Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Parents With Presidential Progeny

Bill Reagan thinks he's figured out a way to measure a president's success in office.

To accurately gauge the quality of an administration, we need a single standard that can be applied to any president, a means of measuring public respect outside of historical and partisan biases. I believe I have formed the mathematical equation that allows exactly that measurement:


Where Q is the quality, P is the president, and bn is the frequency of that president’s name appearing as a baby’s name.
This theory took root at a recent dinner outing where a mother at a nearby table issued a shrill, menacing demand: “Madison! RIGHT NOW!” While the woman behind the bellow was calling only one child, there is a particular tone in some parental admonishments that conveys its urgency across blood lines, and a moment later a small parade of Madisons filed past our table. Were these children each an homage to our fourth president, James Madison? [Link]
In a way, they were. The name appears to derive from a movie mermaid who was named for Madison Avenue, which was named for Madison Square, which was named for our fourth president.

I had a great-uncle dubbed "Theodore Roosevelt Dunham." I'm not sure if he was named for the president or for a mermaid of the same name.

Dana Huff

My great-grandfather was Grover Cleveland Willis, but as far as I know, he did not serve as my great-grandfather for two non-consecutive terms.


I have a g-g-grandfather whose name is listed on his birth certificate as Ulysses Simpson Grant Durgan. However, he is buried in rural Maine, not Grant's tomb.


It is interesting, as the article points out, how few parents chose to name their sons after Lincoln. I suppose it had more to do with how he left office than with his performance as president.

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