The Namesakes of Huey P. Long

Huey on Time, Apr. 1935

Yesterday’s name, Broderick, was popularized by a movie based on the life of populist politician Huey P(ierce) Long, nicknamed “The Kingfish,” who served as Governor of Louisiana (1928-1932), U.S. Senator (1932-1935), and was gearing up for a presidential run in 1935. At that time…

Long’s Senate office was flooded with thousands of letters daily, prompting him to hire 32 typists, who worked around the clock to respond to the fan mail. As the nation’s third most photographed man (after FDR and celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh), Long was recognized from coast to coast simply as “Huey.”

He never ran for president, though, because he was assassinated in September of 1935.

So how did Long’s his political rise (and sudden death) affect the usage of the baby name Huey?

In April of 1929, newspapers reported that, since the gubernatorial election the previous May, “Governor Long has presented a [silver] cup to every baby in the state which is made his namesake. He says there are now are 90 “Huey P’s” and he believes the total will run well over 200 before his term of office expires.”

According to the SSA’s baby name data, the national usage of Huey spiked twice: the year Long was elected governor, and the year he was killed. Notice how much of the usage happened in Huey’s home state of Louisiana:

Year U.S. boys named Huey Louisiana boys named Huey
1937 214 boys [rank: 378th] 95 boys (44% of U.S. usage) [rank: 50th]
1936 353 boys [288th] 153 boys (43%) [30th]
1935 494 boys [237th] 202 boys (41%) [14th]
1934 187 boys [403rd] 86 boys (46%) [48th]
1933 154 boys [447th] 66 boys (43%) [67th]
1932 144 boys [480th] 76 boys (53%) [61st]
1931 162 boys [443rd] 98 boys (60%) [39th]
1930 174 boys [447th] 119 boys (68%) [37th]
1929 194 boys [424th] 146 boys (75%) [26th]
1928 215 boys [411th] 159 boys (74%) [22nd]
1927 114 boys [579th] 62 boys (54%) [75th]
1926 62 boys [840th] 22 boys (35%) [179th]

Huey P. Long was named after his father. He had nine siblings: brothers Julius, George and Earl (who also served as governor of Louisiana) and sisters Charlotte, Clara, Helen, Lucille, and Olive. Speedy Long was a cousin.

Sources:

Image: Senator Huey P. Long © 1935 Time


Anne Rice’s Birth Name Was Howard

Anne RiceDid you know that author Anne Rice was born “Howard Allen O’Brien”?

The vampire novelist (and creator of Lestat) was born in New Orleans in 1941 to Howard and Katherine O’Brien. “Howard” came from her father — who went by Mike most of the time, ironically — and “Allen” was her mother’s maiden name.

Apparently she went by both names together as a youngster; Anne said in a recent interview that she “was Howard Allen, it was a double name” [vid].

Anne didn’t like having a male name, though, so in the first grade she started calling herself “Anne.” Eventually her name was legally changed to Anne O’Brien.

All three of Anne’s sisters (Alice, Tamara, and Karen) were given traditionally female names at birth.

[Related post: Stanley Ann Dunham, who later dropped the “Stanley.”]

Source: Ramsland, Katherine. Anne Rice Reader. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.

Baby Named Cali for Cal Ripken

A baby girl born in Baltimore on September 5, 1995 — just after Baltimore Orioles baseball player Calvin “Cal” Ripken tied the 2,130 consecutive-game record set by Lou Gehrig in 1939 — was named Cali, in honor of Cal.

(Cali’s mother, Kimberly Drouillard, mentioned that the name was her husband idea, and that the baby was originally going to be named Alexia.)

And Cali wasn’t the only baby named with Cal Ripken in mind around that time. Usage of the name Cal spiked in the mid-1990s…

  • 1999: 69 baby boys named Cal
  • 1998: 72 baby boys named Cal
  • 1997: 93 baby boys named Cal
  • 1996: 112 baby boys named Cal
  • 1995: 84 baby boys named Cal
  • 1994: 47 baby boys named Cal
  • 1993: 52 baby boys named Cal

…and the name Ripken first appeared in the data in 1997.

Source: Olney, Buster. “Behind scenes, Ripken nights were memorable, too.” Baltimore Sun 8 Sep. 1995.

Baby Named for Michael Landon

Actress Melissa Gilbert is probably best known for portraying young Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series Little House on the Prairie (1974–1984). Her TV father, Charles, was played by actor Michael Landon.

In October of 1995, Melissa and her second husband welcomed a son (12 weeks early). He was named Michael Garrett — “Michael” in honor of Michael Landon, who had died of cancer in 1991, and “Garrett” in honor of the deceased teenage son of family friends.

Landon’s birth name was Eugene Maurice Orowitz. His nickname in primary school was “Ooogy.” He chose his stage name by flipping through a phone book.

Sources:

Baby Name Story: Camera

cameraTennis star Arthur Ashe and his wife, photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, adopted a baby girl in December of 1986.

What did they name her? Camera Elizabeth Ashe, “Camera” in tribute to her mother’s profession.

The baby name Camera saw its highest usage in 1993 and 1994, when Camera was being mentioned in the news a lot following the death of her father from AIDS-related pneumonia in early 1993.

  • 1996: 6 baby girls named Camera
  • 1995: 12 baby girls named Camera
  • 1994: 24 baby girls named Camera [peak usage]
  • 1993: 18 baby girls named Camera
  • 1992: 8 baby girls named Camera

What are your thoughts on Camera as a baby name?

Source: “Arthur Ashe and Wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe Are Parents of Baby Girl.” Jet 9 Feb. 1987: 22.