What gave the baby name Huey a boost?

Politician Huey P. Long (1893-1935)
Huey P. Long

Yesterday’s name, Broderick, was popularized by a movie based on the life of populist politician Huey P. 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:

Boys named Huey (U.S.)Boys named Huey (Louisiana)
1937214 [rank: 378th]95 [rank: 50th]
1936353 [rank: 288th]153 [rank: 30th]
1935494 [rank: 237th]202 [rank: 14th]
1934187 [rank: 403rd]86 [rank: 48th]
1933154 [rank: 447th]66 [rank: 67th]
1932144 [rank: 480th]76 [rank: 61st]
1931162 [rank: 443rd]98 [rank: 39th]
1930174 [rank: 447th]119 [rank: 37th]
1929194 [rank: 424th]146 [rank: 26th]
1928215 [rank: 411th]159 [rank: 22nd]
1927114 [rank: 579th]62 [rank: 75th]
192662 [rank: 840th]22 [rank: 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.


Image: Huey P. Long (LOC)

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