1950s Girls’ Names: Where are Sharon and Sandra now?

1950s Girls’ Names: Where are Sharon and Sandra now?

By Kara Cavazos of The Art of Naming

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:




How many baby girls do you know with these names? Notice how eight of the above names from 1950 have completely fallen off the Top 1000 chart in 2013.  The names that still made the cut mostly rank in the lower half of the chart except for Elizabeth, Mary, Margaret, Karen and Cynthia. Compare that to the Top 25 boy names of 1950 and you’ll see that all of the boy names still ranked above 600.

Why is it so different for girls? Fashions seem to change faster for girls than they do for boys making many of these girl names feel somewhat “dated” as a result.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the Top 1000 from 1950 and see which of those may be back on the rise today. I went through the list and picked out one name per 100 names that are either fashionable again today or that I think deserve to be used more. If you’d like to play along too, head over to the SSA’s website and pick out your Top 10 names from the 1950 chart and post them in the comment section below!

#57 – AliceThis happens to be my grandmother’s middle name so I tend to like it.  It seems as though I’m not alone in that since it is on its way up the charts! It ranked very well from 1880 through the 1960s but declined a bit in usage after that. In the past 5five years or so, Alice has become fashionable again. It ranked at Number 107 in 2013 and I think it’ll break back into the Top 100 soon.

#178 –  ClaraThis lovely vintage choice was once a Top 20 name in the 1880s and 1890s. By the 1950s it was heading down the charts. It wasn’t until the 2000s that parents began to find this name stylish again. Clara ranked at Number 131 in 2013. I think it’ll continue to gain popularity in the near future!

#219 – HazelThis spunky, vintage name seems to be a new favorite lately. It ranked in the Top 100 for years in the distant past, but most recently, it has spent time outside the Top 1000, only returning in 1998.  Now in 2013, it’s inching its way toward the Top 100 again with a ranking of #157. It seems posed to continue climbing higher and higher!

#342 – EloiseThis is another name that is making quite the splash! In just 6 years, this name has gone from ranking beyond the Top 1000 to reaching #338 in 2013. That’s impressive since it hadn’t been in the Top 1000 at all since 1965. This is one to keep an eye on!

#458 – SadieIf you’re familiar with chart movements, you might have heard that Sadie made quite the impressive leap this year. It ranked down at #458 in 1950 and fell out of the Top 1000 for a while in the 60s and 70s. In the past couple decades, though, Sadie has become a favorite. It jumped from #119 in 2012 to #50 in 2013. I think it could be headed for the Top 10 soon!

#547 – MabelThis is a name that I’m excited to see used. It was very popular from the 1880s through the 1930s but began declining in usage. By 1950, it was down to Number 547. It dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1965 and stayed out until 2013! It now ranks at Number 707 and I’d be thrilled to see it gain even more popularity! It’s one of my new favorites.

#659 – LeilaMy great grandmother’s name has always had decent usage but it has gradually declined over the years until the 2000s started and parents started to fall in love with it again. A lovely, vintage name that is now fashionable again, Leila ranked at Number 215 in 2013. I’d like to see it continue to inch its way up the chart!

#752 – DelilahThis biblical moniker belonged to a woman who could be described as “a dangerous temptress” who caused Samson‘s downfall. Despite this, Delilah‘s popularity as a name has boomed lately! Having never been popular before, it has been experiencing quite a bit of usage since the mid-2000s. It has climbed its way up to Number 135 in 2013 and will probably keep going! Would you use it?

#823 – AdelineI can’t help but love this name lately. Many parents seem to agree but they’re using variants like Adelyn a little bit more. This sweet name did well around 1918 but quickly declined in usage. In 1950 it ranked down at #823. In the late 1990s, parents rediscovered it and it has climbed straight up the charts again. It has reached Number 232 in 2013 and will probably continue upward!

#910 – MargotThis is a name to watch! It has been around in the US since 1894 and it has never been popular but I think that could change soon. It might just be the latest undiscovered gem that everyone discovers at once. It hadn’t been in the Top 1000 since 1966, but as of 2013, it has popped on the chart at Number 944. I imagine it will be making waves toward the top soon!

All of these names that I’ve highlighted here have the same vintage-but-fresh vibe going on. They’re all old-fashioned names that have circled back around to being fashionable again. They belong to a similar “style” of names. Which of these names do you expect to be the next big thing first? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Kara Cavazos, a mother of two, offers information and advice at her blog, The Art of Naming, where this post originally appeared.

About the Author

Kara Cavazos

Kara Cavazos

Kara Cavazos is a mother of two, a blogger and a baby name enthusiast. She loves ancient and vintage names most of all but she regularly features a variety of names on her blog The Art of Naming.