Depression-Era Baby Names
We thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the baby names that parents were choosing the last time the world economy was in such a mess -- the Great Depression. Well, it turns out that even though the crash of 1929 may have changed every other aspect of American life, one thing it didn't change was the names that parents gave their kids. From 1928 to 1933 the top 10 baby names for boys and girls, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration, remained quite stable. Hard times, apparently, did not spill over into the world of baby names.
The baby names of the late 1920s and early 1930s were staid, and even a little boring, in comparison to today's hot names. Solid, basic names were in vogue -- from 1928 to 1933 Robert and Mary reigned supreme as the top boy's and girl's names respectively. The runners up -- John and James, Betty and Dorothy -- underwent little change also, at least until Dorothy switched places with Barbara in 1932. No Ethans, Jacobs, or Daniels in this crowd, and certainly no Emmas, Madisons, or Sophias. Very basic, Anglo names were the order of the day.
The name Mary, of course, was by far the top girl's name of the twentieth century, and James, John, and Robert were the top three boys' names respectively.
So while the world today in 2008 struggles through the economic maelstrom in much the same way that our grandparents did, we can be certain of at least one thing. Baby naming traditions will endure, no matter what the stock market does.
Here are the top ten boys' and girls' names from the year of The Great Crash, 1929.