Top 1950s Baby Names
Baby names from the 1950s epitomize the Baby Boom. Denise and Dennis, Donna and Donald — these are the names of today's grandmas and grandpas, not quite baby-ready for another generation.
Along with Dennis and Donald, other 1950s baby names that remain in the US Top 1000 include Barbara, Cynthia, George, Gloria, Joyce, Judith, Randy, and Terry. The names with the steepest decline in popularity since their peaks include Gail, Peggy, Cheryl, and Kathy. Sourced from the 1950s' Top 100, here is a list of popular baby names from that decade which are relatively rare today. If you really want to buck current fashions, you might choose one of these 1950s baby names for your 21st-century child.
Description:Arthur, once the shining head of the Knights of the Round Table, is, after decades of neglect, now being polished up and restored by stylish parents, inspired perhaps by the new generation of royals. Arthur has led the list of possible names for the young British princes, chosen as a middle name for Prince Louis, son of William and Catherine, Prince and Princess of Wales.
Description:Thomas is the Greek variation of the Aramaic name Ta’oma’. It came about because there were too many apostles named Judas; Jesus renamed one Thomas—meaning "twin"—to distinguish him from Judas Iscariot and the Judas also known as Thaddeus. At first, it was used only for priests.
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.
Description:Peter is derived from the Greek Petros, meaning “rock” or “stone.” One of the most important figures in the Christian hagiography is Saint Peter, keeper of the Gates of Heaven. Born Simon bar Jonah, he was given the nickname Peter by Jesus, to signify that he would be the rock on which Christ would build Christianity. Centuries later, there was Peter the Great, the czar who developed Russia as a major European power.
Origin:English from Latin
Meaning:"from Laurentum or bay laurel"
Description:Laura is a hauntingly evocative perennial, never trendy, never dated, feminine without being fussy, with literary links stretching back to Dante. All this makes Laura a more solid choice than any of its more decorative counterparts and one of the most classic girl names starting with L.
Origin:Scottish and Irish
Meaning:"born of fire, handsome"
Description:Kenneth may have lost much of its luster now, but Kenneth has had its moments of glory. The first king of Scotland was Kenneth, and Sir Kenneth, a Christian crusader, was the hero of the Sir Walter Scott novel The Talisman.
Description:Bonnie is an adorable nickname name, heading back up the popularity list after a 50-year nap. A Top 100 girls' name throughout the rest of the English-speaking world, Americans are later to jump on the Bonnie bandwagon but now it's trending here too.
Origin:English from German
Description:Ralph has two diametrically different images: there's the suave Ralph Fiennes-type Brit (often pronounced Rafe), and then there's the Jackie Gleason blue-collar, bowling blowhard Ralph Kramden bus driver. It's all in the eye of the beholder, though its hip factor did rise when it was chosen for his son by cool U.K. actor Matthew Macfadyen.
Meaning:"from Laurentium or bay laurel"
Description:Lawrence has survived from Roman times, when Laurentium was a city noted for its laurel trees (the laurel is a symbol of wisdom and achievement). It was in the Top 50 from the 1890s through the 1950s and the Top 100 for decades longer, always among the most popular boys' names starting with L, but Lawrence is now used less for babies than Landon or Lorenzo.
Description:Iconoclasts though we may be, we like Fred, we like Frank, and we like George, which was among the Top 10 from 1830 to 1950, when the number of little Georges started to decline. Solid, strong, royal and saintly, yet friendly and unpretentious, we think that George is in prime position for a comeback, especially since it was chosen by Britain's royal couple.
Meaning:"moon goddess or, woman from Kynthos"
Description:Cynthia is an attractive name -- in classical mythology an epithet for Artemis or Diana -- that was so overexposed in the middle of the twentieth century, along with its nickname Cindy, that it fell into a period of benign neglect, but now is ripe for reconsideration in its full form.
Origin:Hebrew or Egyptian
Meaning:"drop of the sea, bitter, or beloved"
Description:Mary is the English form of Maria, which ultimately was derived from the Hebrew name Maryam/Mariam. The original meaning of Maryam is uncertain, but theories include "drop of the sea" (from Hebrew roots mar "drop" and yam "sea"); "bitter" (from Hebrew marah "bitterness"); and "beloved" (from the Egyptian root mr).
Description:Patrick, long tied to a hyper-Irish image, is enjoying something of a renaissance as a stylish classic, as it has long been considered in England. Along with such choices as Charles and George, Patrick has escaped overuse in recent decades.
Description:Unlike perennials William, John and James, Edward is a classic that moves in and out of fashion. This royal Anglo-Saxon standard has benefited in recent years from the popularity of the hot hero of the vampire sensation Twilight — Edward Cullen — who has given his name a new infusion of cool.
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.
Origin:English diminutive of Ann
Description:Nancy originated as a contraction of “mine Ancy,” with Ancy being a nickname for Annis, a Medieval English variation of Agnes. In the 18th century it began being used in its own right, as well as a nickname for Ann. Related names include Nan, Nance, Nanette, Nanny, and Nanou.
Origin:Diminutive of Francis or Franklin
Meaning:"Frenchman or free man"
Description:A Top 10 name from the 1880s until the 1920s, Frank has been falling for decades but last year reversed course for the first time in a century, edging up the popularity list a few notches. And Frank still has a certain warm, friendly real-guy grandpa flavor that could come back into style, like other such choices as Jake and Jack.
Origin:Scottish and English from French
Meaning:"from the brushwood thicket"
Description:Bruce is a Norman place name made famous by the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who won Scotland's independence from England in the fourteenth century. It's perennially popular in Scotland, but has been rarely used here for a generation -- though the impact of Bruces Lee, Springsteen, Dern and Willis, as well as Batman's Bruce Wayne -- still lingers. At one time Bruce was so widespread in Australia, it became a nickname for any Ozzie man. An interesting alternative is Brix, the Normandy place name where the Bruce family originated.
Origin:English diminutive of Susannah, Hebrew
Description:Although Susan had her heyday from the thirties to the sixties, and is now common among moms and new grandmas, and though most modern parents would prefer Susanna/Susannah, we have spotted some flickers of interest in a revival. It still retains a certain black-eyed-Susan freshness.
Description:Walter was seen as a noble name in the Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Walter Scott era, but it then spent decades in baby name limbo. Now quite a few independent-minded parents are looking at it as a renewable, slightly quirky, classic, stronger and more distinctive than James or John, second only to William among the handsome classic boy baby names starting with W.