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Baby Names: Once so hot, now so not

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The history of baby names is littered with former stars that burned brightly for a decade or two, only to fade from view.

It’s hard to believe, from this vantage point, that Gladys or Edna ever made the Top 20, that names such as Harold or Larry were ever popular enough to dominate an entire decade.

It’s difficult to see Irene and Albert as the Isabella and Alexander of their day, to view Tammy or Tiffany as the height of cool.

Many of these once-hot names are lovely, even classic.  They’re just not as stylish as they once were (although some, especially from the earlier decades, are on their way back in).

We looked at the Top 25 baby names for each decade of the 20th century to pick out choices that were hot back them, and are not today.  Included here are Old People Names like Bertha and Clarence, Baby Boomer names such as Karen and Gary, today’s mom and dad names such as Jennifer and Jason, and names like Taylor and Tyler that are beginning to be heard much more often on babysitters than on babies.

Our choices, with their ranking for the decade when they were most popular:

1900s

girls

Mary, #1
Helen, #2
Margaret, #3
Anna, #4
Ruth, #5
Dorothy, #7
Marie, #8
Florence, #9
Mildred, #10
Gladys, #14
Bertha, #20

boys

George, #4
Robert, #6
Frank, #8
Willie, #14
Clarence, #17

1910s

girls

Frances, #9
Virginia, #10
Irene, #17
Edna, #19
Gladys. #21

boys

Walter, #11
Harold, #12
Paul, #14
Raymond, #16
Albert, #17
Arthur, #18

1920s

girls

Betty, #4
Doris, #8
Jean, #16
Shirley, #17
Lois, #22

boys

Kenneth, #19

1930s

girls 

Barbara, #3
Shirley, #4
Joan, #7
Joyce, #12
Marilyn, #16
Beverly, #20

boys

Jack, #18
Billy, #20
Gerald, #21

1940s

girls

Linda, #2
Carol, #5
Sandra, #6
Nancy, #7
Sharon, #8
Judith, #9

boys

Ronald, #10
Donald, #12
Gary, #14
Jerry, #19

1950s

girls

Patricia, #3
Susan, #4
Deborah, #5 and Debra, #7
Karen, #8
Donna, #10

 boys

Richard, #7
Mark, #9
Larry, #18
Steven, #11 and Stephen, #20

1960s

girls 

Lisa, #1
Kimberly, #5
Michelle, #9
Cynthia, #10
Tammy, #13
Lori, #15
Brenda, #19

boys

Michael, #1
Jeffrey, #10
Timothy, #13
Kevin, #14
Scott, #15

1970s

girls 

Jennifer, #1
Amy, #2
Melissa, #3
Angela, #7
Heather, #8

boys

Jason, #3
Brian, #8
Eric, #14

1980s

Jessica, #1
Amanda, #3
Stephanie, #6
Nicole, #8
Tiffany, #11
Amber, #13

boys

Joshua, #4
Justin, #12
Ryan, #14

1990s

girls 

Ashley, #2
Brittany, #7
Taylor, #9
Megan, #10
Kayla, #12

boys

Andrew, #7
Tyler, #9
Brandon, #11
Austin, #22

 Illustration from the hilarious Awkward Family Photos.

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