How popular is the baby name Wendell in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Wendell and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Wendell.
Most of us are probably not familiar with the name “Wendell Willkie,” but a number of babies were named Wendell, Willkie, or both in the early 1940s.
They were named in honor of politician Wendell Lewis Willkie, the liberal Republican who ran against Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election.
“His rise to political prominence was meteoric. Willkie astonishingly outstripped early favorite Thomas Dewey for the Republican candidacy and pulled more than 22 million votes in his bid to unseat FDR.”
Willkie may have lost the race, but he gained a number of namesakes:
||595 babies [206th]
||1,625 babies [114th]
||1,093 babies [157th]
||846 babies [187th]
||61 babies [799th]
||45 babies [964th]
The baby name Willkie was the highest-debuting baby name of 1940, in fact.
Here are some Wendell Willkie namesakes that made the news:
- Wendell Willkie Wiener, born in late June, 1940, to Mr. and Mrs. Bernard B. Wiener of Washington. “Wiener said he had been a Democrat but had decided to “switch over to Mr. Willkie–not the Republican party, just Mr. Willkie.””
- Wendell Delano Barovich and Franklin Willkie Barovich, twins, born in mid-1940 to Mr. and Mrs. Vas Barovich of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. “Mrs. Barovich is a Republican and her husband a loyal Democrat. She insisted that the baby be named Wendell Willkie if it happened to be a boy. Mr. Barovich was equally determined that it be named for the President.” They had twins, so they compromised.
- Wendy Cuttita, Louise Cuttita and Willkie Cuttita, triplets (two girls and a boy) born on November 4, 1940 (election eve) to Mr. and Mrs. Carl Cuttita of New York City.
Willkie ended up becoming one of Roosevelt’s most unlikely allies, and he traveled around the world as FDR’s personal representative. Willkie wrote about these travels in his bestselling book One World (1943). The next year, at the age of 52, he died of a heart attack.
- “Happy Compromise.” Palm Beach Post 13 Aug. 1940: 4.
- Mackie, Sam A. “When Wendell Willkie helped save world.” Orlando Sentinel 31 Jul. 2005.
- “Triplets Are Born Here; All Named for Willkie.” New York Times 5 Nov. 1940.
- vanden Heuvel, William J. “In Praise of Wendell Willkie, a ‘Womanizer.'” New York Times 19 Dec. 1987.
- “Washington Baby is Named Willkie.” Spartanburg Herald 9 Jul. 1940: 2.
You guys know the world is ending in two weeks, right?
At least, that’s how popular culture has misinterpreted the ending of the 13th b’ak’tun of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar on December 21, 2012.
If your due date is December 21, why not commemorate the date with an end of the world-inspired baby name?
No, I’m not suggesting you go with something ridiculous like Armageddon or Apocalypse. (Though I have seen both used as names. Examples: Rev. Armageddon James Margerum, born in England in 1833, and Ulysses Apocalypse Johnson, born in California in 1992.)
Instead, try a name with a less obvious EotW connection. Perhaps one of these:
- Maya – the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is most commonly associated with the Maya
- Jeremiah – ending sounds like Maya
- Nehemiah – ending sounds like Maya
- Deedee – short for doomsday
- Ann – short for annihilation
- Catherine – inspired by cataclysm
- Arma – short for armageddon
- Armand – inspired by armageddon
- Armando – inspired by armageddon
- Gideon – inspired by armageddon
- Don – inspired by armageddon
Or try one of the dozens of names that happen to contain the word end (short for end of the world, of course).
- Enda (a masculine Irish name, e.g., Enda Kenny)
What other end of the world baby names can you think of?
A reader named Laurie is trying to find a name for her baby boy:
I am white, my boyfriend is black. […] The problem is he does not want a “ghetto” baby name, but I don’t want a plain old “Matt or Jeff” name. He seems to be stuck on the name Martell but it reminds me of the name Martin…I hate it. He has now said he wants the name to end in -tell, as in “Dontell” (his brother). I am not creative enough to think of any names that end in -tell, please help me.
I couldn’t come up with many -tell names, either. But there are plenty of names that end with an L-sound, such as:
Do any of you have other name suggestions or advice for Laurie?
According to sports columnist Wendell Barnhouse, at least six babies born in Ohio have been named Tressel after Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel since 2003.
Barnhouse also knows of Alabaman babies who’ve been named Saban and Bryant, in honor of current and past University of Alabama coaches Nicholas “Nick” Saban and Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
UPDATE, 10/7/2015: The 20th-annual Bear Bryant Namesake Reunion was held recently in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, according to the NYT: Where Bear Meets Bryant, Again and Again