Category: midcentury baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Certain comeback kids have been getting a lot of buzz lately—names like Elsa and Amelia and Elias and Tobias, all of which have that nice vintage 19th century vibe. But there’s another group of names inching their way back that you might find a bit more surprising. Mostly midcentury mom and dad names, they are flouting the Hundred-Year Rule, returning way before their expected due dates.
Here are a dozen prime examples:
The baby girls who were born in 1950 are now grandmothers. They will turn 65 this year! It is safe to say, though, that a lot of their first names may not be getting passed down to their grand-daughters at the same rate that grandpa’s name is probably being given to the boys.
While the boys have some solid classics on their side –even their more dated options like Jerry are well-used today– the girl names have not survived the test of time as well. Take a look at how the top girl names of 1950 rank then and now and see if you don’t agree:
By Linda Rosenkrantz
But lately there’s been a new twist on this phenomenon, especially seen in the celebrisphere. Several stars have resurrected some of the All-American Boy nicknames of the Depression Era, like Billy and Johnny and Tommy, and haven’t hesitated to plunk them right onto their babe’s birth certificate. In particular:
Conventional wisdom holds that baby names tend to follow the Hundred-Year-Rule, cycling back after a century has passed. But with everything speeding up exponentially in modern life, and with the great interest in all things mid-century, we’re thinking maybe we should change that to the Fifty-Year-Rule.
Which prompts us to a close look at the Top 1000 names of 1962.
At first glance, the Top 10 are not very inspiring—mostly classics for boys: Michael, David, John, James, Robert, Mark, William, Richard, Thomas, and Jeffrey, and for girls names very much of the period: Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen, Linda, Patricia, Donna, Cynthia, Deborah, and Sandra.
But digging deeper into the data, we find an interesting mix of revival possibilities—all of them missing from today’s Top 1000, and most of them gone for decades. Towards the lower end we find vestiges of a still earlier time—names like Percy and Virgil, Myrtle and Minerva– as well as nickname names that have been lost to time, some ethnic choices no longer prominent here, plus more archetypal midcentury names which might possibly be ready to return.