Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sorry, Emily, Madison, Jacob, Michael and Ethan

Zachary Taylor was born 225 years ago on Nov. 24 in Virginia. I'm guessing that no child has been named after him, specifically, in the past 100 years. Nevertheless, the Virginia Historical Society is giving free admission to anyone named Zachary or Taylor between now and Jan. 3, 2010, during their mini-exhibition of documents and images related to the nation's 12th president.

So who will the VHS see taking advantage of this crr-aaazy offer? Statistics say it will be 17-year-old boys and 13-year-old girls.

According to, Zachary was among the top 20 most popular boys' names from 1992-2002. In Virginia, it reached its peak of popularity, #9, in 1993.

Taylor has been among the top 1000 boys' names since at least 1880, when the SSA online records start. It peaked nationally at #51 in 1993.

Interestingly (if you're a nerd, I guess), Taylor as a girls' name didn't hit the top 1000 until 1979, but by 1993 had reached the top 10, where it stayed until 2000. In Virginia, it reached the zenith of #3 in 1996.

The thing is, people under age 18 never have to pay admission to the VHS anyway, so the museum isn't taking any big risks with this offer, while getting free and feel-good publicity at the same time.

Admission to the VHS is cheap anyway ($3-5 and free on Sundays), and it's an excellent under-appreciated museum, so visit no matter what your name is. I plan to get over there to see the John Brown exhibit soon.

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