Bud Jr. is now Dr. Budweiser, and he has a website/blog called Weiser Living.

Carbon Petroleum Dubbs, 1881-1962. Named “Carbon P” at birth by his father, oil magnate Jesse Dubbs. He extended his middle name (the letter P) to “Petroleum” as an adult.

Easter Lily Gates, born on Easter Sunday (April 21) in 1889. She was the Supervisor of Elections in Broward County, FL, from 1929 to 1969. “Hats were her trademark.”

Eiffel Tower Sutherland, born circa 1894. On 10 Oct 1952, the Miami News mentioned her in this one-sentence story: “Danville, Ind. — When Betty Jean Weesney, home from a recent European trip, brought back a souvenir replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it was the logical gift for just one friend–Eiffel Tower Sutherland.”

Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown, 1876-1948. Major League Baseball pitcher from Indiana. Born the year of the centennial. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.

States Rights Gist, 1831-1864, and States Rights Jones, Jr., 1920-2002. The first was a Confederate brigadier general from South Carolina. His father, Nathaniel, was a fan of John C. Calhoun’s nullification politics (i.e. he thought states should have the right to nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional). The second was a USMC Colonel from Mississippi.

Through Trial And Tribulation We Enter Into The Kingdom Of Heaven Lindloff, 1881-1947. Known as “Trib.” Son of German immigrants.