How popular is the baby name Cleve in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Cleve.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Cleve


Posts that Mention the Name Cleve

Where did the baby name Adlai come from in the 1890s?

Politician Adlai E. Stevenson I (1835-1914)
Adlai E. Stevenson I

The interesting name Adlai first appeared in the U.S. baby named data in the early 1890s:

  • 1893: 9 baby boys named Adlai (rank: 706th)
  • 1892: 17 baby boys named Adlai (rank: 480th)
  • 1891: 6 baby boys named Adlai (rank: 841st) [debut]
  • 1890: unlisted
  • 1889: unlisted

That 1892 spike in usage remained Adlai’s high-point until the 1950s.

But, because many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, the earliest decades of the SSA data tend to under-count actual usage. The following numbers, from the Social Security Death Index, should be more accurate:

  • 1893: 34 people named Adlai
  • 1892: 91 people named Adlai
  • 1891: 8 people named Adlai
  • 1890: 3 people named Adlai
  • 1889: 1 person named Adlai

So, what inspired this sudden interest in the name Adlai?

Adlai Ewing Stevenson, who served as the 23rd Vice President from 1893 to 1897 under President Grover Cleveland. (They were called “Cleve and Steve” during the campaign, adorably.)

He’d served as assistant postmaster general during Cleveland’s first term, and, before that, he’d served twice as a U.S. Representative from Illinois (1875-77; 1879-81).

The slightly elevated usage of “Adlai” in 1891 — a year before the campaign/election — could be due to the fact that many babies were not named at birth during that era. So, some 1891 babies likely weren’t given names until well into 1892.

Going through the records, I found dozens of people with the first-middle name combo “Adlai Stevenson.” Here are a few examples from 1892 specifically:

(The handful of older “Adlai Stevensons” I found were all born in Illinois in the 1870s and 1880s.)

Other folks got different versions of the name, such as Stevenson Adlai and Adlai Ewing.

Even better, I found a bunch of people named after the “Cleve and Steve” Democratic ticket, such as Adlai Cleveland, Adlai Grover, Cleveland Adlai, Cleveland Stevenson, Grover Adlai, and Grover Stevenson.

The name Adlai comes from the Bible, but no one knows for sure what it means. Guesses include “my witness; my ornament” (Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary, 1869) and “lax, weary” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1939).

What are your thoughts on the name Adlai? Would you use it?

Sources: SSA, SSDI, Adlai Stevenson I – Wikipedia, Adlai Stevenson – Britannica

Top debut names in the U.S. baby name data, 1881 to today

flower bud

Though vast majority of the baby names on the Social Security Administration’s yearly baby name lists are repeats, every list does contain a handful of brand-new names.

Below are the highest-charting debut names for every single year on record, after the first.

Why bother with an analysis like this? Because debut names often have cool stories behind them, and high-hitting debuts are especially likely to have intriguing explanations tied to historical people/events. So this is more than a list of names — it’s also a list of stories.

Here’s the format: “Girl name(s), number of baby girls; Boy name(s), number of baby boys.” Keep in mind that the raw numbers aren’t too trustworthy for about the first six decades, though. (More on that in a minute.)

  • 1881: Adell & Celeste, 14; Brown & Newell, 14
  • 1882: Verda, 14; Cleve, 13
  • 1883: Laurel, 12; Brady, Festus, Jewell, Odell & Rosco, 8
  • 1884: Crystal & Rubie, 11; Benjamen, Jens, Oakley & Whitney, 9
  • 1885: Clotilde, 13; Arley & Terence, 9
  • 1886: Manuelita, 10; Terrence, 10
  • 1887: Verlie, 13; Myles, 11
  • 1888: Ebba, 18; Carlisle, Hughie & Orvel, 9
  • 1889: Garnett, 12; Doyle, 9
  • 1890: Verena, 11; Eduardo & Maggie, 10
  • 1891: Gayle, Idabelle & Zenia, 9; Sheridan, 14
  • 1892: Astrid, Dallas & Jennett, 9; Corbett, 23
  • 1893: Elmyra, 12; Estel, Mayo, Shelley & Thorwald, 8
  • 1894: Beatriz, Carola & Marrie, 9; Arvel, Erby & Floy, 8
  • 1895: Trilby, 12; Roosevelt, 12
  • 1896: Lotus, 11; Hazen, 11
  • 1897: Dewey, 13; Bryon, Frankie, Mario & Rhoda, 7
  • 1898: Manilla, 35; Hobson, 38
  • 1899: Ardis & Irva, 19; Haven, 9
  • 1900: Luciel, 14; Rosevelt, 20
  • 1901: Venita, 11; Eino, 9
  • 1902: Mercie, 10; Clarnce, 9
  • 1903: Estela, 11; Lenon & Porfirio, 7
  • 1904: Magdaline, 9; Adrain, Arbie, Betty, Desmond, Domenic, Duard, Raul & Severo, 8
  • 1905: Oliver, 9; Eliot & Tyree, 9
  • 1906: Nedra, 11; Domenico & Ryan, 10
  • 1907: Theta, 20; Taft, 16
  • 1908: Pasqualina, 10; Robley, 12
  • 1909: Wilmoth, 9; Randal & Vidal, 9
  • 1910: Ellouise, 12; Halley, 12
  • 1911: Thurley, 12; Colie, 16
  • 1912: Elynor, Glennis, Mariann, 12; Woodroe, 25
  • 1913: Wilba, 18; Vilas, 24
  • 1914: Floriene, 14; Torao, 17
  • 1915: Wanza, 33; Audra, 18
  • 1916: Tatsuko, 14; Verdun, 14
  • 1917: Nerine, 43; Delwyn, 14
  • 1918: Marne, 24; Foch, 58
  • 1919: Tokie, 12; Juaquin, 11
  • 1920: Dardanella, 23; Steele, 11
  • 1921: Marilynne, 13; Norberto, 14
  • 1922: Evelean, 14; Daren, 35
  • 1923: Nalda, 15; Clinard & Dorland, 9
  • 1924: Charis, 14; Melquiades, 13
  • 1925: Irmalee, 37; Wayburn, 11
  • 1926: Narice, 13; Bibb, 14
  • 1927: Sunya, 14; Bidwell, 14
  • 1928: Joreen, 22; Alfread & Brevard, 9
  • 1929: Jeannene, 25; Donnald, Edsol, Rhys & Wolfgang, 8
  • 1930: Laquita, 68; Shogo, 11
  • 1931: Joanie, 12; Rockne, 17
  • 1932: Carolann, Delano & Jenine, 11; Alvyn, Avelardo, Elena, Mannon & Wenford, 7
  • 1933: Gayleen, 23; Skippy, 10
  • 1934: Carollee & Janean, 12; Franchot, 9
  • 1935: Treasure, 16; Haile, 11
  • 1936: Shelva, 89; Renny & Shelva, 9

This is where the numbers start becoming more accurate. Why? Because “many people born before 1937 never applied for a Social Security card, so their names are not included in our data.” (SSA)

Now back to the list:

I’ve already written about some of the names above, and I plan to write about all the others as well…eventually. In the meanwhile, if you want to beat me to it and leave a comment about why Maverick hit in 1957, or why Moesha hit in 1996, feel free!

*If you ignore the baby name glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Image by kazuend from Unsplash