Garfield vs. Winfield, 1880

The presidential election of 1880 involved two men with “-field” names: Republican candidate James A. Garfield, and Democratic candidate Winfield Scott Hancock.

The nominees were chosen in June of 1880, the votes were cast in November, and Garfield was declared the winner — but it was a close race. (“Among presidents who won the popular vote, Garfield’s margin of victory remains the narrowest in history.”)

And the closeness of the race was mirrored in the resultant increases in usage of the baby names “Garfield” and “Winfield” in 1880. (Unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge how much higher this usage was than usual because the SSA data only goes back to 1880.)

Garfield

According to the SSA data, the name Garfield was the 111th most popular baby name in the U.S in 1880. It rose even higher the next year — no doubt because James A. Garfield was the winner of the election, though perhaps also because he was assassinated in September — a mere 6 months after being sworn in. After that, the name saw a steep drop in usage.

Here’s the data, both from the SSA and from the Social Security Death Index:

Garfield in SSA (rank)Garfield in SSDI
188349 baby boys (222nd)48 people
188269 baby boys (190th)91 people
1881147 baby boys (88th)153 people
1880122 baby boys (111th)141 people
1879?24 people
1878?4 people

The surname Garfield originally referred to a triangle-shaped field. The Old English word gara, meaning “triangular piece of land,” is related to gar, “spear” (as spearheads were triangular).

Winfield

The SSA data shows that the name Winfield was the 122nd most popular baby name in the U.S. in 1880. Unlike Garfield, though, it began slipping in 1881 — right after Winfield Scott Hancock lost the election.

Here’s the data, both from the SSA and from the Social Security Death Index:

Winfield in SSA (rank)Winfield in SSDI
188346 baby boys (236th)58 people
188239 baby boys (276th)57 people
188165 baby boys (183rd)65 people
1880108 baby boys (122nd)106 people
1879?32 people
1878?16 people

Winfield Scott Hancock* was a lifelong military commander, so it’s fitting that he was named in honor of an earlier military commander: Winfield Scott. (Scott’s first name was his maternal grandmother’s maiden name.)

The surname Winfield could refer to any of various locations in England. Depending upon the specific location, the Old English first element of the name could be wynn, meaning “meadow, pasture”; wince, short for hleapwince, “lapwing“; weoh, “(pre-Christian) temple”; or Wiga, a personal name derived from wig, “war.”

So now let’s try a poll. Which name do you prefer, Garfield or Winfield? Tell me why in the comments!

Cast your vote: Garfield, or Winfield?

View Results

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Sources:

*Hancock also had an identical twin brother, Hilary Baker Hancock, who seems to have been named for former Philadelphia mayor Hilary Baker.

All About Belva

belva lockwood
Belva A. Lockwood
One of the most interesting usage patterns in the very early baby name data is that of Belva, which spiked twice: in 1884 and again in 1888. In fact, it was the fastest-rising girl name of 1884 by a wide margin.

  • 1891: 23 baby girls named Belva (542nd)
  • 1890: 42 baby girls named Belva (386th)
  • 1889: 31 baby girls named Belva (431st)
  • 1888: 66 baby girls named Belva (289th)
  • 1887: 27 baby girls named Belva (424th)
  • 1886: 23 baby girls named Belva (455th)
  • 1885: 30 baby girls named Belva (373th)
  • 1884: 66 baby girls named Belva (234th)
  • 1883: 5 baby girls named Belva (937th)
  • 1882: 5 baby girls named Belva (922nd)
  • 1881: 6 baby girls named Belva (rank: 747th)

The SSDI data reveals higher raw numbers, but the same double-spike pattern:

  • 1891: 50 people with the first name Belva
  • 1890: 67 people with the first name Belva
  • 1889: 59 people with the first name Belva
  • 1888: 95 people with the first name Belva
  • 1887: 33 people with the first name Belva
  • 1886: 35 people with the first name Belva
  • 1885: 62 people with the first name Belvas
  • 1884: 105 people with the first name Belva
  • 1883: 9 people with the first name Belva
  • 1882: 9 people with the first name Belva
  • 1881: 3 people with the first name Belva

What was the influence?

An impressive lady named Belva Ann Lockwood, who ran for president of the United States in both 1884 and 1888.

Belva was born into the Bennett family of western New York in 1830. Her four siblings were named Rachel, Warren, Cyrene, and Inverno (which means “winter” in Italian).

At the age of 18 she married a local farmer, Uriah McNall, and soon after she had a child, Lura. But Uriah died of tuberculosis, leaving Belva a widow at age 22.

She then took the highly unusual step of pursuing higher education. She attended Genesee College (later Syracuse University), graduated in 1857, and began working in the school system. She said:

The male teachers in the free schools of the State of New York received more than double the salary paid to the women teachers at that time, simply because they were men, and for precisely the same work. […] I at once began to agitate this question, arguing that pay should be for work, and commensurate to it, and not be based on sex.

Belva had a strong interest in law and in politics, so in 1866 she took another unusual step: she moved with her daughter to Washington, D.C., and began attending one of the few law schools that would admit women. She also married a second time (to Rev. Ezekiel Lockwood) and had a second daughter (Jessie, who lived only 18 months).

She completed the course of study, but, because she was female, she had to fight to receive a diploma. After that, she began practicing law. “Her clients were primarily blue-collar laborers, maids, and tradesmen and her work consisted of all manner of civil and criminal cases.”

In 1879, Belva became the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court bar, and in 1880, she became the first woman to argue a case, Kaiser v. Stickney, before the Supreme Court.

In 1884, she was nominated for president by the National Equal Rights Party — even though women didn’t yet have the right to vote. When one reporter asked her whether or not she was eligible to become president, Belva replied: “There’s not a thing in the Constitution that prevents a woman from becoming President. I cannot vote, but I can be voted for.”

The same party nominated her again in 1888. (Also this year, the community of Lockwood in Monterey County, California, was named after her.)

Though she didn’t come close to winning the race either time — the winners were Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, respectively — she did succeed in drawing attention to the cause of women’s suffrage.

She continued to practice law into her 80s, and died in 1917 at the age of 86.

I’m not sure how Belva’s parents selected her name, but a user at Behind the Name thinks that “Belva” evolved as a feminine variant of the name Belvedere, which originated as an Italian toponymic surname made up of the elements bello, meaning “beautiful,” and vedere, meaning “to see” or “to look at.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Belva? Will it ever be stylish again, do you think?

Sources:

The Top One-Hit Wonder Baby Names Since 1880

one-hit wonders, baby names, history

The Social Security Administration’s annual baby name list only includes names given to 5 or more U.S. baby girls (or baby boys) per year.

Most rare names never make the list, but a select group have appeared a single time. I like to call these the one-hit wonder baby names.

One-hit wonders tend to pop up with a relatively low number of babies — 5 or 6 — but a handful are given to dozens of babies…only to disappear again the next year! Intriguing, no?

Below are the highest-charting one-hit wonder names for every year on record before 2013. (We won’t know which 2013 names are one-hit wonders until later lists come out.) The format is: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.”

  • 1880: none; Merida, 5
  • 1881: Zilpah, 9; Roll, 5
  • 1882: none; none
  • 1883: none; none
  • 1884: none; none
  • 1885: Lelie, 5; Ng & Sip, 5
  • 1886: Ottillie, 5; none
  • 1887: none; Pembroke, 5
  • 1888: Etelka & Pantha, 5; Bengiman, 5
  • 1889: Litta & Roxa, 5; Edw & Profit, 5
  • 1890: Modeste, 8; none
  • 1891: Dorilla & Euphemie, 5; Navajo, 5
  • 1892: none; Whitelaw & Wint, 5
  • 1893: Hedwige, 7; Pomp, 5
  • 1894: Onezia, 5; Bess, 5
  • 1895: Isal, 7; none
  • 1896: Phenie, 5; none
  • 1897: Phronie, 5; Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Maine, 9; Schley, 10
  • 1899: Pellie, 5; none
  • 1900: Henrettia & Ursule, 6; Bruster, 5
  • 1901: Kinnie, 5; none
  • 1902: Azema & Lelea, 5; none
  • 1903: Pheobie, 7; none
  • 1904: Berthal, 6; none
  • 1905: Mintha, 5; Pioet, 5
  • 1906: Nellda, Ocey & Clevia, 5; none
  • 1907: Leecy, Odra & Oklahoma, 5; Lanham, 6
  • 1908: Artena, Essye, Malvie & Oshie, 5; none
  • 1909: Argatha, 5; none
  • 1910: Leneve, 7; Capus, 5
  • 1911: Gaither, 6; Caro & Lavette, 5
  • 1912: Gustina, Iras, Leavy & Senona, 6; Edlow, 7
  • 1913: Nixola & Oleane, 6; Gaillard & Rumsey, 6
  • 1914: Vica, 8; Secondo, 9
  • 1915: Desda & Vonie, 8; Zygmond, 10
  • 1916: Alvene, Bleeker, Cloteen, Deelda, Duffie, Iota, Maggielean, Matrona, Mealie, Mishie, Ortrude, Sirkka, Truma, Valasta, Valesta, Valrea & Ysobel, 6; Hafford, 9
  • 1917: Florenz & Lutrelle, 9; Annis, Clermont, Loddie, Onslow, Rosswell & Runar, 7
  • 1918: Theophila, 10; Hobby, 9
  • 1919: Johnniemae, 9; Lorrain, 10
  • 1920: Dardenella, 9; Mosby, 9
  • 1921: Garnelle, 11; Ive, 9
  • 1922: Donaldine, 12; Crafton, 9
  • 1923: Giovina & Varena, 8; Arbon, Birchel & Wolcott, 7
  • 1924: Klyda, 10; Modell, 9
  • 1925: Ivaline & Valoyce, 8; Evell & Walford, 8
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Lafon & Nola, 9
  • 1927: Genena, Milarain & Seroba, 8; Dalhart, Junor, Maclyn & Mutsuo, 8
  • 1928: Boneva, Geane, Lenard, Loeda & Louvene, 7; Dormon, Hearman, Hover & Shoso, 7
  • 1929: Miladeen, 9; Edsol, 8
  • 1930: Earnease, Lunelle, Magnola & Rhoena, 6; Elice, 7
  • 1931: Dixianna & Vergean, 7; Leroyce, 7
  • 1932: Dolorese, 9; Mannon, 7
  • 1933: Garnieta, 8; Vondal, 7
  • 1934: Delaris, Derene, Ervene, Myrline & Rheata, 6; Cardis, Carloss, Cleophes, Dockie, Exie, Pettus & Shelvie, 6
  • 1935: Nerita, 14; Deuel, 8
  • 1936: Arolyn & Verilea, 7; Rolyn, 8
  • 1937: Noreda, 17; Seavy, 6
  • 1938: Clione, 16; Dall & Vallee, 6
  • 1939: Melsa, 9; Karrol, 7
  • 1940: Lindola, 13; Willkie, 13
  • 1941: Shirey, 7; Saford, 11
  • 1942: Arvina, Floranne, Kaaran & Roine, 6; Macarther, 10
  • 1943: Jerdine, 7; Deming, Dilworth, Eugne, Keener, Rhodell, Rothwell & Sammul, 5
  • 1944: Carolsue, 11; Condy, Hennry, Lemmon & Persell, 5
  • 1945: Diedri, 10; Kermon, 6
  • 1946: Darlia, 13; Cotis, Dowl, Lohn, Rouldph, Royace, Sherryl, Speedy & Trudy, 5
  • 1947: Junellen, 12; Brookie; 7
  • 1948: Gwyned, 9; Beasley, 6
  • 1949: Jerrilyne, 9; Bradbury, Bradfield, Buckey, Hubie, Jubentino, Kurth, Nickola, Varnum & Waynne, 5
  • 1950: Gladystine, 9; Cresenciano, Frosty & Thurnell, 6
  • 1951: Glenalee & Lynnis, 9; Bronnie & Marvine, 8
  • 1952: Charliss, 7; Gevan, 12
  • 1953: Judalon, 11; Credell, Larrey & Uldis, 7
  • 1954: Lilette & Ufemia, 7; Corneall, Danail, Derf, Luann & Michie, 6
  • 1955: Dainette, 14; Christophel, 9
  • 1956: Tirrell, 13; Auddie & Naymon, 7
  • 1957: Theonita, 17; Melivn, 7
  • 1958: Deedy & Lanor, 8; Brete, 7
  • 1959: Rapunzel, 9; Tomm, 8
  • 1960: Devy, 27; Andamo, 15
  • 1961: Shurla, 17; Jefre, 21
  • 1962: Perette, 16; Daphne & Schell, 7
  • 1963: Chrysanne, 12; Darrayl & Daryell, 8
  • 1964: Deeneen, 12; Deneen & Kenndy, 7
  • 1965: Timolyn, 9; Alfonson & Marichal, 8
  • 1966: Agena, 15; Alfy, 15
  • 1967: Malette, 20; Antal, 8
  • 1968: Ondina, 15; Berto, Christoopher, Deith, Mardi, Redginald & Yoram, 6
  • 1969: Dameron, 15; Shoan, 9
  • 1970: Dardi, 14; Cosmos, 9
  • 1971: Anjanet, 9; Demea, 12
  • 1972: Tyhessia, 17; Christerphor, 8
  • 1973: Desheila, 18; Chandar, 13
  • 1974: Charnissa, 32; Sirica, 8
  • 1975: Russchelle, 24; Darweshi, Tchalla & Unborn, 8
  • 1976: Norlisha, 16; Lebrone, 8
  • 1977: Kashka, 16; Ebay, 12
  • 1978: Kushana, 23; Quarterrio & Travolta, 11
  • 1979: Kitzie, 27; Dilanjan & Terdell, 13
  • 1980: Nykeba, 26; Kimario, 13
  • 1981: Tijwana, 18; Cetric & Dharmesh, 8
  • 1982: Ebelina, 11; Chachi & Chezarae, 9
  • 1983: Shadava, 25; Tio, 12
  • 1984: Meghaan, 36; Quisto & Ragene, 9
  • 1985: Miceala, 16; Sophan, 8
  • 1986: Shaquenta, 13; Sarith, 11
  • 1987: Condola & Shayeeda, 12; Calbe, 9
  • 1988: Armisha, 16; Nattiel, 10
  • 1989:
    • Alexandr, 301; Christop, 1082 (glitch names)
    • Cesilie, 10; Madeleine, 10 (non-glitch names)
  • 1990: Jakkia & Shawnic, 16; Pajtim, 13
  • 1991: Deangelis & Jeniqua, 13; Quaysean, 11
  • 1992: Caleesha, 17; Kendrae, 11
  • 1993: Solmaira, 15; Shanquille, 9
  • 1994: Mccaela, 20; Dontonio, 11
  • 1995: Shieda, 14; Jamiroquan, 13
  • 1996: Sidea, 13; Jervontae, 12
  • 1997: Dessiah & Jachai, 10; Versace, 10
  • 1998: Rosisela, 14; Tamija, 14
  • 1999: Ukari, 16; Tyreace, 9
  • 2000: Daebreon & Jadakiss, 13; Zaykeese, 13
  • 2001: Joharis, 12; Kya, 13
  • 2002: Eshanti, 27; Albieri, 12
  • 2003: Saribel, 22; Amareion, 12
  • 2004: Janayra, 12; Mikayla & Quanye, 11
  • 2005: Milenka, 13; Johnbenedict, 14
  • 2006: Sarela, 26; Sunel, 14
  • 2007: Aidsa & Madelis, 30; Joset, 11
  • 2008: Yaindhi, 29; Jometh, 23
  • 2009: Shastelyn, 34; Tyten, 11
  • 2010: Rossibell, 17; Coopar, 14
  • 2011: Jocell, 31; Maurkice, 13
  • 2012: Jeiza, 12; Chander, Drexton, Dristan, Elimelec, Hadeed, Khodee & Vardhan, 8
  • 2013: Jennicka, 15; Jaiceion, 11
  • 2014: Hannaley, 21; Zacardi, 11
  • 2015: Nadyalee, 17; Jersen, 21

See anything interesting?

Some of the above — Narice (1926), Saford (1941), Gevan (1952) and Jefre (1961) — are also on the top debuts list.

Lists of the most popular one-hit girl names and one-hit boy names of all time are coming tomorrow and Wednesday…

Update, 5/24/16 – Just revised the 2012 names and added the 2013 and 2014 names.

Update, 5/24/17 – Made some revisions and added the 2015 names.

Babies Named for Princess Ebba

ebba bernadotte, ebba munck
Princess Ebba Bernadotte

Way back in 1888, the name Ebba appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for the very first time.

It was the top debut name of the year, in fact.

According to the SSA, Ebba became the name of at least 18 U.S. baby girls in 1888:

  • 1890: 13 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1889: 13 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1888: 18 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1887: unlisted
  • 1886: unlisted

The SSDI reveals that the actual number is at least 50:

  • 1890: 51 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1889: 38 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1888: 51 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1887: 15 baby girls named Ebba
  • 1886: 11 baby girls named Ebba

Why the Ebba spike?

Miss Ebba Munck. She was a lady-in-waiting to Viktoria of Baden, who later became Queen of Sweden when her husband, Prince Gustaf, became King.

Ebba and the future king’s little brother, Prince Oscar, met in 1885. They weren’t permitted to marry until several years later, though, as Ebba was a non-royal and Oscar’s parents wouldn’t consent.

They were finally engaged in January of 1888 and married in March of 1888. Both events were mentioned in many U.S. newspapers.

By marrying Ebba, Oscar gave up both his royal title and his right of succession to the Swedish throne. By marrying Oscar, Ebba became Princess Ebba Bernadotte. (She couldn’t become an official Princess of Sweden, so her title was derived from the name of the royal House of Bernadotte.)

Where does Ebba’s name come from? It’s a feminized form of Ebbe, a diminutive of Germanic names like Eberhard. The element eber means “boar.”

Source: “Old World News by Cable.” New York Times 18 Mar. 1888.