Whatever Happened to Minnie and Mabel?

Not to mention Pearl, Cora, and Nellie.

I’ve written about my fascination with the rise and fall in popularity of people’s names.   Here’s a nicely done illustration of the evolution of American girls’ names from 1880 to 2013.

Warning:   You might want to lower the volume before starting the video.  The default is set way too high.

A Couple of Notes

The popularity of specific girls’ names seem to change more rapidly than boys’ names.  The names of the girls in my high school classes have largely fallen out of favour, while many of the boys’ names are still near the top of the list.  (Part of that could be attributed to where I grew up, which was a small Pennsylvania town w/a predominantly Anglo-German population.  As a result, most of the boys shared names with either British kings or biblical apostles.)

The long reign of John and Mary is over.  Mary, which was the most popular girls’ name for decades, is no longer even in the top 100.  John hasn’t fallen as far, but in the 21st Century it was pushed out of first place by Jacob, and more recently by Noah.

A similar video about boys’ names is on the way.  I’ll post it as soon as it’s available.


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