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, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Stanford.
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“Everly” is hot…”Beverly” is not. It’s a one-letter difference between fashionable and fusty.
If you’re sensitive to style, you’ll prefer Everly. It fits with today’s trends far better than Beverly does.
But if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about style, or prefers to go against style, then you may not automatically go for Everly. In fact, you may be more attracted to Beverly because it’s the choice that most modern parents would avoid.
If you’ve ever thought about intentionally giving your baby a dated name (like Debbie, Grover, Marcia, or Vernon) for the sake of uniqueness within his/her peer group — if you have no problem sacrificing style for distinctiveness — then this list is for you.
Years ago, the concept of “contrarian” baby names came up in the comments of a post about Lois. Ever since then, creating a collection of uncool/contrarian baby names has been on my to-do list.
Finally, last month, I experimented with various formulas for pulling unstylish baby names out of the SSA dataset. Keeping the great-grandparent rule in mind, I aimed for names that would have been fashionable among the grandparents of today’s babies. The names below are the best results I got.
In late 1906, Delmas was hired to defend millionaire Harry K. Thaw in a highly publicized murder trial. Thaw, a wealthy playboy, was accused of murdering architect Stanford White in Madison Square Garden (which White had designed, ironically). White was an ex-lover of Thaw’s wife, chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit.
It was the very first trial to be dubbed “the trial of the century” by the press.
Here’s how the New York Times described Delphin Delmas in early 1907:
Delphin Michael Delmas, the “Napoleon of the California Bar,” was brought into the limelight of metropolitan life for the first time last week, when he assumed active charge of the defense of Harry K. Thaw. Everything seemed to be against him. […] Seldom is a lawyer put to such a supreme test under adverse circumstances. The result was entirely to his credit. The externals of the man–his appearance, courtly speech, and little mannerisms–left a final impression of a strong, though somewhat elusive, personality.”
Source: “Delmas, Legal Napoleon of San Francisco.” New York Times 10 Feb. 1907.
In early 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Babcock of Kalamazoo, Michigan, couldn’t agree on a baby name.
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.)
At the christening, after a “whispered conversation between the parents and clergyman,” Mr. Babcock acquiesced. Afterwords, the minister said that “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.”
Mr. and Mrs. Babcock weren’t the only parents influenced by Evelyn Nesbit in 1907:
1909: 3,157 baby girls named Evelyn, ranked 18th
1908: 2,857 baby girls named Evelyn, ranked 20th
1907: 3,035 baby girls named Evelyn, ranked 18th
1906: 2,077 baby girls named Evelyn, ranked 32nd
1905: 1,661 baby girls named Evelyn, ranked 46th
The name Evelyn was already increasing in popularity at the time, but the murder and subsequent trial (January to April, 1907) gave it an extra boost in ’07.
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?