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The Dashing Baby Boy and Baby Girl Names of the Joyful 1950s
by Benedict Manovill

New parents are often influenced by events around them when they name their new babies. The 1950s was a decade of big achievements. The dashing baby boy names and baby girl names of the joyful 1950s reflected an atmosphere of new expectations. The bold spirit of this new era held the belief that everything was possible. The world war was over, people were free, and the country was safe again.

The decade of the Fifties was a time of firsts. Sir Edmund Hillary was the first climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. Jonas Salk came out with the first vaccine against polio. In 1953, scientist, Rosalind Franklin, discovered the structure of DNA - the secret of life, itself. The Soviet Union launched “Sputnik,” – the first vehicle to leave earth and venture into outer space. Closer to home, the United States expanded. Alaska became the 49th state, and Hawaii, the 50th.

In the meantime, Elvis Presley was making the hearts of lovers all over the world beat faster. “Heartbreak Hotel” was playing in homes, cafes, and nightclubs everywhere. Across town, “West Side Story” was a smash hit on Broadway and people couldn’t stop singing “Maria.” Leonard Bernstein was at the height of his power as a composer. The song, “In the Still of the Night,” soothed everyone’s spirits at the end of the day. Readers thrilled in the adventures of “James Bond” in Ian Fleming’s novels, while moviegoers watched the handsome spy on screen. People’s love affair with cars heated up. The 1954 Aston Martin DB-3/S took everybody’s breath away.

Top 10 baby boy names from 1950 to 1959, in order of popularity, were James, Michael, Robert, John, David, William, Richard, Thomas, Mark and Charles. All are Christian saints’ names and all of them go back in history for centuries as the names of emperors, kings, and nobles. These handsome names stand as pillars of Western civilization.

James (English) means “steadfast;” Michael (Hebrew) means "who is like God;” Robert (English) means “brilliant;” John (Hebrew) means “honorable;” David (Hebrew) means “beloved;” William (English) means “staunch protector;” Richard (Germanic) means “strong ruler;” Thomas (Greek) means “twin;” Mark (Latin) means “combative;” and Charles (German) means “well-loved.”

From 1950 to 1959, the top baby girl names took a totally new turn. Moms and dads felt it was time for a big change. The second world war was over and done with. It was time to clear the decks. Why not get away from the biblical names, as well as the names of empresses and queens, to say nothing of the heroines of old books? Their babies were children of a new world. What better time than now for thoroughly modern American names and their meanings.

The baby girl names, in order of their popularity, are Mary, Linda, Patricia, Susan, Deborah, Barbara, Debra, Karen, Nancy, and Donna.

Mary (Hebrew) means “spiritual;” Linda (Spanish) means “pretty;” Patricia (Latin) means” of noble birth;” Susan (Hebrew) means “lily;” Deborah (Hebrew) means “prophetess;” Barbara (Greek) means “unusual;” Debra (Hebrew) means “prophetess;” Karen (Greek) means “pure-hearted;” Nancy (Medieval English) is a pet form of “Agnes” meaning “generous;” and Donna (Italian) means “ladylike.”

The beginning of the 1950s was like a dream. There was peace and there was plenty. Everyone thought this happy state would go on and on. But it was not to be. Once again, the world was badly shaken as the Korean War and the Vietnam War ripped through people's souls. Still, the spirit of the people did not bend. There would soon be a new president, exciting job challenges, and big achievements to lift the spirit. Children with their dashing baby boy names and baby girl names of the joyful 1950s moved into the decade of the 1960s. And, their hearts were filled with great expectations.

About the Author:
Benedict Manovill is a leading name historian and calligrapher. His works are in collections around the world. Is your name royal? Find out at http://www.giftscrolls4u.com.

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