Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Winfield in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Winfield and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Winfield.
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The brief Spanish-American War (1898), which began in April and ended in August, inspired hundreds of patriotic parents in the U.S. to choose war-inspired baby names. Here are some examples:
Maine & Havana
One of the events that led to war was the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba’s Havana Harbor on February 15. The explosion killed more than 260 men. Many people in the U.S. blamed the explosion on Spain.
The baby names Maine and Havana both debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.
1898: 9 baby girls named Maine [debut]
Maine was a one-hit wonder on the list — a rarity that never returned — but Havana has been on the list dozens of times since (and regularly since 1995).
1898: 8 baby girls named Havana [debut]
The SSDI tells a more complete story (though it doesn’t offer information on gender). It indicates that 25 babies were named Maine and 12 were named Havana in 1898.
Dewey & Manila
War was formally declared on April 25. On May 1, the Battle of Manila Bay took place in the Philippines. The U.S. fleet, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, defeated Spain.
Usage of the name Dewey spiked in 1898, both for boys and for girls:
1901: 137 baby boys and 7 baby girls named Dewey
1900: 345 baby boys and 9 baby girls named Dewey
1899: 499 baby boys and 24 baby girls named Dewey
1898: 1,115 baby boys and 104 baby girls named Dewey
1897: 158 baby boys and 13 baby girls named Dewey
1896: 63 baby boys named Dewey
1895: 28 baby boys named Dewey
In terms of rankings, Dewey hit 19th (!) for boys and 305th for girls in 1898. Also that year, the spelling variants Dewie and Dewy debuted.
Going back to the SSDI, we see even higher numbers — 6,708 babies named Dewey, 36 named Dewie, and 1 named Dewy in 1898.
We even see evidence of Dewey’s spike on the U.S. Census of 1920:
1910s: over 4,300 people named Dewey were born
1900s: over 11,000 people named Dewey were born
1890s: over 12,100 people named Dewey were born
1880s: over 200 people named Dewey were born
1870s: over 100 people named Dewey were born
An article in the Reading Eagle in 1899 listed ten local babies named for George Dewey, and another article I spotted from decades later joked about starting a George Dewey namesake club.
We see a similar (though less pronounced) spike of in the usage of Manila for baby girls:
I was just reading The Political Graveyard’s cool list of Politicians Named for Other Politicians. Many of the politicians on the list were named for U.S. presidents, but others were named for figures who aren’t as well-known today. Some examples:
Thirty politicians were named after Henry Clay (1777-1852).
Eighteen politicians were named after Abraham Gallatin (1761-1849).
Sixteen politicians were named after John Marshall (1755-1835).
Thirteen politicians were named after John Jay (1745-1829).
Twelve politicians were named after Patrick Henry (1736-1799).
Eleven politicians were named after DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828).
Ten politicians were named after Francis Marion (1732-1795).
Seven politicians were named after Edward Everett (1794-1865).
Seven politicians were named after Winfield Scott* (1786-1866).
Six politicians were named after John Calhoun (1782-1850).
Five politicians (and the term gerrymander) were named after Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814).
Some of those numbers are impressive. Makes me wonder how many baby boys nationwide were named after these men.
*Winfield Scott lost to Franklin Pierce in the 1852 presidential election. One of his namesakes, Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886), lost to James Garfield in the 1880 presidential election. Not a lucky name for White House hopefuls, I’d say.