How did Dwight D. Eisenhower influence baby names?

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Taylor, Tyler, Madison, Jackson…sure, they’re presidential surnames, but if you met a kid with one of these names you wouldn’t assume that he/she was named after a former commander-in-chief.

Not so with Eisenhower.

The one and only time the name Eisenhower appeared in the U.S. baby name data was the year Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president (the first time):

  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: unlisted
  • 1952: 5 baby boys named Eisenhower [debut]
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted

And the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) reveals that at least four more people have been named Eisenhower — two were born in the ’40s, one in ’53, and one in the ’70s.

The German occupational surname means “iron-hewer” or “iron-cutter.”

The name Dwight became more popular during the 1950s as well, seeing peak usage in 1953:

  • 1959: 1,595 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 186th]
  • 1958: 1,695 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 176th]
  • 1957: 2,024 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 159th]
  • 1956: 2,368 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 139th]
  • 1955: 2,150 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 142nd]
  • 1954: 2,036 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 145th]
  • 1953: 2,689 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 122nd]
  • 1952: 2,405 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 123rd]
  • 1951: 2,049 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 134th]
  • 1950: 1,813 baby boys named Dwight [rank: 146th]

And let’s not forget Eisenhower’s famous campaign slogan, “I Like Ike.” His nickname — typically short for Isaac, but in this case based on the first syllable of his surname — also got a boost:

  • 1959: 52 baby boys named Ike*
  • 1958: 56 baby boys named Ike
  • 1957: 76 baby boys named Ike
  • 1956: 68 baby boys named Ike
  • 1955: 77 baby boys named Ike
  • 1954: 76 baby boys named Ike
  • 1953: 110 baby boys named Ike
  • 1952: 90 baby boys named Ike
  • 1951: 61 baby boys named Ike
  • 1950: 55 baby boys named Ike

And people still like Ike — in 2010, 59 boys were named Ike (coming down from a spike in 2008, courtesy of Hurricane Ike.)

*Here’s one more baby Ike from 1959.

4 thoughts on “How did Dwight D. Eisenhower influence baby names?

  1. I wonder if Ike remains more popular in Missouri, where one of their long time Congressmen (unseated last year) was Isaac Newton “Ike” Skelton IV.

  2. Hmm re: Missouri (I’m there myself). I liked the name Ike, but more for a dog than for a person (I don’t mean that in a bad way–I put a lot of thought into my pets’ names!). But after the hurricane, being that I am from the TX coast, I just couldn’t. It would be like naming a girl Katrina, Betsy, Camille or a boy Hugo. I just couldn’t. It’s too attached to the storm (as opposed to, say, Andrew).

  3. I’m in MO, too, work in a school district in which I see hundreds of student names on a daily basis, and don’t know of a single ‘Ike’…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.