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Mad Men Names

Mad Men Names

The TV show Mad Men, set in JFK-era New York, got all the period details right, including the names.

Many of the key characters were born in the 1920s and ‘30s, which, according to the 100-Year-Rule, makes their names ready for revival. Among the names already on their way up the charts are Clara and Jane, Harry and Lane.

The children on Mad Men were born in the 1950s and ‘60s, making their names — including Sally, Bobby, Gene, Glen, and Tammy — today’s grandparent names.

Are parents ready to adopt some of the show's quainter monikers as baby names? Maybe not quite yet, but don't be surprised if you have grandchildren named Don and Betty.

Mad Men Names featured on the show include the following, ordered by their popularity on Nameberry.

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TV Character Names

Midcentury Baby Names

  1. ClaraHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "bright, clear"
    • Description:

      Clara is a strong, lovely girls' name that's always ranked among the US Top 1000 girl names but has been climbing since the turn of this century. Now holding steady around Number 100, Clara is a modern classic, neither too popular nor too unusual.
  2. HenryHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Henry is back. The classic Henry climbed back onto the Top 10 in the US in 2021 for the first time in over a century, and now stands at Number 7.
  3. WilliamHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "resolute protection"
    • Description:

      William is one of the most enduring of classic names for boys. It's also among the most popular boys' names, as American parents see it as being ideally conservative yet contemporary, and hands-down the most popular baby name beginning with W of all time.
  4. JaneHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "God is gracious"
    • Description:

      No, we don't consider Jane too plain. In fact, for a venerable and short one-syllable name, we think it packs a surprising amount of punch, as compared to the related Jean and Joan.
  5. CarolineHeart
    • Origin:

      French, feminine variation of Charles
    • Meaning:

      "free man"
    • Description:

      Caroline is a perennial classic, in the Top 100 since 1994. Caroline is elegant, calling to mind the Kennedy Camelot years and Princess Caroline of Monaco.
  6. MargaretHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Margaret is derived from the French Marguerite, which in turn came from Margarita, the Latin form of the Greek Margarites. Margarites was based on the Old Persian word margārīta, meaning "pearl."
  7. AnnaHeart
    • Origin:

      Variation of Hannah, Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "grace"
    • Description:

      Anna has become the dominant form of the Ann family, having been firmly in the Top 25 for years and only slipping in the past couple of years. Anna offers a touch of the international and a bit more style than the oversimplified Ann, used for generations throughout Europe, from Russia to Italy, Spain to The Netherlands.
  8. MichaelHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "who is like God?"
    • Description:

      Michael was derived from the name Mikha’el, which comes from the rhetorical question mī kā’ēl, meaning "who is like God?" in Hebrew. In the Bible, Michael is the archangel who led the other angels to victory in a war against Satan, one of only two archangels (the other is Gabriel) recognized by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. The widespread popularity of Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan were major contributors to its long-running success.
  9. SylviaHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "from the forest"
    • Description:

      The musical, sylvan Sylvia seems poised to join former friends Frances and Beatrice and Dorothy back in the nursery.
  10. HarryHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Henry
    • Meaning:

      "estate ruler"
    • Description:

      Harry is the medieval English form of Henry, which derived from the Germanic name Heimrich, meaning "estate ruler." Harry was the nickname of all eight King Henrys; it is also a diminutive of Harold and Harrison.
  11. RebeccaHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "to tie, bind"
    • Description:

      Rebecca is a name representing beauty in the Bible, an Old Testament classic that reached the heights of revived popularity in the seventies but is still a well-used choice. It derives from the Hebrew name Rivkah, from the verb ribbqah, meaning "noose." The biblical Rebecca was the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. Rebekah was a common spelling of the name in the Bible.
  12. IdaHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "industrious one"
    • Description:

      Many vowel names stylish a century ago are coming back, and Ida seems like a possible, logical successor to Ada and Ava.
  13. RachelHeart
    • Origin:

      Hebrew
    • Meaning:

      "ewe"
    • Description:

      Rachel was derived from the Hebrew word rāchēl, meaning "ewe." In the Old Testament, Rachel was the favorite wife of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. International variations include the Spanish Raquel and Israeli Rahel.
  14. HelenHeart
    • Origin:

      Greek
    • Meaning:

      "torch; shining light"
    • Description:

      Helen is a name that has connoted beauty since ancient times – Helen of Troy was the the mythological "face that launched a thousand ships," over whom the ten-year Trojan War was fought.
  15. PaulHeart
    • Origin:

      Latin
    • Meaning:

      "small"
    • Description:

      To the thousands of girls who screamed the name of their favorite Beatle in the 1960s, the boys' name Paul had a thrillingly unique image, but to the rest of the world, then and now, it's a name that's so simple and yet so widely diffuse that it could belong to almost anyone. Paul is an ancient name for boys -- popular in Roman and medieval times -- that's not very fashionable now, which can work in its favor, scarcity balancing simplicity.
  16. MeganHeart
    • Origin:

      Welsh diminutive of Margaret
    • Meaning:

      "pearl"
    • Description:

      Megan originally evolved from Meg, which itself derived as a nickname for Margaret. Margaret ultimately comes from the Greek word margarites, meaning "pearl." Megan is no longer a common nickname for Margaret—it is most often used as a full name. Other spellings include Meghan, Meagan, Megyn, and Meaghan.
  17. LaneHeart
    • Origin:

      English
    • Meaning:

      "a small roadway or path"
    • Description:

      Lane is a recent hit name, that could be used for either gender, but is much more popular for boys. It's a surname that projects the pleasant picture of narrow, tree-lined country roads.
  18. RogerHeart
    • Origin:

      German
    • Meaning:

      "famous warrior"
    • Description:

      In the World War II era, Roger had nothing but the most positive associations, actually used by military personnel to mean 'Received and understood'--or A-OK, and though it is now on extended furlough, it does have a long and distinguished history. Introduced to England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Roger soon became very popular there, with nicknames Hodge and Dodge, and had a long run later in the U.S, remaining in the Top 100 for 55 years.
  19. SallyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Sarah
    • Meaning:

      "princess"
    • Description:

      Sally is a cheerful, fresh-faced girl-next-door name that was originally a nickname for Sarah, but has long been used independently. Sally was popular in the eighteenth century and then again from the 1920s to the 1960s--it was just outside the Top 50 around 1940. Though it hasn't been heard as a baby name for decades, we can see Sally bouncing back, especially after her exposure as young Ms. Draper on Mad Men--the Nameberries rank it at Number 621, and it's a Top 100 name in Sweden.
  20. BettyHeart
    • Origin:

      Diminutive of Elizabeth
    • Meaning:

      "pledged to God"
    • Description:

      Combine the popularity of Betty White and Mad Men's glamorous Betty Draper Francis, with the residual sweetness of Ugly Betty's Betty Suarez, and the result is an impending return of the name. It's got presidential cred via Betty Ford and feminist history through Betty Friedan.