Archive for January, 2020

Some names seem so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine that they will ever be anything other than everywhere in the popular consciousness. However, a look at the history of popular names goes to show that such enduring popularity is far from given.

babyboomer1When the parents of the baby boomer generation came back from World War II, an array of social factors influenced the names they would give their children, including the names of beloved presidents and popular actors. From models to actresses to singer-songwriters, many of the most famous baby boomers had the most popular names of their day, from Jerry Hall to Bob Dylan to Pat Benatar.

However, for some names, in the time between the boomer years and now, other figures have emerged with the same names that cause these monikers to lose their luster. An unpopular television show character, a kidnapper, murderer, or other unsavory character, or simply a dramatic downturn in fortune on the public stage can all contribute to a name losing its popularity. President Richard Nixon, for example, was famously called “Tricky Dicky” for his crimes in office, making the name Dick far less appealing for parents.