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Category: Barbie

Baby Name Timeline

shirley-temple-w-doll

When we were preparing the article “Bizarre Baby Names: A Growing Trend?” for the July issue of  Reader’s Digest magazine that’s just hit the stands, we put together a lonnnnnng timeline of the key markers in American name history–much longer than they could possibly use with the story.  So here we offer you some of the dates and events that you won’t find in the magazine.

1620.  The Mayflower arrives bearing 102 passengers, mostly with classic English names, but also one Degory, one Resolved, one Remember, one Wrestling, and one Oceanus, who was born mid-voyage.

1750s. Enter classical names (Homer, Horace), chivalrous names (Arthur, Elaine), and romantic girls (Lavinia, Rosalind).  More boys are being called Junior.

1768. Birth of Dolley Madison, one of the increasing number of babies with nicknames on their birth certificates.

1825. John Quincy Adams is the first President to have a middle name, a rarity at this time, when it becomes fashionable to use the mother’s maiden name.

1845. The Irish famine sends masses of Bridgets and Patricks to America.

1925. Girls’ names ending in ‘s’ are fashionable–Gladys, Doris, Phyllis, Lois; also those ending in een (Kathleen) and ette (Paulette).

1946. Publication of Dr. Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care encourages parents to be more relaxed, confident and collaborative: husbands participate more in child care–and baby naming.

1950.  Linda unseats the seemingly unseatable Mary as the number one name for girls.

1959. First Gidget movie released; surfer dude names like Gary, Scott, Dwayne and Bruce catch the wave.

1959.  Mattel introduces the Barbie doll; other nickname names like Lori, Cindy, Sherry and Terri are hot.

1966. Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. renounces his “slave name” to become Muhammed Ali; other celebrities follow suit, influencing African-American baby naming.

1967.  Frank Zappa names his first child Moon Unit,  a seminal ’kooky’ baby name.  Son Dweezil will follow two years later.

1968. TV westerns like Here Come the Brides, featuring brothers Jason, Jeremy and Joshua, signal a return of old cowboy names.

1974. The first issue of People magazine accelerates fascination with celebrity culture, parents start to be increasingly influenced by names stars give their babies.

1987. Movie Wall Street proclaims “Greed is good,” summing up the Go-Go 80s and inspiring Waspy surnames for boys (Carter, Parker) and androgynous exec names for all (Kyle, Blake, Blair).

1998. Parents continue to get more and more kreeatif with spellings like Adan, Austyn and Alivia all in the year’s Top 700.

2000. The Internet inspires parents to search genealogy sites for old family names.

2003. Extreme starbaby names grow more extreme–this year alone sees the arrival of Pilot Inspektor, Audio Science and Banjo.

2008. Reason returns: With economic downturn, parents look back to solid, traditional girls’ names like Ella, Grace, Olivia, and biblical boys Jacob, Ethan, Benjamin.

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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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