Did President Warren G. Harding Spark a Baby Naming Trend?

Child named Warren Harding Jennings, aged 5 months, January 1, 1921
In the large photograph collection transferred to the Historical Society from the now defunct Harding Memorial Association we found a group of photographs of babies and young children named Warren, or in two cases Harding. Do the photographs indicate that Harding’s 1920 election to the presidency sparked a baby naming trend? Some further checking seems to show that yes, Harding’s election did provide a short burst of popularity for the name Warren. The Social Security Administration’s Popular Baby Names page provides data on naming trends in the United States for more than a century. The popularity of names is determined based on the number of children born during a year that were given particular names.

Child named Warren Harding Callahan who was born in July 1920, a few months before Harding’s election.
During the 1910s the name Warren was gaining in popularity, steadily rising from 122nd place in 1910 to 82nd place in 1919. The name’s largest jump came in 1920 when it ranked 39th. It jumped again in 1921 ranking 24th that year. Alas, 1921 was Warren’s peak of popularity as a name for male infants. It steadily declines in popularity throughout the 20th century. The most recent naming data from 2010 ranks Warren 483rd. Harding as a first name does not appear to have caught on. Neither did President Harding’s middle name – Gamaliel. We will continue share when we come across interesting items in our collections.


Posted June 6, 2011
Topics: Presidents & Politics

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