Throwback Thursday: 1930s Baby Names | Parents


The 1930s didn’t go down in history as a stellar decade—what with the Great Depression and Hitler bringing everybody down. But can some cool names be salvaged from this decade? The chart toppers of the 1930s were Robert and Mary—not exactly out-there names even today. But could there be some overlooked gems on the list?


Franklin took a sharp rise after FDR was sworn into office—it peaked at #33 in 1933. It’s dropped below the top 500 now, but still makes a worthy choice. Consider it in lieu of the “den” names like Brayden or Jayden.

While Robert topped the charts in the 1930s, the nickname Bobby wasn’t far behind at #27. Nickname names might not be super popular right now, but could Bobby be charming enough to make a comeback?

Edward may be the “Ed” name of choice, thanks to Twilight, but back in the 1930s, Edwin was topping the charts, too. The name means “wealthy friend”—and isn’t that the best kind to have? I love the idea of Win as a nickname.

I love Clifford, the #86 name of the 1930s—even if this name has become synonymous with the Big Red Dog. But I’d skip Cliff as a nickname in favor of Ford.

Alfred means wise counselor—like the sharp-as-a-tack bearer of the name, Alfred Hitchcock—and it was a top 50 name of the 1930s. If you like the nicknames Freddie or UK fave Alfie, this is the name for you!


Doris peaked at number 13 back in the 1930s—and maybe that’s why it was so unlucky to fall out of fashion. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 since the 1990s, even though it has a cool meaning—gift of the ocean—and a sweet Dorrie nickname.

Strangely enough, the popularity of blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe didn’t extend to her name—it peaked at #16 back in the 1930s. The name is a combo of Mary and Lynn—so it’s a nice way to honor two people in your past.

Sweet Irene has a lovely meaning—peace—and still hasn’t come back after a slow and steady decline from its #49 spot in the 1930s. I think it’s a nice alternative to the many vowel-heavy names, like Emma and Olivia, that still top the charts.

Could Bernice be the next Beatrice? This #87 name in the 1930s fell out of favor in the 1980s, and comes with a cute “Bunny” nickname.

Joan topped the charts back in the 1930s, ranking 7th—and it has the cool Joan of Arc namesake with it. It hasn’t been a top 1000 contender since the 1990s, but maybe it’s ready to come back as an offbeat middle name choice?

What do you think? Could Alfred or Bernice be at a playground near you? If you aren’t a big fan of these 1930s names, try looking for a more modern one with our Baby Name Finder. And if you’ve already found your name, check out this video to make sure you’ve picked a winner.

Baby Names: How to Know You’ve Picked the Right Name

Image: 1930s woman, from Everett Collection/