Category: presidential names
It’s been said that history is written by the victors. But losers leave a legacy of their own.
That’s the case with U.S. presidential elections, in which fondly remembered statesmen often wind up as the runner-up — not the chief executive.
In an earlier column, I examined the names of American presidents (specifically, their surnames) and whether a candidate’s rise to power influences baby-name trends.
This time around I’d like to look at names of presidential losers.
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.