How popular is the baby name Manilla 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 Manilla.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Manilla


Posts that Mention the Name Manilla

Mystery Baby Names: Ardis & Irva

Not only were the girl names Ardis and Irva the dual top baby name debuts of 1899, but they were also tied for the 5th-highest debut of the late 1800s, according to the SSA’s U.S. baby name data:

  1. 38 baby boys: Hobson in 1898 (influence: war)
  2. 35 baby girls: Manilla in 1898 (influence: war)
  3. 25 baby boys: Admiral in 1898 (influence: war)
  4. 23 baby boys: Corbett in 1892 (influence: boxing)
  5. 19 baby girls: Ardis and Irva in 1899 (influence: ?)
  6. 18 baby girls: Ebba in 1888 (influence: royalty)

So far I haven’t been able to figure out what caused either debut, though. Maybe you guys can help me out?

Here’s what I know so far…

Ardis

According to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the number of people named Ardis jumped from at least 10 in 1898 to at least 86 in 1899. (The SSDI is a better source of raw-number data than the SSA for the late 1800s and early 1900s.)

  • 1901: 47 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1900: 59 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1899: 86 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1898: 10 people with the first name Ardis
  • 1897: 15 people with the first name Ardis

The SSDI data also indicates that the usage of Ardis was highest during three successive months: July (12 births), August (17 births), and September (12 births).

Getting back to the SSA data…when Ardis was at peak popularity from the 1910s through the 1940s, it was particularly trendy in the Midwest (especially Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin). This regional preference may have existed in 1899 as well, though it’s hard to tell.

Finally, a novel with the name Ardis in the title — Frank R. Stockton’s Ardis Claverden — existed in 1899. It had been published in 1890, though, so it probably didn’t cause the debut. (Unless it was serialized in the newspapers a decade later…?)

Irva

The SSDI shows that the number of people named Irva jumped from at least 7 in 1898 to at least 64 in 1899:

  • 1901: 14 people with the first name Irva
  • 1900: 18 people with the first name Irva
  • 1899: 64 people with the first name Irva
  • 1898: 7 people with the first name Irva
  • 1897: 5 people with the first name Irva

The name Erva also debuted in 1899. Alternative spellings sometimes point to an audio influence like talkies or television, but the debuts of Irva and Erva predate most of these technologies.

So does anyone out there have any theories on either Ardis or Irva?

(And if you like doing baby name detective work, check out these other open cases!)

Where did the baby name Corbett come from?

Boxer James Corbett (1866-1933)
James Corbett

One of the most impressive baby name debuts of the late 19th century was Corbett, from 1892.

Corbett was the highest debut on the SSA’s list until 1898 rolled around with the names Manilla, Hobson, and Admiral (all inspired by the Spanish-American War).

According to the U.S. baby name data, at least 23 baby boys were named Corbett in 1892:

  • 1894: 20 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1893: 15 baby boys named Corbett
  • 1892: 23 baby boys named Corbett [debut]
  • 1891: unlisted
  • 1890: unlisted

But the actual number was much higher. The Social Security Death Index indicates that at least 59 people named Corbett were born in 1892:

  • 1894: 67 people named Corbett
  • 1893: 49 people named Corbett
  • 1892: 59 people named Corbett
  • 1891: 5 people named Corbett
  • 1890: 3 people named Corbett

What gave Corbett a boost that year?

Sports!

In September of 1892, boxer James “Gentleman Jim” Corbett defeated John L. Sullivan to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Even if he hadn’t won, the press leading up to the match would have popularized the name enough for it to make a splash. More than half of those baby Corbetts — 31 out of 59 — were born before the match even took place.

(That said, many babies born in those days were not named immediately after birth. So no doubt a portion of the early Corbetts were actually nameless until the day of the event.)

Usage of the name increased again in 1894, which is the year Corbett defended his title against boxer Charley Mitchell.

Jim Corbett ultimately lost the title in 1897, to Bob Fitzsimmons.

(Sullivan, Corbett and Fitzsimmons are the first three middle names of the girl with 25 heavyweight boxing champion-inspired middle names.)

So what does the English surname Corbett mean? It can be traced back to a Norman French nickname meaning “little crow” or “raven.” The nickname was likely given to a person with a dark complexion or dark hair.

Do you like the name Corbett?

Sources:

Image of James J. Corbett from LOC

The top baby name debuts, 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 Great Baby Name Glitch of 1989, the top debut names of 1989 are actually Audreanna and Khiry.

Image by kazuend from Unsplash

Baby Names Inspired by the Spanish-American War

The brief Spanish-American War (1898), which began in April and ended in August, inspired hundreds of patriotic parents in the U.S. to choose war-inspired baby names. Here are some examples:

Maine & Havana

One of the events that led to war was the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Cuba’s Havana Harbor on February 15. The explosion killed more than 260 men. Many people in the U.S. blamed the explosion on Spain.

The baby names Maine and Havana both debuted in the U.S. SSA baby name data in 1898.

  • 1900: unlisted
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 9 baby girls named Maine [debut] (plus 5 more named Mayne)
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

Maine was a one-hit wonder in the data — a rarity that never returned — but Havana returned to the data dozens of times since.

  • 1900: unlisted
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 8 baby girls named Havana [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

The baby name Cuba also saw a spike in usage that year:

  • 1900: 8 baby girls named Cuba
  • 1899: 14 baby girls named Cuba (rank: 884th)
  • 1898: 29 baby girls named Cuba (rank: 597th)
  • 1897: 9 baby girls named Cuba
  • 1896: unlisted
The U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana harbor, 1898.
The U.S.S. Maine sinking in Havana harbor, 1898

According to U.S. Social Security Death Index (SSDI) data — which is more comprehensive than the SSA data for this time period — 25 babies were named Maine, 12 were named Havana, and 79 were named Cuba in 1898.

Dewey & Manila

War was formally declared on April 25. On May 1, the Battle of Manila Bay took place in the Philippines. The U.S. fleet, under the command of Commodore George Dewey, defeated Spain.

Usage of the name Dewey spiked in 1898, both for boys and for girls:

Boys named DeweyGirls named Dewey
1900345 (rank: 75th)9
1899499 (rank: 39th)24 (rank: 632nd)
18981,115 (rank: 19th)104 (rank: 305th)
1897158 (rank: 111th)13 (rank: 904th)
189663 (rank: 224th).

Impressively, Dewey reached the boys’ top 20 in 1898. The spelling variants Dewie and Dewy also debuted that year.

Going back to the SSDI, we see even higher numbers — 6,708 babies named Dewey, 36 named Dewie, and 1 named Dewy in 1898.

We even see evidence of Dewey’s spike on the U.S. Census of 1920:

  • 1910s: over 4,300 people named Dewey were born
  • 1900s: over 11,000 people named Dewey were born
  • 1890s: over 12,100 people named Dewey were born
  • 1880s: over 200 people named Dewey were born
  • 1870s: over 100 people named Dewey were born

An article in the Reading Eagle in 1899 listed ten local babies named for George Dewey, and another article I spotted from decades later joked about starting a George Dewey namesake club.

We see a similar (though less pronounced) spike of in the usage of Manila for baby girls:

  • 1900: 10 baby girls named Manila
  • 1899: 34 baby girls named Manila (rank: 512th)
  • 1898: 104 baby girls named Manila (rank: 306th) [peak usage]
  • 1897: 7 baby girls named Manila [debut]
  • 1896: unlisted

The spelling variant Manilla was the top girl-name debut of 1898, with 35 baby girls (rank: 536th).

Again, the SSDI’s numbers are even higher — 195 babies were named Manila and 118 were named Manilla in 1898.

Hobson, Admiral, Shafter, Maceo, Schley & Philippina

Here are six more war-related names that debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1898.

The baby name Hobson was inspired by Richmond Pearson Hobson, prisoner of war in Cuba. (Hobson was the top boy name debut of 1898, in fact.)

  • 1900: 13 baby boys named Hobson (rank: 713th)
  • 1899: 15 baby boys named Hobson (rank: 511th)
  • 1898: 38 baby boys named Hobson (rank: 311th) [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 161 babies were named Hobson that year.

(Hobson was a handsome Southerner who became a national celebrity following his month-long imprisonment. He became well known for kissing pretty young women as he toured the country. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch jokingly called him “the champion kisser of the universe.”)

The baby name Admiral was the rank of many of the men (e.g. Admiral Dewey, Admiral Sampson, Admiral Schley) who played a part in the war — Dewey especially.

  • 1900: 18 baby boys named Admiral (rank: 579th)
  • 1899: 13 baby boys named Admiral (rank: 549th)
  • 1898: 25 baby boys named Admiral (rank: 394th) [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 154 babies were named Admiral.

The baby name Shafter was inspired by army general William Rufus Shafter, who had command of the U.S. forces in Cuba during the war.

  • 1900: 8 baby boys named Shafter
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 14 baby boys named Shafter (rank: 604th) [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

This was the first and only time Shafter landed in the SSA’s top 1,000. According to the SSDI, at least 58 babies were named Shafter.

The baby name Maceo was inspired by Cuban revolutionary Antonio Maceo, “one of the outstanding guerrilla leaders in nineteenth century Latin America. (He died in late 1896, actually.)

  • 1900: 8 baby boys named Maceo
  • 1899: 9 baby boys named Maceo (rank: 760th)
  • 1898: 13 baby boys named Maceo (rank: 621st) [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

According to the SSDI, at least 34 babies were named Maceo.

The baby name Schley was inspired by Winfield Scott Schley, hero of the Battle of Santiago Bay.

  • 1900: unlisted
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 10 baby boys named Schley (rank: 737th) [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

Like Maine, it was a one-hit wonder in the SSA data, and, like Shafter, it was in the top 1,000 just once. According to the SSDI, at least 39 babies were named Schley.

Finally, the baby name Philippina, possibly inspired by the Philippines, was another one-hit wonder the year of the war:

  • 1900: unlisted
  • 1899: unlisted
  • 1898: 5 baby girls named Philippina [debut]
  • 1897: unlisted
  • 1896: unlisted

Interestingly, only single Philippina is accounted for in the SSDI data.

Sources:

Highest-hitting one-hits: Cinnamon, Destry, Kunta, Yulissa

The baby names below weren’t just one-hit wonders in the U.S. top 1,000 — they were the highest-hitting (700th or above) one-hits in the top 1,000 the single year they appeared in the rankings.

NameRanked…Likely Explanation
Christop241st in 1989Typo*
Yulissa424th in 1997The 1996 telenovela Te Sigo Amando featured a character named Yulissa played by Claudia Ramírez.
Nira463rd in 1933The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was authorized by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933.
Elizabet524th in 1989Typo*
Manilla536th in 1898The first military action of Spanish-American War was the 1898 battle for Manila, the capital of the Philippines.
Jemal549th in 1969The Outcasts (1968-1969), the first TV Western with an African-American co-star, featured a character named Jemal.
Alexande554th in 1989Typo*
Kunta572nd in 1977The 1977 miniseries Roots (based on the Alex Haley novel) featured a character named Kunta Kinte.
Shafter604th in 1898Maj. Gen. William Rufus Shafter’s forces took Santiago (and hence helped end the Spanish-American War) in 1898.
Destry636th in 1964The short-lived 1964 show Destry was a spin-off of the 1939 film “Destry Rides Again.”
Sonji638th in 1966In 1966, Muhammad Ali and his first wife, Sonji Roi, divorced.
Sheilah665th in 1955Sheilah Graham Westbrook (1904-1988) was a gossip columnist during Hollywood’s “Golden Age.”
Clarisa665th in 1994The 1993 Mexican telenovela Clarisa featured a main character named Clarisa. (Another possible factor: The popular Nickelodeon sitcom Clarissa Explains it All (1991-1994) won an Emmy in 1994.
Tatia670th in 1966A notable 1965 episode of the TV show I Spy (1965-1968) featured a character named Tatia Loring.
Alexandr676th in 1989Typo*
Cinnamon700th in 1969The first 3 seasons of the Mission: Impossible TV series (1966-1973) featured a character named Cinnamon Carter. (That’s what put Cinnamon on the map.) Early in 1969, “Cinnamon” by Derek (a.k.a. Johnny Cymbal) was an actual one-hit wonder that peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later the same year, “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young was released.
Beyonce700th in 2001Destiny’s Child (featuring Beyoncé Knowles) won two Grammy Awards in 2001.

I didn’t include one-hits from 1880-1889 (Manerva, Zilpah, Worley, Ambers, Orilla, Simona) or the names that debuted on the 2006 list (Addisyn, Krish, Yandel, Rihanna).

*Here’s more about those typos from 1989.