What Were Some Popular Names in the World War II Era?

Popular names in the World War II era for boys were James, Robert, John, William and Richard; for girls, the top five names were Mary, Linda, Barbara, Patricia and Carol. These names, according to the Social Security Administration, were the top five names for boys and girls among parents in the United States. The SSA’s data accounts for baby names assigned between 1940 and 1949 and compares them to a universal database.

Topping the list of World War II era boys’ names, according to the SSA data, is James. During the 1940s, over 795,000 boys in the United States were given that name. The names Robert and John were close behind; during that same decade, over 750,000 parents named their baby boys Robert, and over 710,000 named their sons John.

For females during the 1940s, the most popular name was Mary; this name was assigned to nearly 640,000 baby girls. The name Mary, say authors at Parenting magazine, indicates a sweet and charming girl fond of family and church. This classic name derives from Hebrew origins and, despite its positive connotations, translates to “bitter.”

Unlike with male names, the most popular female names during the 1940s have a wide gap. The second and third most popular baby girl names, which were Linda and Barbara, were assigned to only 531,609 and 425,226 children, according to the SSA’s historical data.