How popular is the baby name Stanford in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Stanford and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Stanford.
In early 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Babcock of Kalamazoo, Michigan, couldn’t agree on a baby name. Their story made the New York Times. (Slow news day?)
Mrs. Babcock wanted the baby girl to be called Evelyn Nesbit Babcock after chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit. Why? Because Nesbit’s stepfather’s surname, Holman, also happened to be Mrs. Babcock’s maiden name.
Mr. Babcock objected, noting “the child might be unlucky.” (Nesbit’s husband Harry Kendall Thaw had murdered her ex-lover, Stanford White, in a jealous rage in mid-1906.)
Here’s what happened at the christening:
A whispered conversation between the parents and clergyman apparently won the father’s permission to name the child after the former chorus singer. The minister spoke briefly. He said he trusted the child would make a better record than her namesake, although, he added, the wife of Stanford White’s slayer was a creature of circumstance.
The Babcocks weren’t the only parents influenced by Evelyn Nesbit in 1907:
- 1905 – ranked 46th (1,661 baby girls, or 0.5360%)
- 1906 – ranked 32nd (2,077 baby girls, or 0.6627%)
- 1907 – ranked 18th (3,035 baby girls, or 0.8995%)
- 1908 – ranked 20th (2,857 baby girls, or 0.8060%)
- 1909 – ranked 18th (3,157 baby girls, or 0.8578%)
The name Evelyn was already increasing in popularity at the time, but the murder and subsequent trial (January-April, 1907) gave it an extra boost in ’07.
Source: “Baby Named Evelyn Nesbit.” New York Times 18 Feb. 1907: 18.
Are there any boy names out there that aren’t at risk of becoming girl names?
This may not be the answer you want to hear, but: nope. There’s simply no way to guarantee that a boy name won’t suddenly become trendy for girls. (A movie mermaid was all it took for the name Madison — a name with the word “son” right in there — to become a girl name.)
No boy names are girl-proof, but some are certainly girl-resistant. Which ones? Here are five types I’ve come up with:
1. Boy names with unstylish elements, such as “bert” and “stan.” If a boy name isn’t fashionable enough to be popular for boys, it shouldn’t be too tempting to use for girls either.
2. Boy names with few vowels. They tend to sound more masculine than other names.
3. Boy names with length. Most of today’s popular unisex names stop at two syllables.
4. Boy names with hard endings, such as D, K and T. Many of the boy names being used by girls end with softer consonants like L, N and R.
5. Boy names with well-known feminine forms. If there’s a readily available girl-version, doesn’t it seem silly to use the masculine form for a female?
As I mentioned, there’s never a guarantee. (A female Scrubs character is named Elliot — will that be the next to go? How about Blake, thanks to Blake Lively?) But I think boy names that fit into the above categories are relatively safe bets.
Are there any other types of names you’d add to the list?