No one wanted to name these triplets

On March 8, 1911, George and Lida Duncan of Corydon, Kentucky, welcomed triplets — one boy, two girls. They asked several public figures of the day to name the babies:

  • William Howard Taft, who was serving as U.S. president at the time, “congratulated the parents and wished “a long, prosperous and happy life” for the children, but declined to name them.”
  • Theodore Roosevelt, who was president before Taft, “tendered “hearty congratulations” to both parents, particularly to Mrs. Duncan,” but declined as well.
  • Philanthropists Helen Gould and Olivia Sage “also declined to name the children, but sent expressions of appreciation to the parents.”

So George and Lida took it upon themselves to select names for the babies. They settled on Ralph, Ruth and Ruby.

If they had asked you, though, what names would you have suggested for the triplets?

Source: “All Decline to Name Children.” Spokesman-Review 27 Apr. 1911: 12.

11 thoughts on “No one wanted to name these triplets

  1. It’s hard to say what my taste would have been if I’d been of an age to name children in 1911, but transport them to today and I’d suggest Theresa, Edmund, and Diane.

  2. Easy! Name them after the people the parents asked – whom they obviously want to honour.
    Helen, Olivia and Theodore Duncan
    Or, if middle names were normal back then, how about:
    Olivia Lida Duncan (honouring the mother)
    Theodore George Duncan (honouring the father)
    Helen Taffeta Duncan (for President Taft who I’ve otherwise left out!)

  3. @ Fiona — My thoughts were similar to yours when thinking of possible names. I chose Robert as that is the name of Taft’s oldest son and Alice after Roosevelt’s oldest daughter. Shelby is after the first governor of Kentucky.

    The middle names were chosen to honor the parents. Aldin was the best I could think of for a boys name similar to Lida.

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