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Category: 1960s names

Baby Names: Once so hot, now so not

shades

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.

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5622045902_ecd6b46809

One of my favorite poems, for reasons that will soon be obvious, is called “Mourning the Dying American Female Names,” by Hunt Hawkins.  You can read the whole poem here, but I’ll give you a few choice lines:

Many names are almost gone: Gertrude, Myrtle,

Agnes, Bernice, Hortense, Edna, Doris, and Hilda,

They were wide women, cotton-clothed, early rising.

You had to move your mouth to say their names,

and they meant strength, speak, battle, and victory.

While many of the names Hawkins mourns do indeed seem to be dying, a few he goes on to mention  — Ada, Florence, and Edith– are stirring back to life.

But then there are the new names headed toward obscurity, my own among them.

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nature1

Today’s Question of the Week is another two-parter:  How do you feel about nature names in general and what are your particular favorites?

This subject obviously covers a broad field, encompassing botanical and zoological names, water and weather, earth and sky. Is there one that particularly conjures up for you a special  beachy or prairie landscape, a favorite flower or bird?

Many names provided by Mother Nature have become so widespread and accepted as people names  that they’ve moved a step away from their direct association with their origins–Lily, say, or Laurel or Willow, so that perhaps  most flower names might be exempt from the discussion.  Unless maybe there’s a line to be drawn between Rose and Primrose,  Daffodil and Daisy?

Then there are those green names that still retain the groovy-hazy-Hippie-Flower-Child aura of the sixties (eg Sunshine, Rainbow), which they’ve never quite managed to shake off and which might make them offputting to some.

So where do you stand?  Do you like nature names as a genre?  Just flower names?

What is you favorite nature name?

Would/did you use one for your child?

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Boys’ Names Ins and Outs

baby-boy

Yesterday we took a look at the girls’ names moving in and out of fashion and now we turn our attention to their brothers.

And here we find a somewhat different picture.

Overall, it confirms the fact that there is much greater consistency on the boys’ side of the fence, with a huge proportion of the names already established in the Top 100 list of 1880, and very few new ones entering in the succeeding years: only one or two per decade, with a large number of them having Irish roots.

Names that we might think of as fairly recent favorites were already on the list in the 1880s: Cameron, Carson, Carter, Chase, Cole and Cooper, Hunter and Haydn, for example. (Further evidence of the 100-year rule.)

So, again, here they are, arranged by decade, and then giving the particular years that they were among the Top 100.

1880s

  • Angel: 1888, 1891, 1899, 1907-1910, 1912-1914, 1916-2009
  • Blake: 1883, 1886, 1892-1894, 1897, 1903, 1906, 1911, 1920-21, 1933, 1942-1943, 1945-2009
  • Bryan: 1883, 1886, 1890, 1892, 1894-2009
  • Caleb: 1880-1907, 1909-1911, 1914-1915, 1917-1918, 1920, 1922, 1925, 1964, 1966, 1968-1009
  • Cameron: 1882-1885m 1888, 1895-1896, 1900, 1911-1912, 1916, 1920-1924, 1926, 1930-1931, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1941-2009
  • Carson: 1880-1882, 1884-1892, 1894-1896, 1898-2009
  • Carter: 1881, 1883-1977, 1980-2009
  • Chase: 1885, 1972-2009
  • Cole: 1886, 1912, 1951, 1954-1965, 1967-2009
  • Cooper: 1882, 1885-1887, 1889, 1982, 1984-2009
  • Diego: 1887, 1958, 1963-2009
  • Dominic: 1885, 1887, 1890-1892, 1894-2009
  • Ethan: 1882, 1884, 1886-1887, 1891, 1893, 1896, 1898, 1901, 1952, 1954, 1956-2009
  • Hayden: 1880, 1885, 1888-1892, 1895-1901, 1903-1930, 1922-1936, 1941-1944, 1947, 1986-2009
  • Hunter: 1880-1886, 1888-1902, 1904-1920, 1922-1924, 1926-1929, 1931-1932, 1934-1935, 1945-1950, 1954, 1956-2009
  • Isaiah: 1880-1968, 1971-2009
  • Jason: 1880-1898, 1900-2009
  • Jesus: 1880-1890, 1892-2009
  • Jordan: 1880-1889, 1891-1901, 1903-1910, 1912-1915, 1917, 1919-2009
  • Josiah: 1880-1896, 1898-1899, 1903-1904, 1906-1907, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1975-2009
  • Justin: 1880-1881, 1884-1886, 1888-1894, 1896-2009

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dollnames

In one of my extra-curricular, non-name  lives, I write about the field of collectibles and in doing so, I’ve amassed several shelves full of books on the subject of dolls. I’ve always been intrigued (surprise, surprise) by the names these kiddie playthings have been given by their makers during various periods, making them kind of  time capsules of trends and popularity during different eras. Of course, the manufacturers tried to pick names that they thought would be especially appealing and attractive to little girls.

1890s-1910s
Unfortunately, few of the gorgeous early French, German and other bebe dolls were given names–they would more likely be identified as “Baby Open-Mouth, Glass Eyes” or “Molded Blonde Hair Child,” leaving the actual bestowing of a name up to the child playing with it. But those with an official ID had names that were typical of their time:

ALMA
FLORENCE
HILDA
JEANETTE
KATIE
LILLY
MABEL
MARIE

1920s
The Patsy series introduced the double names that would soon become prevalent in the population of dollyland. Most of the other names were relatively formal and conventional, some a little on the fancy side.

BENEDETTA
EDWINA
GLORIA
HENRIETTE
LAURA
MARILEE
NORMA
PATSY, PATSY ANN, PATSY JOAN, PATSY RUTH, PATSY MAE, PATSY LOU
PHYLLIS
PRISCILLA
RITA
ROBERTA
ROSEMARY

1930s
The inclusion of middle names like Ann and Lee now became quasi-ubiquitous; also seen are time-stamped Bobbsey Twinish nicknames like Flossie and Ginger.

BARBARA ANN, BARBARA LOU
DORA LEE
FLOSSIE
GINGER
HILDA
LUCIA (Italian doll)
MARY LEE
JUNE
NANCY LEE
PATRICIA
PEGGY JEAN
ROBERTA
SALLY
SHIRLEY (Temple, of course)
SUZANNE, SUZETTE
WENDY, WENDY-ANN

1940s
Nickname names take over–Barbara Ann is now Babs and Patricia has become Patty.

BABS
BETTY JANE
CYNTHIA
DEBBY
JEAN
JENNIE
JUDY
JULIE
MAGGIE
MARY JANE
PATTY
PEGGY
POLLY
SUE
TRUDY
VALERIE
VELVA
WANDA


A wide range of names for early Baby Boomers, with fresher choices like Karen, Cheryl and Cindy entering the mix.

1950s

APRIL
BECKY
BERYL
BETSY
BINNIE
BONNIE
CAROL
CHERYL
CINDY
CONNIE
DAWN
EDIE
ELISE
ELLIE
ELOISE
GINNY
HOPE
IVA
JAN
JILL
JULIE
KAREN
KAY
LINDA
LUCY
MARGIE
MARGOT
MUFFIE
NAN/NANETTE
PAMELA
PAT
POSIE
ROSEMARY
RUTHIE
SANDRA SUE
SARA ANN
SARALEE
SUSIE
TAFFY
TINA
TONI
WANDA
WENDY
WINNIE

1960s
Includes names emerging from and reflecting popular culture, such as First Lady Jacqueline, Marlo, Tabitha and Tammy.

BARBIE (debuted in 1959)
CATHY
COCO
CRISSY
ELISE
FRANCIE
HEIDI
JANIE
JACQUELINE
KATIE
LESLIE
LIZ
MARLO
MARY ELLEN
MIDGE
POLLY
SALLY
STACEY
TABITHA
TAMMY

1970s
Names become much more imaginative in the Swinging 70s, with new and unconventional choices popping up on doll boxes, including Cricket, Harmony, Tiffany, Tuesday and Velvet.

BLYTHE
CARA
CINNAMON
CORA
CYNTHIA
CRISSY
CRICKET
DARCI
DAWN
DINA
GLORI
HARMONY
HEATHER LYNN
KERRY
MELANIE
MIA
SASHA
SHERYL
STEFFIE
TARA
TIFFANY
TUESDAY
VELVET

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