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The 50-Year Rule: 1962 names revisited

The 50-Year Rule: 1962 names revisited

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)CelestineCorneliaDeliaDinahDoraDorotheaElviraEttaEugeniaFloraGenevaGeorginaGladysIdaLeticiaLucindaMarjorieMinervaMurielMyrtlePaulinePortiaRowenaViolaWinifred

Boys

AugustineBenedictChester*ClementClevelandClyde*CorneliusDudleyEdmond and EdmundFloydHiramHomer*JudsonKermitLeanderLemuelMorrisNorrisPercyRoscoeRudolphUlysses*Virgil

MORE MIDCENTURY-ISH–AND MISCELLANEOUS

Girls

AnitaAvisBeverlyCarolinaClariceFondaGailHeleneJillKayLoretta*Lorraine*MarshaMavisMaxine*PatriceRitaRochelleRosalindRoxanneTheaTinaYvonneZelda*

Boys

BookerBoydCliffordDionDoyleGalenJarvisKentonLowellMerlinMurrayNeal and NeilParrishPerryRobinStewart/StuartTerenceWallaceWillis

A TOUCH EXOTIC

Boys

ChristopheDomingoFedericoGregorioLarsLeifPasqualeVito

NICKNAME NAMES

Girls

Nickname names

Dolly*DottieFrankie*GingerKittyMamie*MimiMinnieMitziNelliePatsyPeggyPennyPollyRoxie

Boys

Archie*BarneyChetChuckFredFreddieFritzHalJedMackNedTedTimTom

*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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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.