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Boys’ Names in Limbo: Is Roy ready to return? How about Howard?

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Last week we took a look at the ladies in limbo, the girls’ names not old enough to fall under the Hundred Year Rule, but were most popular from the 1920s to the 1960s, to question whether any of them were eligible for resuscitation.

And now, as promised we perform the same operation on the boys’ list.

We find several differences between the genders.  For one thing, the popularity of the boys’ names tend to stretch over longer periods of time (122 years for Howard, for instance), and clearer syllabic and sound patterns tend to emerge.  In the 1920s and 1930s, for example, we see a preponderance of two-syllable names ending in the letters n and d.  By the fifties and sixties, there are lots of four and five-letter single syllable favorites—the Todds and Troys, Deans and Dales—those surfer dudes we’ve labeled ‘Beach Boys’ in our books.

Not many of these names, except for a few in the pre-1920 list, have shown significant signs of revival—once again, because they’re the names of our grandpas and great-uncles and fathers-in law—the older men in our lives, the men still smoking pipes on Father’s Day cards.

Here too, we’re eliminating the classics—which are so dominant on boys’ lists—and nicknames, and are listing the names in reverse chronological order, showing the periods in which they ranked in the Top 100, and when they reached their highest ranking ever.  And if you’re wondering why so many of them burst into popularity in 1880—they didn’t: that’s simply the first year for which Social Security posts rankings.

1920s

Alvin – 1901-38,  #70 in 1925

Arnold1912-31,  #91 in 1920-21

Bernard—1885 to 1945,   #45 in 1921

Calvin1923-28,  #44 in 1924

Edwin – 1901-41,  #52 in 1922

Eugene1880-1957, #20 in 1927-29

Harold1884-1966,  #12 in 1920-21

Herbert—1880-1946,  #25 in 1928-29

Howard –1880-1958,  #24 in 1920

Leon1885-1942,  #73 in 1926

Leonard –1880-1957,  #37 in 1923

Melvin –1901-55,  #47 in 1926

Raymond –1880-1991m  #15 in 1923-29

Roland—1924-25,  #98 in 1924-25

Russell – 1901-82,  #49 in 1922

Vernon – 1908-37,  #65 in 1920

Wallace –1920-27,  #69 in 1923

Warren – 1917-36, #24 in 1921

1930s

Donald1895-1990,  #6 in 1934

Franklin1932-41,  $33 in 1933

Gerald – 1908-71, #19 in 1936

Gilbert – 1927-32,  #90 in 1930

Gordon – 1911-43,  $70 in 1935

Jerome – 1935-40,  #93 in 1938-39

Kenneth—1889-2001, #14 in 1931-32, 57-58

Marvin –1906-55, #44 in 1933-34

Norman – 1897-1953,  #36 in 1931

1940s

Dennis1934-84,  #16 in 1949

Douglas1929-89, #23 in 1942

Lawrence1911-71,  # 30 in 1945

Roger1921-75,  #22 in 1945

Ronald – 1926-90,  #9 in 1941-43

Wayne1915-71,  #29 in 1946

1950s

Alan –1938-71,  #40 in 1951

Bruce – 1932-70,  #25 in 1952

Craig1947-97,  #39 in 1969

Dale1921-69,  #46 in 1953, 58

Gary –1933-87,  #9 in 1954

Mark1944-2002,  #64 in 1959

Paul1880-99,  #15 in 1958

Randall1949-69,  #53 in 1955

Scott1949-95,  #10 in 1954

1960s

Barry–  1941-69, #61 in 1962

Curtis –1939-85 on and off,  #72 in 1963

Darrell1954-69 on and off,  #86 in 1968

Darryl1960-66,  #69 in 1965

Dean–  1956-69,  #78 in 1967-68

Glenn – 1912-69, #55 in 1962

Gregory1945-96, #21 in 1962-3

Jay1956-70,  #78 in 1960

Jeffrey1945-98,  #9 in 1966

Keith1946-91,  #32 in 1966

Kevin1949-2010, #11 in 1963

Rodney1946-77, #33 in 1965

Todd—1959-85, #28 in 1964, 68-70

Troy  1962-79, #40 in 1967-68

Here are some others that peaked earlier, but continued to be used into our period:

Albert

Alfred

Arthur

Carl

Cecil

Chester

Clarence

Clifford

Clyde

Earl

Edgar

Elmer

Ernest

Floyd

Frank

Harvey

Herman

Leroy

Lester

Lloyd

Luther

Milton

Ralph

Roy

Rudolph

Stanley

Willard

Any of the names on these lists appeal to you?  Do you prefer one decade over another?

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