In 1880, when Social Security’s yearly baby name lists start, Jack ranked 204th. It steadily increased, peaking at 14th in 1930.
John lost its No. 1 rank in 1924. After 1930, Jack fell along with John. It bottomed out in 1986 at 175th, when 1,518 Jacks were born.
By then, Jack was booming in Britain. For decades, the English have been fond of giving short forms like Ben and Sam as official names. Jack was the premier example, the No. 1 name for boys born in England and Wales between 1996 and 2008. Though now receding there, it still ranked eighth in 2019.
Hollywood, with many ties to London’s entertainment industry, took notice. Scores of television and film characters have been called Jack over the last 30 years, from clownish sidekicks like Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) of “Will & Grace” to action heroes like Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) of “24”.
In 1996, Jack was back in Social Security’s top hundred. It peaked at 34th in 2005. That new popularity is exemplified by…