How popular is the baby name Walter 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 Walter.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Walter


Posts that Mention the Name Walter

Popular Baby Names in Providence, RI, 1868

19th-century Providence, Rhode Island
19th-century Providence

Years ago, I discovered three documents with relatively complete lists of births for the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for the years 1866, 1867, and 1868. I’ve already created Providence’s baby name rankings for 1866 and 1867 using the first two documents, and today (finally!) I’ve got the third set of rankings for you.

Let’s start with some stats:

  • 1,762 babies were born in Providence in 1868, by my count. According to the introduction of the document I’m using a source, however, the total number is 1,866. I don’t know how to account for this discrepancy.
  • 1,617 of these babies (791 girls and 826 boys) had names that were known at the time of publication. The other 145 babies got blank spaces. Either their names hadn’t been registered yet, or they hadn’t been named yet, or perhaps these babies died young and never received a name.
  • 284 unique names (143 girl names and 141 boy names) were shared among these 1,617 babies.

And now, on to the names!

Top 5

A quick look at the top 5 girl names and boy names in Providence in 1868:

Top baby girl namesTop baby boy names
1. Mary
2. Catherine
3. Sarah
4. Ellen
5. Margaret
1. John
2. William
3. James
4. Charles
5. George

All Girl Names

  1. Mary, 149 baby girls
  2. Catherine, 39
  3. Sarah, 38
  4. Ellen, 31
  5. Margaret, 28
  6. Elizabeth, 25
  7. Alice, 24
  8. Anna, 20
  9. Ann, 16
  10. Emma, 14
  11. Eliza, 13
  12. Clara & Martha, 11 each (tie)
  13. Hannah & Lucy, 10 each (tie)
  14. Bridget, Grace, Jennie, Julia & Maria, 9 each (5-way tie)
  15. Annie, Florence, Jane, Minnie & Susan, 8 each (5-way tie)
  16. Agnes, Caroline, Cora, Ella & Harriet, 7 each (5-way tie)
  17. Anne, Carrie, Hattie, Ida, Mabel & Nellie, 6 each (6-way tie)
  18. Eva, Joanna, Lydia & Rosanna, 5 each (4-way tie)
  19. Abby, Charlotte, Emily, Jessie, Josephine, Lillian, Lizzie, Louisa, Louise, Marion, Phebe, Rosella & Theresa, 4 each (13-way tie)
  20. Anastasia, Bertha, Edith, Gertrude, Isabella, Nettie, Pearl, Rebecca & Susanna, 3 each (9-way tie)
  21. Ada, Almira, Edna, Fannie, Flora, Frances, Helen, Henrietta, Inez, Laura, Lelia, Lillie, Lottie, Maud, Priscilla & Virginia, 2 each (16-way tie)
  22. Addie, Adelaide, Adelicia, Adeline, Agatha, Allene, Amanda, Amy, Angelica, Antoinette, Arabella, Augusta, Aurelia, B.*, Belle, Bessie, Betsey, Catharine, Celia, Claudia, Della, Eleanor, Eleanora, Estella, Estelle, Esther, Eudavelia, Eulalie, Evelyn, Francenia, Genevieve, Georgia, Honora, Imogene, Jesse, Juliette, Kate, Leonora, Lilla, Lillias, Lorena, Luella, Luetta, Magdalena, Marian, Marietta, Matilda, Mercy, Minerva, Miriam, Myra, Myrtis, Nanoan, Nora, Pauline, Reberta, Rhoda, Roberta, Rosa, Rose, Ruth, Sabrina, Sophia, Stella & Winifred, 1 each (65-way tie)

*What do you think the “B.” might have stood for?

All Boy Names

  1. John, 112 baby boys
  2. William, 68
  3. James, 64
  4. Charles, 52
  5. George, 45
  6. Thomas, 37
  7. Frederick, 25
  8. Henry, 23
  9. Joseph, 22
  10. Edward, 19
  11. Daniel & Patrick, 18 each (tie)
  12. Robert, 17
  13. Frank, 16
  14. Francis, 15
  15. Walter, 13
  16. Michael, 11
  17. Albert, 10
  18. Arthur, 9
  19. Benjamin, Peter & Samuel, 7 each (3-way tie)
  20. Freddie, Harry, Herbert & Stephen, 6 each (4-way tie)
  21. Edwin, Lawrence, Lewis, Martin & Timothy, 5 each (5-way tie)
  22. Bernard, Edmund, Eugene, Louis, Philip & Richard, 4 each (6-way tie)
  23. Alfred, Augustus, Christopher, Eben, Horace, Howard, Hugh, Jeremiah, Matthew & Willard, 3 each (10-way tie)
  24. Abel, Barney, Byron, Dennis, Edgar, Ferdinand, Gilbert, Luke, Max, Nathaniel, Owen, Roger, Solomon & Victor, 2 each (14-way tie)
  25. Alden, Alexis, Allen, Alrick, Amos, Andrew, Ansel, Anson, Archibald, Asa, Ashby, Bartholomew, Calvin, Carlos, Clarence, Clark, Clarke, Clement, Clifford, Collyer, Crolander, Darius, David, Earl, Elisha, Ellis, Eri, Ernest, Erwin, Eusebe, Everett, Felix, Forrest, Foster, Franklin, Fred, Gardner, Jacob, Jason, Jerome, Jireh, Joaneto, Josiah, Jubal, Justin, Lawson, Lodovic, Louis, Lucien, Lyman, Major, Malachi, Manuel, Melbourne, Monroe, Morey, Morris, Myron, Nelson, Nicholas, Olney, Orville, Oscar, Pendleton, Ralph, Reuben, Rolfe, Rowland, Rufus, Simeon, Simon, Steven, Stewart, Theodore, Ulysses*, Volney, Warren, Whiting, Willie & Winchester, 1 each (80-way tie)

*Ulysses was likely named in honor of Ulysses S. Grant, who was elected president in 1868.

Twins

Finally, nineteen sets of twins were born in Providence in 1868. (All of these twin names are accounted for in the rankings above.)

Girl-girl twinsGirl-boy twinsBoy-boy twins
Caroline & Harriet
Lucy & Lydia
Mary & Rosanna
Margaret & Mary
Lizzie & Martha
(blank) & (blank)
Anne & Thomas
Emma & Charles
Florence & William
Hannah & Josiah
Ida & John
Isabella & John
Jennie & Horace
Charles & William
Francis & Robert
George & John
James & John
James & Stephen
(blank) & (blank)

Have any thoughts about these rankings, or any of the specific names above?

Source: Snow, Edwin M. Alphabetical Lists of the Names of Persons Deceased, Born and Married in the City of Providence. Number three. Providence: Millard & Harker, 1870.

Popular Baby Names on PEI, 2021

prince edward island

According to Prince Edward Island’s Vital Statistics Office, the most popular baby names on the island in 2021 were Alice and Oliver.

Here are PEI’s top girl names and top boy names of 2021:

Girl Names

  1. Alice, 9 baby girls
  2. Scarlett, 8
  3. Grace, Isla & Ivy, 6 each (3-way tie)
  4. Amelia, Anna, Annie, Ava, Charlotte, Ella, Ellie, Everly, Isabella, Lexi, Lucy, Maeve, Olivia, Sophia, Sophie & Willow, 5 each (16-way tie)
  5. Adeline, Eliza, Eloise, Evelyn, Georgia, Katherine, Kinsley, Nova* & Sadie, 4 each (9-way tie)
  6. Abigail, Adalyn, Addison, Brynlee, Claire, Clara, Emery, Iris, Lydia, Lyla, Nina, Sarah & Skylar, 3 each (13-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Oliver, 13 baby boys
  2. Jack & Theo, 11 each (tie)
  3. Liam, 9
  4. Austin, Ezra, Jackson, Leo & Noah, 8 each (5-way tie)
  5. Benjamin, Emmett, Ethan, Lucas* & Theodore, 7 each (5-way tie)
  6. Charlie, Henry, Luca & William, 6 each (4-way tie)
  7. Gavin, Hudson, James, Owen & Rowan, 5 each (5-way tie)
  8. Arlo, Beau, Bennett, Elijah, Elliot, Everett, Finn, Levi, Lincoln, Max, Remy, Ryker, Sawyer, Simon, Walter & Weston, 4 each (16-way tie)

These rankings are based on data covering the year up to December 13th. By that date, 619 baby girls and 704 baby boys had been born on the island.

Unexpectedly, PEI released a complete — albeit provisional — list of baby names this time around. So this year we get to check out some of the rare names bestowed just once on the island last year:

Unique Girl NamesUnique Boy Names
Anamika, Athaliah, Brayleigh, Cloud Jrai, Drienne, Élodie, Fearyn, Gray, Haddow, Ishani, Jorie, Kasia, Lorriel, Meekhal, Morayo, Neeltje, Olive-Belle, Paloma, Rilla, Ruthy, Seren, Sudisha, Tomi, Valeah, ZeraAbdul-Rahman, Bane, Berrick, Chivir, Draven, Elon, Felix, Grayden, Hanzebriel, Ibaad, Jordy, Kelton, Leonidas, Maniriho, Marchbank, Najid, Oaks, Porter, Ranaridh, Revel, Sulla, Tully, Wyndham, Yanick, Zeyang

The boy name Bane may have been inspired by the DC Comics supervillain Bane, and the boy name Ranaridh is similar to the name of former Cambodian prime minister Norodom Ranariddh, who died in late 2021.

(More of PEI’s unique baby names can be found on Patreon.)

Finally, in 2020, the top baby names on the island were Nora/Charlotte (tie) and Hudson.

*Nova and Lucas might actually be 4th-place names. My source included conflicting information.

Source: Alice, Oliver most popular P.E.I. baby names in 2021 (12/29)

Where did the baby name Brittania come from?

Brittania advertisement

In 1979 and 1980, four very similar names — Brittania, Brittanya, Britania and Britanya — all popped up in the U.S. baby name data:

BrittaniaBrittanyaBritaniaBritanya
198313 baby girls...
198213 baby girls6 baby girls..
198135 baby girls 7 baby girls9 baby girls10 baby girls
198060 baby girls [peak]19 baby girls [debut]13 baby girls [debut]16 baby girls [debut]
19795 baby girls [debut]...
1978....
1977....

What put them there?

A marketing campaign for Brittania blue jeans.

Sportswear brand Brittania (pronounced brih-TAN-yah) was launched in Seattle in 1973 by businessman Walter Schoenfeld.

He was inspired to start selling “washed” blue jeans to Americans after spotting “a pair of faded blue denim slacks in the window of a London shop.” (Brittania jeans were “fashionable alternatives to the dark denim Levi’s that were so prevalent at that time.”)

Sales of Britannia jeans increased throughout the 1970s:

In less than 10 years, Brittania Sportswear was selling 30 million pairs a year and Brittania — Schoenfeld spelled it that way to distinguish his brand from the Royal Yacht Britannia — had a team of 40 to 50 designers and about 400 employees in Seattle.

Then, in 1980, Schoenfeld made a “decision which ran against his better judgment: Brittania embarked on the first full-scale advertising campaign in its history.”

Brittania advertisement, 1981
“My home is Texas but I live in Brittania!”

That year, the company spend about $9 million on advertising. The result was the “My home is __ but I live in Brittania” marketing campaign.

The campaign was very successful; brand recognition increased from 48% in 1978 to 96% in 1980.

But it also created a new problem: too much demand for the product. By the spring of 1980, the company “had a 50 percent increase in orders over the previous year, but lacked production capacity to fill them.”

This situation, along with several other issues, led the company to file for bankruptcy protection in 1983. Several years after that, it was purchased by Levi Strauss.

Brittania advertisement

Brittania may not be around anymore, but, as the very first designer jeans company in the U.S., it paved the way for brands like Jordache, Murjani, and Chardon.

It also helped kick the baby name Brittany into high gear circa 1980:

popularity graph for the baby name Brittany
  • 1983: 4,377 baby girls named Brittany [64th]
  • 1982: 3,102 baby girls named Brittany [94th]
  • 1981: 1,714 baby girls named Brittany [165th]
  • 1980: 1,406 baby girls named Brittany [190th]
  • 1979: 792 baby girls named Brittany [300th]
  • 1978: 630 baby girls named Brittany [345th]
  • 1977: 488 baby girls named Brittany [419th]

What are your thoughts on the baby name Brittania? (Do you like it more or less than Brittany?)

Sources:

P.S. Did you know that Seattle’s apparel industry was born in the wake of the Klondike gold rush? Many prospectors bought provisions in Seattle before heading north to Alaska. Apparel companies founded in Seattle include Filson (1897), Nordstrom (1901), and Eddie Bauer (1920).

Rexall baby names: Juneve, Jonteel, Cara Nome

juneve, cosmetics, 1924, baby name, brand name
Juneve advertisement, circa 1924

The United Drug Company — a cooperative of dozens of independently-owned drugstores — was founded by businessman Louis K. Liggett in Boston in 1902.

The affiliated drug stores soon began selling medicines and other products under the brand name Rexall. (Eventually, “Rexall” became the name of thousands of drug stores across the U.S. and Canada.)

Rexall products included perfumed toiletries — talcum power, complexion powder, cold cream, vanishing cream, toilet soap, toilet water, etc. — plus the perfumes themselves. And, interestingly, some of the fragrance names had a small influence on U.S. baby names.

I don’t know precisely when each fragrance was put on the market, so I’ll just list them alphabetically…

Cara Nome

This is a fun one to start with because the fragrance name actually refers to a name.

United Drug’s Cara Nome fragrance was introduced around 1918 and saw its best sales in the 1920s. The Italian name, which translates to “dearest name,” was apparently inspired by an aria called “Caro nome che il mio cor” from the Verdi opera Rigoletto. (In case you’re wondering, the “caro nome” being referred to in the song is Gualtier.)

I found several people in the records named Cara Nome or Caranome:

  • Betty Cara Nome Patesel, b. 1923 in Indiana
  • Cara Nome Schemun, b. circa 1926 in North Dakota
  • Cara Nome Grable, b. 1929 in Michigan
  • Caranome Haag, b. circa 1931 in Wisconsin
  • Caranome Vollman, b. circa 1932 in Nebraska
  • Caranome Stiffey, b. circa 1933 in Pennsylvania
  • Caranome Fox, b. circa 1936 in Oklahoma
  • Caranome Cody, b. 1936 in Tennessee

In Italian, nome is pronounced noh-may (2 syllables). I don’t know how any of the people above pronounced their names, though.

Jeanice

Bouquet Jeanice, introduced around 1913, was one of United Drug’s earliest fragrances. It wasn’t on the market under the name “Bouquet Jeanice” very long, though, because the name was changed to “Bouquet Laurèce” (see below) in late 1915 due to a trademark dispute.

Still, the baby name Jeanice managed to debut in the U.S. baby name data during that short span of time, in 1915:

  • 1917: 11 baby girls named Jeanice
  • 1916: 11 baby girls named Jeanice
  • 1915: 7 baby girls named Jeanice [debut]
  • 1914: unlisted
  • 1913: unlisted

A lot of Jean-names had appeared in the data up to this point, but none of them ended with an “-s” sound.

Jonteel

United Drug introduced Jonteel products in late 1917 and marketed them heavily with full-page color advertisements in major women’s magazines (like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies’ Home Journal).

French names (or French sounding names) were all the rage for cosmetics at the time, and the name Jonteel — presumably based on the French word gentil, meaning “kind, courteous” — fit the trendy perfectly. (In fact, the name that was originally proposed “by a copywriter working for United Drug’s advertising manager” was Caresse-Jonteel, but the “Caresse” part was ultimately dropped.)

I found several people in the records with the name Jonteel:

Juneve

Juneve, pronounced “June Eve,” wasn’t one of United Drug’s more successful scents. It was introduced in 1923, seems to have been off the market entirely by 1928.

Despite this, it popped up on quite a few birth certificates. Here are the Juneves I found that were born during that window of time:

  • Juneve Key, b. December 1923 in Missouri
  • Mary Juneve Jones, b. 1924 in Utah
  • Juneve Black, b. circa 1924 in Kansas
  • Juneve Alsaida Foreman, b. 1924 in Michigan
  • Juneve Jura, b. circa 1924 in Illinois
  • Frances Juneve Smith, b. 1924 in Texas
  • Juneve Carlson, b. circa 1925 in Wisconsin
  • Juneve Massad, b. circa 1925 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve George, b. circa 1925 in Texas
  • Juneve Abraham, b. circa 1925 in Kansas
  • Clara Juneve Morris, b. 1925 in Texas
  • Juneve Friedrick, b. circa 1925 in Texas
  • Ruth Juneve Dehut, b. circa 1925 in Nebraska
  • Juneve Babcock, b. 1925 in Oregon
  • Juneve Gibbs, b. circa 1926 in North Carolina
  • Joyce Juneve Gutzmann, b. 1926 in Minnesota
  • Juneve Hodges, b. circa 1927 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve Malouf, b. circa 1927 in Texas
  • Juneve Fuller, b. 1927 in California
  • Gwendolyn Juneve Gepford, b. 1928 in Oklahoma
  • Juneve Malstrom, b. circa 1928 in Minnesota

The name Juneve also appeared a single time in the U.S. baby name data, the year after the scent was introduced:

  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted
  • 1924: 5 baby girls named Juneve [debut]
  • 1923: unlisted
  • 1922: unlisted

Laurece

Bouquet Laurèce was the new name for Bouquet Jeanice (see above). Advertisements for Bouquet Laurèce started appearing in the papers in late 1915, but I could find no mention of the scent after 1917, so apparently it was only on the market for a couple of years. But that was enough for the name Laurece to become a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1919: unlisted
  • 1918: unlisted
  • 1917: 6 baby girls named Laurece [debut]
  • 1916: unlisted
  • 1915: unlisted

Shari

United Drug introduced a scent called Shari in early 1926 with ads featuring copy like this:

Shari is something new in toilet goods. Shari appeals to most every woman and tends to add to personal loveliness. The distinctive fragrance of Shari perfume incorporated in the following beauty aids (now on sale at all our stores) will be the cause of their use on thousands of dressing tables during 1926.

Shari products proved popular, and the scent was on the market all the way until the early 1940s.

The baby name Shari debuted in the SSA data in 1927 and — like the Shari products themselves — gained momentum over the years that followed.

  • 1929: 10 baby girls named Shari
  • 1928: 8 baby girls named Shari
  • 1927: 9 baby girls named Shari [debut]
  • 1926: unlisted
  • 1925: unlisted

(Similar names like Sharon and Sherry were also slowly picking up steam in the 1920s. All three names would go on to see peak usage in the middle decades of the 20th century.)

Violet Dulce

United Drug’s Violet Dulce fragrance was introduced in the early 1910s — even earlier than Bouquet Jeanice. The name Violet was already relatively popular for newborns at that time, but I did find a single example of a newborn with the first-middle combo “Violet Dulce”:

  • Violet Dulce Starr, b. 1913 in Washington state

Rexall

Finally, I’ll mention that the baby name Rexall has popped up in the data a handful of times (1910s-1950s), though the usage doesn’t seem to follow any patterns.

How was the word coined? Here’s the story:

[Liggett] asked Walter Jones Willson, his office boy and an amateur linguist, to invent the brand name. It had to be short, distinctive, original, and easy to pronounce; it also had to look good in type and meet the legal requirements for a trademark. Willson submitted a long list of coined words, including “Rexal,” to Liggett, who added another “l.” Since “rex” was the Latin word for king, the new name supposedly meant “king of all.” (According to another explanation, “Rexall” stood for “RX for all.”)

Before settling upon “Rexall,” Liggett had considered using “Saxona” as the name of the brand.


Do you like any of the perfume names above? Would you give any of them to a modern-day baby?

Sources:

How did Kenesaw Mountain Landis get his name?

Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944)
Kenesaw Mountain Landis

If you know Major League Baseball history, no doubt you’re familiar with Kenesaw Mountain “Ken” Landis, who served as professional baseball’s first commissioner from 1921 to 1944.

But…do you know how he got that unusual name?

In 1862 — in the middle of the Civil War — Ken’s father, Dr. Abraham Landis, left his family behind in Ohio to serve as a surgeon in the Union Army. (His family, at that time, consisted of wife Mary and five young children.)

Abraham was severely wounded at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia on June 27, 1864. He spent many weeks in the hospital recovering before he was finally able to return home.

His sixth child, a son, arrived on November 20, 1866 — long after the war was over.

[I]t took Dr. and Mrs. Landis some time to decide on his name. In fact, the delay in providing a name prompted both family and community members to suggest a deluge of different names. Mary Landis did not like the name Abraham, so when Dr. Landis suggested calling their son “Kenesaw,” the name and alternate spelling stuck. Clearly, the site of the doctor’s personal tragedy remained in his thoughts.

The name of the mountain is an Anglicized form of the Cherokee name Gahneesah, which means “burial ground” or “place of the dead.”

(All of Ken’s eventual six siblings had more ordinary names: Katherine, Frances, Walter, Charles, John, and Frederick.)

Ken went on to pass the bar exam and attend law school (in that order) and, by the early 1890s, was practicing law in Chicago. Within a couple of years, he was offered (and accepted) a job in the federal government:

In the Union Army, Abraham Landis was under the command of Lt. Col. Walter Quinton Gresham during Sherman’s advance through Tennessee and Georgia. […] In 1893 Gresham was appointed secretary of state by President Grover Cleveland. He needed a personal secretary and he chose a 26-year-old Chicago attorney with no knowledge of foreign affairs, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

When Gresham unexpectedly died in 1895, Grover Cleveland offered Ken the post of minister to Venezuela. Ken declined this offer to return to private practice in Chicago and to get married to his fiancée, Winifred Reed.

A year later, Kenesaw and Winifred welcomed their first child, a son named Reed Gresham Landis — middle name in honor of Ken’s late boss (and his father’s former commander).

I have more to say about Kenesaw Mountain Landis, but I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. In the meanwhile, here’s a post about Malvern Hill — another unusual baby name inspired by a Civil War battle/location.

Sources: