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The 50-Year Rule: 1962 names revisited

1962

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.

VANISHED VINTAGE NAMES

Girls

Agnes * (already celeb-sanctioned)
Celestine
Cornelia
Delia
Dinah
Dora
Dorothea
Elvira
Etta
Eugenia
Flora
Geneva
Georgina
Gladys
Ida
Leticia
Lucinda
Marjorie
Minerva
Muriel
Myrtle
Pauline
Portia
Rowena
Viola
Winifred

Boys

Augustine
Benedict
Chester*
Clement
Cleveland
Clyde*
Cornelius
Dudley
Edmond and Edmund
Floyd
Hiram
Homer*
Judson
Kermit
Leander
Lemuel
Morris
Norris
Percy
Roscoe
Rudolph
Ulysses*
Virgil

MORE MIDCENTURY-ISH–AND MISCELLANEOUS

Girls

Anita
Avis
Beverly
Carolina
Clarice
Fonda
Gail
Helene
Jill
Kay
Loretta*
Lorraine*
Marsha
Mavis
Maxine*
Patrice
Rita
Rochelle
Rosalind
Roxanne
Thea
Tina
Yvonne
Zelda*

Boys

Booker
Boyd
Clifford
Dion
Doyle
Galen
Jarvis
Kenton
Lowell
Merlin
Murray
Neal and Neil
Parrish
Perry
Robin
Stewart/Stuart
Terence
Wallace
Willis

A TOUCH EXOTIC

Boys

Christophe
Domingo
Federico
Gregorio
Lars
Leif
Pasquale
Vito

NICKNAME NAMES

Girls

Nickname names

Dolly*
Dottie
Frankie*
Ginger
Kitty
Mamie*
Mimi
Minnie
Mitzi
Nellie
Patsy
Peggy
Penny
Polly
Roxie

Boys

Archie*
Barney
Chet
Chuck
Fred
Freddie
Fritz
Hal
Jed
Mack
Ned
Ted
Tim
Tom

*Used by at least one celeb

So which of these do you think could come back—at least into the Top 1000? Any of them already on your list?

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