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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rudolf

Number of Babies Named Rudolf

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Rudolf

The Last Intellectual to Latinize His Name?

Rudolf Clausius, originally Rudolf GottliebGerman physicist and mathematician Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888) was one of the founders of the science of thermodynamics.

Another interesting thing about Rudolf Clausius? He was born Rudolf Gottlieb.

I couldn’t find a concrete explanation for the name change, but I did find this in a college physics book: “Born with the name Rudolf Gottlieb, he adopted the classical name of Clausius, which was a popular thing to do in his time.”

(Clausius is based on the Latin clausus, meaning “closed, shut off.” Some sources say Clausius is an alternate name for Janus, the Ancient Roman god of beginnings and endings.)

Yes, many historical European scholars/artists did adopt Latinized names. Astronomer Tycho Brahe was born Tyge Ottesen Brahe. Artist Jheronimus (Hieronymus) Bosch was born Jeroen van Aken. Violin maker Antonius Stradivarius was born Antonio Stradivari. Map maker Gerardus Mercator was born Gerard de Cremer.

But these folks lived during the 1400s, 1500s and 1600s. It was trendy for Renaissance thinkers, who embraced Classical philosophies and attitudes, to Latinize their names. (Wikipedia has a long list of Latinized names coined during the Renaissance if you want more examples.)

Rudolf Clausius, on the other hand, lived during the 1800s. I can’t think of any other public figure who adopted a Latinized name as late as the mid-19th century.

Was Rudolf Clausius the last European intellectual to Latinize his name? Or do other outliers exist?

(At first I thought Carl Linnæus (1707-1778) might fit the bill, but his surname was the legitimate family name, coined by his father Nils before Carl was born. It’s based on the Småland dialect word “linn,” meaning “linden tree,” in reference to a stately linden tree on the family property.)


Stalin’s Daughter Influences U.S. Baby Names

Svetlana and Stalin
Svetlana and Stalin
The Russian name Svetlana, which is derived from the Slavic word svet, meaning “light,” debuted on the U.S. baby name list in 1967:

  • 1970: 8 baby girls named Svetlana
  • 1969: unlisted
  • 1968: 11 baby girls named Svetlana
  • 1967: 10 baby girls named Svetlana [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted

This was the year that Josef Stalin’s only daughter, Svetlana, defected to the United States.

Her defection from the Soviet Union, which attracted worldwide attention, was the most high-profile since Rudolf Nureyev’s defection in 1961.

Weirdly, her name also led her to a marriage several years later:

The widow of Frank Lloyd Wright, the great architect, invited Svetlana to stay with her. She herself had had a daughter Svetlana, killed in a car crash. She felt a mystical connection to this new and famous Svetlana. Her own Svetlana had been married to Wesley Peters, the architect’s senior apprentice. Mrs. Wright wanted the new Svetlana to meet Peters and like him. She did. They were married in three weeks.

The marriage only lasted 20 months, though.

What do you think of the name Svetlana?

Source: Stalin’s Daughter, Her Own Woman

Update, 8/9/16: Though I don’t have data to back it up, TIME says “thousands” of babies in Russia were named after Svetlana:

Svetlana Stalina, the daughter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, was born on February 28, 1926. Though brutal to the Russian public, Stalin was said to fawn over his daughter; she became a celebrity on the order of Shirley Temple in Russia, with thousands of babies named in her honor.

Source: Stalin’s Daughter Lana Peters – Time