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Police and protesters outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention

When Everything Changed

December 13, 2021 LauraWattenberg 4 min read 11 Comments

Is there a “before” and “after” moment in modern American history? A time when the trajectory changed, when we started living and thinking differently?

Picture of a secret door in a bookcase

The Secret Lives of Jenny and Jessie

March 12, 2021 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 3 Comments

Psst…you know Jenny and Jessie, right? They’re the standard nicknames for Jennifer and Jessica, the two names that dominated American fashion for decades. No names could be more familiar. Well, once upon a time Jenny and Jessie weren’t the same nicknames-next-door that we know and love. In fact, they weren’t […]

A Baby Name Gender Gap Is Closing

February 18, 2021 Namerology 4 min read No Comments

Parents choose different names for boys and girls—and they choose names differently for boys and girls as well. For centuries, female names have been more creative and more subject to the shifting winds of fashion, much as female clothing has been. Male names, like male clothing, remained more conservative. Until […]

graph of gender ratio of -i names from 1900-2018, in the shape of a sharp bell curve

The Three Ages of -i Names: An American Tale

August 20, 2020 LauraWattenberg 4 min read No Comments

Name endings can define style eras. The names Marlene and Carlene sound like babies of the 1940s, while Marleigh and Carleigh have the touch of the new millennium. But for names ending in -i, the story is more complicated. It’s a tale of three different American eras. As you can […]

The Abandoned Classic Girl’s Name

December 5, 2019 LauraWattenberg 3 min read 10 Comments

If you tuned in to the recent historical tv drama Gentleman Jack, you quickly found yourself awash in Anns. The series is based on the real life of Anne Lister, an Englishwoman of the early 19th Century sometimes called “the first modern lesbian.” We meet Anne Lister as she returns […]

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