Oh, Baby

The Social Security Administration just released Maryland’s 2016 Top 100 baby names based on Social Security card application data.

For boys, the top five names were Noah, Mason, Liam, Ethan and Daniel. For girls, Ava, Olivia, Emma, Charlotte. and Sophia made Maryland’s top five.

In 1912, one of The Baltimore Sun’s Sunday contests tackled the question “Who Should Name the Baby?” Not surprisingly, folks had a range of opinions and solutions:

Mrs. M. Guerin thought that the father should name the baby if it was a boy and the mother should name the baby if it was a girl. “In that way there would be no dispute on either side. I am a mother myself and know something about it,” she wrote.

Mrs. J.J. Conway believed that the father should be the first to name the baby, if it was a boy, but that it should be a name that both parents agree on. “Very often men leave everything to the women,” she wrote. “In that case there are no questions, simply because the woman has made him feel she is fully capable of managing her affairs, but, on the other hand, she may be selfish and want her husband to have no say. … Consult the father. Although he may have many faults, he is the child’s father and he likes to be considered.”

The mother and her relatives should get the honor of naming the baby, opined Mrs. C. Rothstien. “I think that the husband and his people should stand by while the wife and her people name the child, because the husband supplies the surname,” she wrote. “It would not be right for him to give it both names, because it would make the wife’s people angry.”

Mrs. J.J. O’Connell felt the same. “As the wife suffers all the danger and pangs, surely she should be awarded the slight recompense of being allowed to say what name the child should bear. The modern idea is to regard marriage as a social partnership, wherein the rights of husband and wife are equal and mutual, and it follows that if the husband has a right to give the child its surname, then the wife, on her side of the family, should have the right to complete the balance of the name.”

Katie L. Thomas believed that the couple should be the one to do the honors. “…[A]nd the rest of the family should have confidence enough in them to keep ‘hands off,’” she wrote. “I am sure that if there is true love between the mother and father, and as the new arrival only increases and cements that love, there will be little trouble for the parents to select a name agreeable to both.”

So, 105 years later, who do you think should name the baby? Leave your answer in the comments!

Sources: The Baltimore Sun, September 22, 1912

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