What gave the baby name Adlai a boost in the 1950s?

Politician Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-1965)
Adlai E. Stevenson II

According to the U.S. baby name data, the name Adlai saw peak usage in 1952, then a smaller spike four years later:

  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted
  • 1957: 6 baby boys named Adlai
  • 1956: 22 baby boys named Adlai
  • 1955: 12 baby boys named Adlai
  • 1954: 7 baby boys named Adlai
  • 1953: 18 baby boys named Adlai
  • 1952: 39 baby boys named Adlai [peak]
    • 6 born in Illinois
  • 1951: unlisted
  • 1950: unlisted


Because of politician Adlai Ewing Stevenson II — the namesake of politician Adlai Ewing Stevenson I, his grandfather.

Adlai Stevenson II served as the governor of Illinois from 1949 to 1953. He was elected “by a larger majority than any other candidate had received in the history of the state.”

On a national level, though, he’s better remembered for being the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the presidency in both 1952 and 1956.

In spite of his refusal to seek the presidential nomination in 1952, he was drafted by the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He waged a vigorous campaign, but the popular appeal of wartime hero Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower proved irresistible. Stevenson was defeated a second time four years later, again by Eisenhower.

One of the other candidates for the Democratic nomination in both ’52 and ’56 was W. Averell Harriman.

Sources: SSA, Adlai Stevenson II – Wikipedia, Adlai E. Stevenson | American Statesman | Britannica

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