7 Wildly Popular Baby Names From the 1950s

The 1950s in the US ushered in a post-war era of scientific progress. This era also saw the emergence of some of the popular baby names still present today.

1. James

7 popular baby names - James

A popular name through the ages, James peaked in 1947 with almost 100,000 babies gifted with the name in the United States alone.

1. James

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Kathy Hutchins // Shutterstock.com

Though traditionally a male name, it was occasionally used for females until the late 1980s, when it dropped off the charts.

In 2014, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds called their firstborn daughter James after Reynolds’ father, and since then, it’s been gaining traction for girls as well as boys.   

2. Barbara

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After the wildly popular movie Barbie was released in July 2023, we are predicting a swift increase in the name.

2. Barbara

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In 2022, there were under 300 babies given the name in the United States, making it one of the more obscure historical names.

While it has been used as a female name almost exclusively, in 1942, over 160 male babies were called Barbara! During the 1950s, Barbara was the sixth most popular girl’s name.

3. Richard

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A strong and masculine name throughout history, Richard means ‘powerful,’ which is fitting, observing notable historical figures who have shared the name.

3. Richard

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mark reinstein // Shutterstock.com

Richard Nixon was the 37th president of the United States, while King Richard ruled England between 1189 and 1199. In the 1950s, Richard was the seventh most popular male name. 

4. Cynthia

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Used sparingly in the past decade, the name Cynthia provokes attractive imagery from its Greek origins, which means ‘moon goddess.’

4. Cynthia

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With nicknames like Cindy and Thea, it’s a sweet option for any little girl.

In the 1950s, it was number 11 on the charts, with over 263,000 babies given the name in the United States.

5. Larry

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Originally diminutive from the name Laurence, Larry has grown established as its own name.

In the 1950s, it was the 18th most popular name for baby boys, with the traditional name meaning ‘crowned with laurel,’ and presents organic, natural imagery.  

5. Larry

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In 2022, the name Larry was only used 263 times in the United States, making it a perfect option for parents who want a less-popular name.

6. Betty


Brought back to notice with Netflix’s Riverdale, the name Betty was originally a nickname for Elizabeth.

In the 1950s, just over 100,000 little girls were given the name, which means ‘oath of God,’ and is a beautiful option for parents who want an essence of spirituality for their child.

6. Betty

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Luckily for parents who want something fresh, the name has actually fallen off the charts since 1997, so you’re almost guaranteed that there won’t be six others with the same name in your child’s classroom. 

7. Frank

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Steady and masculine, the name Frank is of German origin, which means ‘free’, was ranked 53rd most popular in the United States during the 1950s.

7. Frank

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mark reinstein // Shutterstock.com

Though the name has been decreasing in popularity since its peak in 1918, it has never vanished from the charts entirely; in fact, in 2022, over 700 babies were given the name in the United States.

Whether it be an ode to Frank Sinatra or the resurgence of the baby name Frankie for boys and girls alike, the name is one that seems set to remain in favor.

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Whether it reminds you of a family member, a historical figure, or even maybe a family pet, we can’t deny that a baby’s name has intense significance.

With the resurgence of old-style baby names used by modern parents, the only difficulty is determining which one to choose.

This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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