Demonstrate your love of country, or give your baby a lofty legacy, by naming him or her after a great American leader.
Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809
Looking for a J name that’s less popular than Jason or Jeffrey? Jefferson is the way to go. It comes with the simple nickname Jeff, and your baby’s namesake would be the chief author of the Declaration of Independence!
James Madison, 1809-1917
Madison ranks in the top 10 on the charts, and it makes a lovely name for either a boy (Mad) or girl (Maddie). Fun fact: The name wasn’t used until 1985, the year after Daryl Hannah’s mermaid character in the movie Splash chose Madison for her name.
John Quincy Adams, 1817-1825
It has the sound of a trendy name, but Quincy actually dates to the 1800s. It’s traditionally a boy’s name, but would sound just as cute on a girl. If you’re planning a large family, Quincy is a great way to honor your fifth child, since “quin” means five.
Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837
This name is right on trend as a surname-turned-first-name, and it comes with the fuss-free nickname Jack. There are other sources of inspiration for Jackson too: It’s a place name (Jackson, Mississippi), and the name of famed artist Jackson Pollack.
Jackson: Names for Boys
William Henry Harrison, 1841-1841; Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893
Harrison has double presidential power — both William Henry and his grandson Benjamin held the name. It’s also the name of mega-popular actor Harrison Ford. And, thanks to Prince Harry, the nickname Harry has become kind of cool.
Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853
With today’s old-is-new-again trend, Millie is a fun choice for a little boy (as Millard) or girl (as Millie or Mildred). The name left the top 1,000 in 1967, then made a comeback in 2009 at 868, where it still sits. It hasn’t gained much traction yet — making it ideal for parents who want to go against the grain.
Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857; Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933-1945
Do double presidential duty with Franklin, honoring two great presidents. Even if you’ve already crossed this name off your list because it sounds old-fashioned, it’s worth a second thought: Franklin has a nice rhythm to it, and the nickname Frankie is cute.
Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857
Pierce has enjoyed a surge in popularity since its 1886 heyday, most likely due to popular Pierces such as Pierce Brosnan and the Boston Celtic Paul Pierce. Pierce actually originated in the Middle Ages, coming from the surname Piers.
Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865
Lincoln is about as presidential as you can get when it comes to baby names. It has been in the top 1,000 names for over a century, and within the last decade has climbed the charts. And the nicknames Linc and Link are cute to boot.
Rutherford B. Hayes, 1877-1881
If you want a presidential name that’s under the radar, Rutherford is it. It made its way onto the charts during the years of Hayes’s presidency, and it’s rarely been in the top 1,000 since. But it’s a solid name, and if you give him the nickname Ford you’ve got a double presidential name (Gerald Ford, 1974-1977).
Chester A. Arthur, 1881-1885
Chester, which means “lives at the camp of the soldiers,” has the retro-cool sound that’s trendy right now. As it’s not among the top 1,000, you won’t have to worry about your kid being one of three Chesters in his first grade class. It’s also the name Tom Hanks chose for one of his sons, who goes by Chet.
Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889, 1893-1897
Grover’s not only associated with a president who served two terms, it’s also famous with the toddler set because of that little blue monster on Sesame Street. The Muppet first appeared in the ’70s, and the name Grover hasn’t made the top 1,000 since 1974 (Perhaps some parents aren’t as excited about the cartoonish connection?), but it’s slump in popularity means you have the chance to give your kid an unusual name.
Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909
A form of Theodorus, this name got the most traction during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. It’s also known for character Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver, on the late 1950s and early 1960s television show Leave it to Beaver. It’s off-the-grid now, and it comes with the fun nickname Teddy, as well as the pretty variation Theodora for girls.
Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921
Wilson — a classic last-name-as-a-first-name — peaked in 1913 and 1918 at number 122, during Woodrow Wilson’s presidency. It’s currently ranked number 587, bucking the assumption that all names that follow current trends become overused, and it comes with a fab nickname inspired by the Prince William of Wales.
Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929
Calvin has been in the top 200 to 300 names for over a century. It has a few associations besides the presidential one — namely, French theologian John Calvin, the designer Calvin Klein, and the cartoon character Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes.” The nickname Cal is short but sweet, and so is Vin (as in Vin Diesel).
Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953
Commonly used as a first name until the mid-20th century, this name is just as well-known for author Truman Capote as it is for the president. Jim Carrey’s 1998 movie The Truman Show helped modernize it.
John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963
Kennedy is almost synonymous with President John F. Kennedy and the rest of the Kennedy clan. It entered the girls’ charts in 1994, and since then has been steadily climbing upward to its current peak position of 110. Alternative spelling Kennedi also ranks in the top 1,000, at number 492. And there’s the original spelling of Cinneidigh, from the Scottish and Irish clan name, for something really different.
Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989
Reagan was first popular for girls, then crossed over into boy territory. Reagan has been rising on the girls’ charts since 1975, but fell off through the ’80s. It currently sits at number 127. Raegan and Regan (used in the early 17th century for a female character in Shakespeare’s King Lear) also rank in the top 1,000. For boys, Reagan entered the charts in 1996, peaked at 595 in ’04, and is now ranked 977.
Bill Clinton, 1993-2001
President Clinton and What Not to Wear‘s Clinton Kelly make an unusual pair, but they’re both notable Clintons. The former president is the most famous bearer of the name, but Kelly’s mainstream celebrity makes the name approachable for the public. Clint is also a solid nickname — think Clint Eastwood.
Barack Obama, 2009-present
This uncommon Hebrew name is way off the radar, even with Barack Obama being the first African-American president, but we predict a surge in popularity at some point. The similar Barak (rhymes with Derek) is also a distinctive option, or you could go mainstream with the nickname Barry.
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