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Midcentury Baby Names

  • Ellen

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    An Old English form of Helen, the sensitive but clear-eyed Ellen has swung in and out of style for centuries, often alternating with the parent name. Ellen was the more common in medieval England,... Read More 

  • Gail

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    Gail was a mid-twentieth century favorite, which has been far surpassed by its original form, Abigail and nickname Abby. Spelling variations include Gale and Gayle, the latter represented by TV... Read More 

  • Gary

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    When Gary cracked the Top 10 in 1950, it was one of the first nonclassic boys’ names to do so, largely due to Gary (born Frank) Cooper, who was... Read More 

  • Glenn

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    Glenn appealed to a lot of post-World War II parents for its cool, leafy image, also calling up the Big Band sounds of Glenn Miller and the calm, composed image of actor Glenn Ford, whose name at... Read More 

  • Janet

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    Janet started as a pet form of Jane, but has long been used independently. Five hundred years ago Janet was a royal favorite in Scotland, where it remains a popular choice. Here, however, Janet... Read More 

  • Janice

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    For a minute or two this sounded more modern than Janet, now equally outmoded. Read More 

  • Jeffrey

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    The mostly Americanized version of Geoffrey was a trendy mid-century hit, with nickname Jeff the epitome of cool. Jeffrey entered the pop list in 1934 and was a Top 20 name from the mid-fifties to... Read More 

  • Jerry

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    Rapidly declining in popularity, as most Jerrys have their AARP cards. Read More 

  • Joan

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    Joan was the perfect name choice for one of the leading characters on Mad Men, being a quintessential girls' name of the period. A Top 10 name in the 30s, a Top 50 name from the 40s... Read More 

  • Joanne

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    A Top 100 name from the 1930s all the way through the 1950s, it's now firmly in Mom -- or Grandma -- land and supplanted for babies by Joanna.....or even great-grandmother Josephine. In its... Read More 

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