What gave the baby name Paulina a boost in 1925?

Photograph of Alice Roosevelt and daughter Paulina taken in 1929.
Alice and Paulina in 1929

Alice Roosevelt was the eldest child of Theodore Roosevelt. She became extremely popular, both nationally and internationally, during his presidency.

In 1906 she married Nicholas Longworth, a U.S. Representative from Ohio. (He would later become Speaker of the House.) Their only child, Paulina, was born in 1925.

Paulina instantly became “the most famous baby in America,” and, as a result, there was a temporary increase in the national usage of the baby name Paulina:

  • 1927: 47 baby girls named Paulina
  • 1926: 48 baby girls named Paulina
  • 1925: 78 baby girls named Paulina
  • 1924: 40 baby girls named Paulina
  • 1923: 38 baby girls named Paulina

According to the SSA data, usage nearly doubled. According to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) data, though, the spike wasn’t quite so dramatic:

  • 1927: 55 people named Paulina
  • 1926: 63 people named Paulina
  • 1925: 85 people named Paulina
  • 1924: 63 people named Paulina
  • 1923: 59 people named Paulina

Many years later it was revealed that Idaho senator William Borah was the baby’s biological father, and that Alice had even considered giving the baby the not-so-subtle name Deborah (“de Borah”).

P.S. The baby name Lance also got a boost thanks to the child of an American socialite…

Sources: Celebrity Baby Feeding Frenzy, 1920s-Style, Alice Roosevelt Longworth – Wikipedia

Image: Longworth, Paulina, with Mother (LOC)

2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Paulina a boost in 1925?

  1. I’ve always liked the name Polly and have thought that Paulina would work well as a longer given name for Polly.

    As for Paulina Longworth, according to a wikipedia article her name was pronounced “Pole-eena”. She reportedly had a rather miserable life and suffered from depression among other emotional concerns. (Another “poor little rich girl,” it seems.)

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