Category: Historic Names
By Lauren Apfel
As both a classicist and a lover of names, I find myself in a unique position. On the one hand, I have been exposed, from a relatively young age, to a swathe of wonderful monikers that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar: Achilles, Antigone, Andromache (to mention a few off the top of my head that all happen to start with A). On the other hand, I have spent many years studying and internalizing the tales of woe that accompany these names. Achilles, for instance, is not just an interesting three-syllable option to me with the benefit of a double letter. He is an angry man, with a delicate ego, who spent a long time sulking in his tent before embarking on a brutal killing spree. Not exactly the connotation I was looking for, you can imagine, when it came to naming my sons.
Okay, to be fair, I was never really tempted to call any of my sons Achilles. But there are some ancient Greek names that make me swoon, names I might even have considered using for my own modern offspring had their backstories not been so utterly problematic. Here are five:
Baseball is a game of statistics and trivia, but there’s one area that often goes unexamined: the names of baseball players.
So with the World Series starting next week, it seemed like a good time to explore the rich trove of amazing names that the sport has to offer.
I took to this task by poring over the active rosters of all 30 major league teams, looking for naming patterns that were unique to the sport. I also studied the 300-plus players inducted into the Hall of Fame. That’s where you’ll find the real motherlode of naming awesomeness.
Many classic baseball names may be a tough sell for today’s parents (Honus, anyone?). But they could provide inspiration if you’re looking for offbeat choices associated with America‘s pastime. And who knows…maybe with the right fate-sealing name, your kid will be able to support you later as a shortstop for the Astros.
Days of apple-picking and costume-creating approach as September gives way to cool, crisp October. Despite being the tenth month of the year in the modern day, October was, in fact, number eight when the Roman calendar was still used. Along with gorgeous gold and crimson leaves, October has an assortment of lovely names to offer. Interesting monikers of this month include vintage treasures like Theodore, classics like Arthur and Margaret, and a few surprises sure to intrigue any Berry.
Like millions of Americans, I was riveted by the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts that aired this month on PBS. (I didn’t manage to watch all of 14 hours, but I hope to catch up eventually.)
I adore the first names in the Roosevelt family tree (Alice, Anna, Edith, Eleanor, Elliot, Ethel and Theodore are probably my favorites). But the documentary also got me thinking about Roosevelt itself, which the family’s charisma helped turn into a surprisingly common baby name.
In 1905, when Teddy Roosevelt was beginning his second term as president, his surname became the 91st most popular baby name in America. At the time, Roosevelt ranked higher than Stephen, Jacob, Alexander, Patrick or Philip.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
The surprise top name for boys in 2013 was the Old Testament Noah, followed by the not so surprisingly high-on-the-list Jacob, Ethan, Daniel, Benjamin, David, Joseph, Joshua and Samuel—in other words many of the same biblical boys’ names that have been recycled for eons.
I thought that today, in commemoration of the Jewish High Holy Days, we would shake things up a bit and look at some Bible names that aren’t even in the Top 1000, but might be worthy of some consideration