Top 113 Timeless ’50s Names For Your Baby
While the 1950s remained a decade for traditional baby name choices, there were also some new kids on the block.
Popular names of the decades drew inspiration from the music and movie culture so in amongst solid name choices like Debra, Thomas and Jane there were also Audrey, Grace and Vivian. These new popular names added a touch of glamour to austere 1950s Britain.
It was the decade that brought us rock n roll, the teenager and beamed the Queen’s Coronation into homes across the country (and with an audience of 20 million outnumbered radio listeners for the first time). Rationing was still in place until 1954 and streets still bore the scars of the previous decade’s war efforts. Vacant bomb sites stood next to garden allotments and temporary prefabs and military bases dotted the landscape. But you could pick up a loaf of bread, pint of milk and half a dozen eggs and still have change from 20 pence, though dinner might have more likely been spam fritters followed by tinned fruit with evaporated milk.
It was also a decade where TV was king: with just five million TV owners at the start of the decade, 1959 drew to a close with a TV audience of 55 million. This emerging technology was responsible for beaming ’50s celebrities and icons into our homes and so introducing a new generation of Avas, Rexs and Sophias to the world. The ’50s are generally referred to as ‘The Golden Age’ of television for a very good reason.
When it came to names popular in the 1950s it was a mix of the traditional (think James, Thomas, Nancy and Mary) with some new adventurous names based on popular culture. Ava (Gardner), Rex (Harrison), Grace (Kelly) and of course Elvis were all huge 1950s stars and so influenced baby name trends, popular for that decade.
When it comes to popular ’50s baby names we’ve rounded up a selection of favourites – and we’re sure there’s one that will make the top of your list. Not feeling suitably inspired? Why not check out these baby name ideas from the 1930s and 1940s.
Popular Names Of The 1950s
Popular names from the 1950s focused on tradition, this was after all a time when many babies were given family names. Of course if you’re looking for more inspiration for popular names you only need to take a look at the people you know now aged in their 60s.
Baby Boy Names From The ’50s
1950s boy names still tended to err on the side of the traditional and James was up there as the top baby name of the decade. Other popular baby name choices included the sturdy sounding Richard, which was often shortened to Dick and there were still more Michaels than there were Elvis’s! The baby names below all feature on lists of the top ’50s boy names.
1. Charles (German, French origin). Means «free man».
2. Daniel (Hebrew origin). Means «God is my judge».
3. David (Hebrew origin). Means «beloved».
4. Edward (English origin). Means «wealthy guardian».
5. Gary (English origin). Means «spearman».
6. George (Greek origin). Means «farmer».
7. James (English origin). Means «supplanter».
8. John (Hebrew origin). Means «God is gracious».
9. Joseph (Hebrew origin). Means «Jehovah increases».
10. Mark (Latin origin). Means «warlike».
11. Michael (Hebrew origin). Means «who is like God?».
12. Paul (Latin origin). Means «small».
13. Peter (Greek origin), Means «rock».
14. Richard (German origin). Means «dominant ruler».
15. Robert (German, English origin). Means «bright fame».
16. Scott (English origin). Means :»from Scotland».
17. Steven (English origin). Means «garland, crown». Variation of the name Stephen.
18. Thomas (Aramaic origin). Means «twin».
19. Timothy (Greek origin). Means «honouring God».
20. William (English origin). Taken from the German name Wilhelm, meaning «resolute protection».
1950s Girl Names
Of the popular 1950 girl names it’s clear that a traditional name was still preferred: Mary was one of the most popular choices for baby names of the decade. But with the introduction of the Barbie doll in 1959 there was also an influx of Barbara’s making their debut. Many of these ’50s girl names continue to be era-defining but just with all baby names we suspect it’s only a matter of time before they find their way back in to fashion.
21. Barbara (Latin origin). Means «foreign woman».
22. Brenda (Scottish origin). Means «blade of a sword».
23. Carol (English origin). Means «free man».
24. Cynthia (Greek origin). Means «moon goddess».
25. Deborah (Hebrew origin). Means «bee». Variations of the name include Debra
26. Diane (French origin). Means «divine».
27. Donna (Italian origin). Means «lady».
28. Elizabeth (Hebrew origin). Means «pledged to God».
29. Judy (Hebrew origin). Means «he will be praised:. Diminutive of the name Judith.
30. Karen (Danish origin). Means «pure».
31. Kathleen (Irish English origin). Means «pure». Variation of the name Caitlin.
32. Linda (Spanish, Portuguese, Italian origin). Means «pretty».
33. Margaret (Greek origin). Means «pearl».
34. Mary (Hebrew, Egyptian origin). Means «drop of the sea» or «beloved».
35. Pamela (English origin). Means «all honey».
36. Patricia (Latin origin). Means «noble» or «patrician».
37. Patti (English origin). Means «patrician». Diminutive form of the name Patricia.
38. Sandra (Italian, Greek origin). Means «defending men».
39. Sharon (Hebrew origin). Means «a plain».
40. Susan (English origin). Means «lily». Variation of the Hebrew name Susannah.
Classic Baby Names Of The 1950s For Girls
Baby name choices move on every decade but there are some endearing classics that we think have stood the test of time.
41. Beverly (English origin). Means «dweller near the beaver stream».
42. Cheryl (modern origin). Means «darling». Variation of the French name Cherie.
43. Dawn (English origin). Means «daybreak».
44. Gail (Hebrew origin). Means «my father rejoices».
45. Gloria (Latin origin). Means «glory».
46. Jane (English origin). Means God is gracious».
47. Janet (English origin). Means «God’s gracious gift».
48. Jill (English origin). Means «youthful».
49. Josephine (French origin). Means «Jehovah increases».
50. Katherine (Greek origin). Means «pure».
51. Rosemary (Latin origin). Means «dew of the sea».
52. Yvonne (French origin). Means «yew wood».
Classic Baby Names Of The 1950s For Boys
In amongst our top baby name choices are these classic baby names that are long overdue a comeback.
53. Alan (Irish origin). Means «handsome» or «cheerful».
54. Carl (German origin). Means «free man».
55. Christopher (Greek origin). Means «bearer of Christ».
56. Craig (Scottish origin). Means «from the rocks».
57. Douglas (Scottish origin), Means «black water».
58. Gerald (English, Irish, German origin). Means «ruler with the spear».
59. Henry (German origin). Means «estate ruler».
60. Jerry (English, Irish, German origin), Means «ruler with the spear». Diminutive of Gerald, Jerome and Jeremiah.
61. Joe (Hebrew origin). Means «Jehovah increases». Diminutive of the name Joseph.
62. Keith (Scottish origin). Means «wood».
63. Philip (Greek origin). Means «lover of horses».
64. Ralph (English origin), Means «wolf counsel».
65. Terry (Latin origin). Clan name of unknown meaning. Diminutive of the name Terence.
66. Walter (German origin). Means «army ruler».
67. Warren (French, English origin). Means «park keeper».
68. Wayne (English origin). Means «maker of wagons».
Popular Baby Names From The 1950s That Still Feel Fresh For Girls
While many of the popular names in the 1950s have that distinctive ’50s vibe to them there are others that have a fresh feel to them and will just at home in the classrooms of the coming years as they were back then.
69. Betty (Hebrew origin). Means «pledged to God». Diminutive of the name Elizabeth.
70. Bonnie (Scottish origin). Means «beautiful» or «cheerful».
71. June (Latin origin). Named for the goddess Juno and the month.
72. Lillian (English, Latin origin). Means «lily».
73. Marjorie (Scottish origin). Means «pearl».
74. Nancy (Hebrew, French origin). Means «grace».
75. Peggy (Greek origin). Means «pearl». Diminutive form of the name Margaret.
76. Rebecca (Hebrew origin). Means «servant of God».
77. Rosa (Latin origin). Means «a rose».
78. Ruby (Latin origin). Means «deep red precious stone».
79. Virginia (Latin origin). Means «virginal» or «pure».
80. Vivian (Latin origin). Means «life».
Popular Baby Names From The 1950s That Still Feel Fresh For Boys
If you opt for a baby name from the list below you can be sure that the name will be just as relevant now as it was 70 years ago.
81. Billy (English origin). Means «resolute protection».
82. Frank (German origin). Means «Frenchman» or «free man». Diminutive of Franklin and Francis.
83. Freddie (German origin). Means «peaceful ruler».
84. Jimmy (English origin). Means «supplanter». Diminutive of the name James.
85. Lee (English origin). Means «pasture» or «meadow».
86. Leo (Latin origin). Means «lion».
87. Patrick (Latin origin). Means «noble» or «patrician».
88. Robin (English origin). Means «bright fame».
89. Russell (French origin). Means «redheaded».
90. Stanley (English origin). Means «near the stony clearing».
91. Theodore (Greek origin). Means «gift of God».
92. Virginia (Latin origin). Means «virginal» or «pure».
93. Vivian (Latin origin). Means «life».
94. Wesley (English origin). Means «western meadow».
Celebrity-Inspired Baby Names From The 1950s For Girls
With television seeping more and more into our front rooms parents-to-be were also being exposed to new and exciting baby names drawn from the stars of the era. On the big screen women like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Sophia Gardner all inspired many of the popular 1950s names, while on the television Lucille Ball influenced another popular baby name.
95. Audrey (English origin). Means «noble strength».
96. Ava (Hebrew, Latin, German origin). Means «life», «water» or «island».
97. Ella (German, English origin). Means «completely» or «fairy maiden».
98. Enid (Welsh origin). Means «life» or «spirit».
99. Grace (Latin origin). Means «grace».
100. Janis (English origin). Means «God is gracious». Variation of Janice and Jane.
101. Lucille (French origin). Means «light».
102. Marilyn (English origin). Means «drop of the sea» or «beloved».
103. Sophia (Greek origin). Means «wisdom».
Celebrity-Inspired Baby Names From The 1950s For Boys
Music had another significant impact on popular baby names of the decades from Johnny Cash and Perry Como through to Ella Fitzgerald and Sam Cooke. Other celebrities included the poet Dylan Thomas and writers Enid Blyton and Ian Fleming – all offering popular baby names choices.
104. Will (English origin). Means «resolute protection». Diminutive of the name William.
105. Cary (Irish, English origin). Means «dark» or «free man».
106. Dylan (Welsh origin). Means «son of the sea».
107. Ian (Scottish origin). Means «the Lord is gracious».
108. Johnny (Hebrew origin). Means «God is gracious». Diminutive of the name John.
109. Marlon (English origin). Associated with Marlon Brando, meaning unknown.
110. Perry (English origin). Means «dweller near a pear tree».
111. Presley (English origin). Means «priest’s meadow».
112. Rex (Latin origin). Means «king».
113. Sam (English origin). Means «told by God». Diminutive of Samuel and Samantha.
Second Image Editorial credit: WagnerWehlingPhotography / Shutterstock. com
What Were Popular Names 1950s ? 
The 1950s were a decade of great change, and popular names reflect that. According to the Social Security Administration, here are the most popular baby names from the 1950s:
What Were Common Names In The 50s?
The most common names for babies born in the 1950s were James and Mary for boys and girls respectively. Other popular names for boys during this decade included Michael, Robert, David, and John. For girls, other popular names included Linda, Patricia, Barbara, and Susan.
What Names Were Popular In The 1950s UK?
The most popular baby names in the 1950s UK were Susan, Linda, Christine, and Margaret for girls, and David, John, Stephen, and Michael for boys.
What Are Some Badass Girl Names?
Badass girl names are those that project an image of strength, confidence and power. They are often chosen for their edgy, cool and unique sound. While there is no one definitive list of badass girl names, some popular choices include:
What Is Bonnie Short For?
Bonnie is a diminutive form of the Spanish givn name Bonita, meaning “pretty” or “beautiful”. It can also be used as a standalone given name.
What Is Peggy Short For?
Peggy is most commonly used as a diminutive form of the name Margaret, whch is of Greek origin and means “pearl”. Peggy can also be used as a diminutive form of the name Meghan, which is of Irish origin and means “chief” or “noblewoman”.
What Were Popular Girl Names In 1945?
The most popular baby girl names in 1945 were:
What Were The Most Popular Baby Names In 1952?
According to the Social Security Administration, the most popular baby names in 1952 were James and Linda for boys and girls respectively. Robert, John, and Michael were the next most popular names for boys, whle Patricia, Deborah, and Barbara were the next most popular names for girls.
What Were The Most Popular Baby Names In 1957?
The most popular baby names in 1957 were Michael, James, David and Robert for boys and Mary, Susan, Linda and Debra for girls.
What Was The Most Popular Name In 1960?
The most popular name for boys in 1960 was Michael, and the most popular name for girls was Lisa.
What Is A Vintage Girl Name?
A vintage girl name is a name that was popular during a specific time period, typically the early to mid-20th century. While some names have remained popular over the years, others have fallen out of favor and becme more unique. Many parents choose vintage girl names for their daughters in order to honor family tradition or simply because they are classic and timeless.
What Is The Rarest Girl Name?
The rarest girl name is Elora. She was given this name by her parents who wanted something unique for their daughter. They were inspired by the name of a place they once visited on vacation. There are only a few thousand girls with this name in the world, making it quite rare.
What Is A Strong Female Name?
Andrea: Latin origin meaning “strong and manly.”
Audrey: Old English origin meaning “noble strength.”
Briana: Irish Gaelic and Celtic origin meaning “strong.”
Bridget: Irish Gaelic and Celtic origin meaning “strength or power.”
Briella: Italian origin meaning “strong and beautiful.”
Gabriella: Italian origin meaning “God is my strength.”
Matilda: Germanic origin meaning “mighty in battle.”
Valentina: Latin origin meaning “healthy and strong.”
What Were Common Names In 1940?
The most common names for boys in 1940 were James, Robert, John, William, Richard, and Thomas. For girls, the most popular names were Mary, Barbara, Dorothy, Betty, and Shirley.
What Names Were Popular In 1941?
The most popular names for baby girls born in the United States in 1941 were Mary, Barbara, Patricia, and Carol. For baby boys, the most popular names were Robert, John, William, and Richard.
What Was The Most Popular Baby Names In 1975?
According to the Social Security Administration, the most popular baby names in 1975 were Michael and Jennifer for boys and girls respectively. Jason, Christopher, David, and James were the next most popular names for boys, while Amy, Melissa, Michelle, and Stephanie were the next most popular names for girls.
What Were The Most Popular Baby Names In 1954?
The most popular baby names in 1954 were Michael and Mary for boys and girls respectively. James and Linda were the second most popular names for boys and girls, whle Robert and Deborah rounded out the top four for each gender.
What Were The Most Popular Names In 1951?
The most popular names in 1951 were James and Linda for boys and girls respectively. Robert and Mary were the secnd most popular names for boys and girls while John and Patricia rounded out the top four most popular names.
What Were The Most Popular Names In 1956?
The most popular names in 1956 were Michael, James, Robert, and David for boys, and Mary, Debra, Linda, and Deborah for girls.
What Were The Most Popular Girl Names In 1956?
The most popular girl names in 1956 were:
What Are Good Hippie Names?
There are many good hippie names, but some of the most popular include Arlo, Buzz, Echo, Leaf, Marley, Peace, River, and Sonny. These names all have a connection to nature, peace, and love, whch are core hippie values.
What Were The Most Popular Names In 1964?
The most popular names in 1964 were Michael, John, David and James for boys, and Lisa, Mary, Susan and Karen for girls.
What Are Retro Names?
Retro names are old-fashioned names that were once popular but have fallen out of use. They may be revived from historical records or traditional naming practices, or they may simply sound like they belong to another era. Many modern parents are drawn to retro names for their unique charm and vintage appeal.
Most Popular Girl Names (1880-2020)
The most popular names for boys in the 1950s were Michael, David, John, James, Robert, Christopher, and Steven. The most popular names for girls in the 1950s were Lisa, Mary, Karen, Susan, Nancy, and Donna.
The case of the experimental citizens — Money — Kommersant
$10 million in compensation received a group of African Americans who were subjected to a cruel medical experiment for 40 years without asking their consent. In medical practice, there are many cases of unethical experiments on people. Many famous doctors who made an invaluable contribution to the development of medicine were engaged in similar studies. At the same time, the experimenters were driven not only by devotion to science, but also by the desire to earn money, since government and commercial structures sometimes finance such research with pleasure.
Black cotton growers received one undeniable benefit from participating in medical experiments — they were buried free of charge
Photo: © Science Photo Library/DIOMEDIA
Needle in brain matter
In the summer of 1972, a major scandal erupted in the United States. After articles in The Washington Star and The New York Times, revelations poured in from a cornucopia, and the process of the century was in the air. Senator Edward Kennedy demanded a special congressional hearing on the revelations, and congressmen readily agreed. During the hearings, everything stated in the revealing articles was fully confirmed. It turned out that in the state of Alabama, on the basis of the Tuskegee Institute, an experiment was conducted, during which hundreds of black residents of Macon County suffered. It was one of the longest experiments in the history of medicine. At 19In 1932, 600 African Americans were taken under the supervision of doctors, 399 of whom were sick with syphilis, but did not know about it. The researchers followed the sick and healthy for 40 years to describe all stages of the disease. They hid the diagnosis from the infected and did not treat them, so as not to violate the purity of the experiment. 28 subjects died from syphilis, 100 died from complications caused by it, 40 patients infected their wives, as a result, 19 children inherited this disease from their parents.
The public was shocked. The older generation still remembered the post-war trials of Nazi doctors who experimented on people, and besides, everyone remembered the struggle for the civil rights of blacks. Experiments on blacks in one of the southern states were perceived as manifestation of racism in its ugliest forms. In fact, racism played a far from central role here. Suffice it to say that the Tuskegee Institute was and remains one of the «traditionally black universities» where the vast majority of students and faculty were African Americans. A significant part of the research group was also made up of blacks. And most importantly, human experiments have long been part of the US medical culture, and the skin color of the experimental subjects has nothing to do with it. The main factor was and remains money.
During the days of slavery, American doctors really preferred to experiment on blacks due to their complete lack of rights. In addition, there was a demand in the medical services market for special medicine for slaves. In those days, it was believed that representatives of different races suffer from different diseases and should be treated differently. One Louisiana physician wrote sympathetically, «Poor Negroes are being treated like whites, which keeps them sick and dying. » The planters wanted to reduce the death rate among slaves and demanded from doctors new achievements in the field of slave therapy. There were researchers trying to solve the problem. In 1846, physician Walter Jones of Virginia developed a revolutionary treatment for typhoid pneumonia in Negroes. During the experiments, he poured boiling water over the backs of his slaves at intervals of four hours, hoping that this would help «stimulate the capillaries.»
Sometimes such experiments led to real breakthroughs in medicine. In the 1840s, the physician Marion Sims, who is considered one of the founders of modern gynecology, was looking for a way to eliminate vesico-vaginal fistulas, which make women suffer from urinary incontinence. The doctor bought three slaves with this diagnosis, whose names were Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy, and began to learn by trial and error. Women underwent many operations, and they were not supposed to take painkillers. Anarcha suffered the most — she survived 30 operations. Sims eventually found a cure and began treating white women who could pay for anesthesia. Sims’ career was simply dizzying. Suffice it to say that in 1863 he became the personal physician of the wife of Napoleon III.
Gynecologist Marion Sims bought volunteers for his experiments at the slave market
Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images/Fotobank
When slavery was abolished, American doctors switched from black slaves to white servants. In 1874, an Irish-born maid named Mary Rafferty was admitted to the Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati with severe head burns. Dr. Robert Bartolo decided to check the data obtained during experiments on dogs, and prescribed Mary a craniotomy. Then the following entry appeared in the doctor’s journal: «When the needle penetrated the substance of the brain, the patient developed sharp pains in the neck. To obtain a stronger reaction, the current was increased … When the current was applied to the needles, a grimace of pain appeared on the subject’s face, screams began. Soon her left arm stretched forward … clonic spasms occurred, her gaze stopped, the pupils dilated, her lips turned blue … The subject lost consciousness and began to convulse. Five minutes later coma has set in.» A few days later, Mary Rafferty died, and it was written in the report that she had died of cancer. Dr. Bartolo did not suffer any punishment and made a brilliant career.
There was one general rule in experiments on people: experiments were performed on those who could not stand up for their rights. In the 1880s in Hawaii, doctors deliberately infected six girls in a leper colony with syphilis. In 1895, New York pediatrician Henry Heyman infected a 4-year-old boy and a 16-year-old with gonorrhea, using the excuse that they were both idiots. He also infected a 26-year-old young man who was dying of tuberculosis, which means that, according to the doctor, he didn’t care anymore. American specialists worked just as fruitfully with Filipino prisoners: they infected them with cholera and bubonic plague. Orphans got it too. At 19In 08, in Philadelphia, at St. Vincent’s Orphanage, doctors prescribed some eye drops for the children. The children were given tuberculin, a substance containing a weakened causative agent of tuberculosis, which is used in Mantoux tests. Several pupils of the orphanage became blind. In the magazines of experimenters, such children were called waste material.
Subjects were sometimes asked to agree to participate in an experiment, especially if it was an offer they could not refuse. In 1913, Dr. Leo Stanley was appointed Chief Medical Officer of San Quentin Prison in California. The Doctor believed in eugenics and sought to improve the human race with the scalpel. In particular, he believed that if the criminal’s facial defects were corrected, his inner world would also be ennobled. Therefore, Stanley began to practice plastic surgery, filling his hand on the owners of the most brutal physiognomies. Like many luminaries of medicine 19In the 1920s, Stanley believed that youth could be restored to a person with the help of the sex hormones of young animals. He injected the contents of mutton testicles into elderly prisoners, and when he realized that this did not work, he switched to material obtained from freshly executed young criminals. The doctor believed that many men were driven to crime by sexual instinct, from which he concluded that sterilization would help reduce the number of repeat offenders. In addition, if the criminals cannot have children, then the human race will gradually begin to be cleansed of bad heredity. Stanley sterilized over 600 prisoners; they all voluntarily agreed to this, since the doctor promised to put in a good word for them with the prison authorities. The subjects hoped that the operation would help them get an early release. Stanley remained in office until 1951 years old and all this time he continued his surgical research.
African Americans in Macon County believed they were being treated for a non-existent disease, but in fact they were not even treated for what they were ill with
Photo: East News
When syphilitic surveillance began in Macon County in 1932, most physicians in the United States and beyond would have seen nothing immoral in this experiment. Firstly, experiments on people have not shocked anyone for a long time, secondly, a similar experiment was already carried out in Norway at the beginning of the century, and thirdly, there was simply no reliable cure for syphilis in those years. The then known methods of treating this disease involved the use of highly toxic substances, so that patients rarely recovered, but often died. In addition, the very way of life of agricultural workers in the Alabama cotton fields did not contribute to healing. Dr. Harris, who inspected the county, said: «It is useless to try to treat syphilis in Negroes in rural Macon County, Alabama, until we have dealt with numerous cases of tuberculosis, malnutrition and pellagra and have not changed the everyday habits of the population.» What habits were discussed, said Dr. Oliver Wenger: «We must not forget that these patients rarely bathe and sleep in dirty underwear.»
There were other reasons that influenced the decision to leave patients without medical assistance. The idea for the study was put forward by Dr. Taliaferro Clark, who headed the department of sexually transmitted diseases at the local office of the US Public Health Service. In addition to scientific interest, he was driven by the desire to redirect financial flows to his department. The Rosenwald Charitable Foundation was active in the state, which generously donated funds to improve the standard of living of the black population. The Foundation supported the Tuskegee Institute and other black schools, and Dr. Clarke wanted the money to go to health care. The doctor admitted: “I doubt that blacks should be given too high an education. We will raise generations of black white-collar workers who will only become criminals … I look at how the foundation and local authorities spent $ 26 million on schools for blacks, and I don’t see what kind of profit these costs can bring.
Nurse Unique Rivers was able to convince subjects that the experimenters were their best friends.
With the onset of the Great Depression, the flow of grants from the foundation dried up, and instead of millions, it was a matter of several thousand. Nevertheless, Clark won a grant to survey the county’s black population. The Foundation gave $7.7 thousand to organize the survey and another $2.2 thousand to pay those who will conduct it. The head of the Tuskegee Institute clinic, Dr. Eugene Dibble (black), and the head of the STD clinic, Dr. Oliver Wenger (white), joined the study. Raymond Wonderleir (White) was the direct supervisor of the study, and Nurse Unique Rivers (Black) became the soul of the project, who took over the communication with patients and personally traveled the entire district. Many specialists of the «black university», as well as students, laboratory assistants and graduate students took part in the work. Clarke expected the study to take several months and consist of two phases. In the first phase, all syphilitic patients will be identified and taken under medical supervision. This period was expected to last approximately nine months. Then comes the treatment phase, when the subjects are tried to help. However, in the depression, the foundation refused to sponsor the second phase. Clark was offended and left the game, but the rest did not even think of stopping work, because the closure of the project would mean the end of all funding. Vonderleir and the team decided to stretch the first phase indefinitely, since the funds for monitoring patients continued to arrive.
When 399 participants in the experiment were selected from among all the infected, special agreements were made with them. Patients received free transportation to the clinic, where they were promised medical assistance in case of health problems. They were also promised to pay for the funeral if they signed an agreement for the autopsy of their corpses. All this looked very tempting, besides, Nurse Rivers had the gift of persuasion. Gradually, the patients developed symptoms of syphilis, but the experimenters took advantage of their ignorance. Many agricultural workers had various skin diseases, and all of them were called by the blacks the same way — «bad blood». Doctors did not seek to dissuade patients and said that they were treating them for this mythical ailment.
Most of the patients were young and strong, so with the outbreak of World War II, the recruiting stations became interested in test subjects. 250 people were examined by military doctors, and their diagnosis was revealed. The experimenters begged to leave them with experimental subjects, but the military were inexorable, and the conscripts began to be treated. The rest continued to remain ignorant of their illness.
The Tuskegee experiment finally broke with medical ethics in the mid-1940s, when an effective cure for syphilis was found — antibiotics. Now it was possible and necessary to treat the subjects, but then the team would lose the grant. Meanwhile, the unethical experiment remained a mystery only to the test subjects. Wonderleir’s team published data in medical journals, but no one was surprised. In addition, from 19In the 1940s, America began a golden age of human experimentation that lasted at least 25 years.
The Tuskegee experiment hit all the newspapers, including the wall papers, as a vivid example of a violation of medical ethics
Photo: Alamy/Photo by ITAR-TASS
«Acres of human skin»
In the 19th century, as in the first half of the 20th century, experiments on people were mostly single enthusiasts who hoped to succeed thanks to new discoveries. After the outbreak of the Second World War, these enthusiasts had a wealthy customer in the person of the state, and scientists who were ready to sacrifice moral principles could now count on generous financial support at all stages of their work. While American soldiers were suffering from malaria in the jungle, the US State Department, together with the military, commissioned a study from the University of Chicago to help fight this infection. Scientists deliberately bred malarial mosquitoes and then used them to infect inmates at Stanville Prison in Illinois. Of course, all those bitten were «volunteers.» The experiment, which began during the war years, continued 29years.
Even more important for the state was the Manhattan Project, part of which was to study the effects of radiation on the human body. Three patients at the Billings Clinic at the University of Chicago received injections of plutonium. Shortly after the atomic bomb itself was tested on humans, specialists from Vanderbilt University treated 820 pregnant women with a «vitamin cocktail» containing radioactive elements. All subjects were described as «poor women of the white race.» Some of the women in childbirth subsequently died of radiation sickness, others of cancer, many children were born sick, four babies died.
While the Tuskegee doctors were struggling to make ends meet, government agents were operating in a big way. In 1946, a US Public Health Service research team led by John Cutler set up a secret laboratory in Guatemala. Scientists paid prostitutes infected with syphilis and gonorrhea to communicate with prisoners, and then tested antibiotics on the sick. About 1.5 thousand people were infected, 83 test subjects died. The authorities of Guatemala were aware of what was happening and provided all possible assistance to the great northern neighbor. At 19In 48, research was curtailed, but Cutler’s experience was not in vain. He joined the Tuskegee researchers and continued his research on new material.
Meanwhile, in Nuremberg, Nazi criminals were tried, including doctors who performed monstrous experiments on people. Ewen Cameron, an American psychiatrist of Scottish origin, participated in the Nuremberg Trials. It fell to his lot to determine the degree of sanity of Rudolf Hess, who was always suspected of inadequacy. At the same time, Cameron himself held similar views to Hess. He, in particular, supported the thesis of the exclusivity of the German race, although he believed that this exclusivity was of a destructive nature, and proposed to ban parts of the Germans from multiplying so that Germany could no longer start a war.
The Cold War soon broke out and Cameron was called to the invisible front. He received a $69,000 grant from the CIA to work on the super-secret MK-Ultra program, which aimed to develop mind control tools. The budget for the entire program was about $25 million, and many of the projects funded from this source were somehow related to human experimentation.
Thanks to the head of the CIA MK-Ultra program, Sidney Gottlieb, some doctors forgot about the Hippocratic Oath
Cameron believed that it was possible to completely erase a person’s memory, and then create a completely new personality. He set up his experiments at the Allan Memorial Institute, a small psychiatric clinic near Montreal. Patients with minor nervous breakdowns were placed in a medically induced coma and played with rustling and creaking or simple repeated commands. One unfortunate man was kept in this state for three months. The successes were impressive: some subjects forgot who their real parents were and began to believe that their tormentors were, and some even forgot human speech. In the future, Cameron was waiting for a rapid career take-off. He served as the second president of the World Psychiatric Association, and also led the psychiatric associations of the United States and Canada.
Doctors did not always experiment on people on the direct orders of the state, because sometimes commercial structures acted as the customer. In the 1950s, Dr. Albert Kligman from the University of Pennsylvania began his experiments. A dermatologist experimented on inmates at Holmesburg Prison. He worked for the US Army, as well as for the Dow Chemical Company, which produced chemical weapons, herbicides and other dangerous substances. During the Vietnam War, Dow gave him a $10,000 grant to research the properties of dioxin. The doctor injected 70 prisoners with a toxic substance, which caused them to develop terrible unhealed ulcers. The subjects were not treated for seven months. Kligman’s other customer was Johnson & Johnson, who wanted to know what effect their creams and powders would have on human skin. Thanks to these orders, prison «volunteers» were constantly smeared and painted with something. About his attitude towards the experimental Kligman spoke with all frankness: «I saw in front of me only acres of human skin … like a farmer who looks at fertile fields.»
It should not be thought that only hirelings from the CIA and the military-industrial complex were experimenting on people. This is what truly great scientists have done, such as the creator of the hepatitis B vaccine, Saul Krugman. In the 1960s, Willowbrook School was the largest public boarding school in the United States for mentally retarded children. The school was located on the outskirts of New York and was designed for 4,000 pupils, but in the mid-1960s, about 6,000 children lived in it. Crowding and unsanitary conditions were complemented by the cruelty and negligence of the administration. A former pupil who survived all this horror recalled the order in the boarding school: «I was tied with a rope so that I could not move … And then the teacher hit me with a baseball bat in the face and knocked out all my front teeth.» Under such conditions, outbreaks of hepatitis were not uncommon, which attracted the attention of Dr. Krugman and his junior colleague, virologist Robert McCollum. They have been working at the school since 1963 years old, and Krugman personally convinced parents to send their children to this wonderful institution. Researchers deliberately infected children with hepatitis in order to understand how to deal with this disease, and in the end they succeeded. In 1966, they interrupted work due to a scandal related to the general conditions of detention of pupils. Senator Robert Kennedy inspected Willowbrook and declared that the children «live in filth and stink, their clothes are tattered, and their rooms are worse than cages in which they keep animals in menageries. » However, the scandal did not touch Krugman and McCollum, and the vaccine was found.
American prisoners received not only gruel, but also the opportunity to use Johnson & Johnson products, as well as an injection of dioxin
Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images/Fotobank
If you want to be healthy
In the 1960s, the social atmosphere was still such that many scientists could openly support experiments on the human race. At 19In 66, Dr. Henry Beecher stated in his book: «The well-being, health, even the very existence of present humanity, as well as our descendants, depends on whether experiments on people continue. They must continue, and they will continue. The main subject of the study of mankind is man himself.» Behind the loud phrases was the conviction of a professional who knew how things really were. Dr. Beecher knew that no experiments on animals would give a 100% guarantee that this or that remedy would work on people, because the human body is different from the body of even the most great apes. Moreover, experiments on animals often led to erroneous results. It is known that aspirin can kill a rabbit, and if doctors rejected this medicine at the stage of testing on rabbits, people would continue to suffer from headaches. Of course, Beecher did not mean that people should be put in danger against their will, but in practice it turned out that this was indispensable.
In 1952, the prominent oncologist Chester Southam, trying to test his hypothesis about the viral origin of cancer, injected cancer cells into three hundred prisoners in the Ohio State Penitentiary, but never came to definite conclusions. In 1962, he repeated the experiment with elderly patients at the Jewish Clinic for Chronic Diseases in Brooklyn. Despite the name, most of the patients were African American, and the doctors were mostly Jewish. It was they who saw parallels with the acts of Nazi criminals in the experiment and demanded that it be canceled, but the Public Health Service stood behind Southam, and the injections continued. And then the indignant doctors turned to the press. The scandal was outrageous. Southam’s excuse was that people would never volunteer to participate in his experiments, which could potentially save millions of lives, but these arguments fell on deaf ears. However, the medical community did not leave Southam in trouble. He was deprived of his medical license for a year, but then it was restored, and the researcher himself headed the American Cancer Society a couple of years later. And yet a start was made. Subsequently, appealing to the public through the press became the most reliable means of fighting for the rights of patients.
Meanwhile, the Tuskegee experiment had no end in sight. The researchers had already done enough autopsies and free funerals to conclude that syphilis patients die sooner or later, but no one was going to stop the program. The trouble came from where they did not expect. In 1965, a young epidemiologist, Peter Bakstan, joined the Public Health Service. He was working with STD patients in San Francisco, and by chance heard from colleagues about the cases going on in Tuskegee. Bakstan began to make inquiries and at 1966 filed a protest with his superiors in connection with the unethical Alabama experiment. The protest went unanswered. Bakstan tried to protest again in 1968, but with the same success. Finally, in 1972, he told his story to a young journalist from The Washington Star, Jean Heller, and the country knew what was happening.
The Tuskegee medical community was in big trouble, and heads could roll in the Public Health Service. The case was settled out of court. The 74 surviving test subjects received $10 million in compensation from the state, and the scandal was silenced. At 19In 1974, Congress passed the National Research Act and created the National Commission for the Protection of Persons Participating in Biomedical and Behavioral Research, tasked with cracking down on violations of the rights of test subjects.
In orphanages, children began to serve science before they could read and write
Photo: Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images/Fotobank
Subsequently, Americans learned many shocking details about the deeds of medical experimenters. At 1973 America was shaken by the Watergate scandal, which led to the resignation of Nixon. Against this background, CIA director Richard Helms considered it good to destroy all documents related to the MK-Ultra program, but the bureaucratic machine gave an unexpected failure, and some of the secret materials were lost in the archives. In 1977, the lost documents were discovered. In 2001, some of them were declassified, and the world learned about the sinister experiments to erase memory. The revelations continued for many years and continue to this day. The story about the experiments in Guatemala surfaced only in 2010, when the archive of Dr. John Cutler accidentally fell into the hands of historian Susan Reverby.
Unethical medical experiments harmed not only those who unwittingly participated in them, but also those who read about them or simply heard about them. In the second half of the 20th century, horror stories and conspiracy theories about the sinister machinations of the federal government and pharmaceutical companies filled American urban folklore. Many people, especially the poor and poorly educated, began to avoid contact with doctors, so as not to become victims of another experiment.
Those who are terrified of doctors can be understood, because experiments on people continue to this day. In 2004, it became known that the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, from 1995 years tested new drugs against AIDS on orphans infected with HIV. The children were kept in a New York orphanage, so that in the absence of parents, consent to participate in the experiment was given by the city authorities. The youngest test subject was three months old.
In 2012, Argentine authorities fined GlaxoSmithKline 400,000 pesos ($240,000) for testing a new vaccine on children that resulted in the death of 14 children. Doctors Hector Abate and Miguel Treniagi, who directly carried out the vaccination, were fined 300,000 pesos each. Doctors were punished mainly for misleading parents about the properties of the vaccine. Children, as usual, were from poor families.
Medical ethics has been violated and continues to be violated, because its very postulates contain a contradiction. A doctor must treat people, but in order to cure many, he must first cripple someone. There is one way to understand how the human body works — to break it down and see how it works. Knowing this, some humanists offer conscientious citizens from among the wealthy and educated to volunteer to participate in medical experiments. However, so far, volunteers are not lining up in the laboratory, which means that experiments will continue to be carried out on the poor and defenseless.
architects and designers U.A.M. • Interior+Design
The Union of Contemporary Artists (U. A. M., 1929 — 1958) is one of the most interesting associations of the 20th century. The U.A.M. exhibition takes place in Paris at the Center Pompidou. This is a real gift to anyone who loves architecture and design.
The union included prominent French designers Robert Mallet-Stevens, Le Corbusier, Rene Erbst, Louis Saugnot, Jean Prouvé, Eileen Gray, Pierre Chareau. For thirty years, members of the U.A.M. explored shapes, technologies, materials and colors. Over the years of the existence of the union, it included masters who worked in various fields and styles.
Pierre Garish, Joseph-André Motte, Michel Mortimet, founders of the ARP Photo © Archives Famille Mortier, Guariche
U.A.M. included five authors who did not become such stars as Robert Mallet-Stevens or Le Corbusier. But their legacy still excites the imagination of European collectors and interior designers. Their items regularly show up at auctions, their works adorn modern villas and apartments, whose owners know a lot about Mid-century modern European design.
Pierre Guariche (1926-1995)
Balancier wall lamp, 1950s.
Wall lamp, Cerf-volant à un bras coudé, 1950s.
Modular sofa, Airborne, 1960s.
Prefacto coffee tables, Trefac, 1950s.
Chairs Tonneau, Edition Steiner, 1954.
Today, thanks to the efforts of Parisian gallery owners, he is known as the author of lamps: floor lamps, brass sconces with colored shades, typical style 1950s. However, this designer has other achievements to his credit. During World War II, he explored the possibility of using «non-furniture» materials in furniture — formica, plywood, aluminum and steel. After the war, he designed for the Airborn company a complete set of furniture for the Prefacto apartment. In 1951 he began to cooperate with Steiner. His most famous opus is the Tonneau chair in plastic, aluminum and plywood.
Jacques Le Chevallier, 1896-1987) .
Jacques Le Chevalier and René Coechlin. Desk lamp. 1928.
Jacques Le Chevalier. Sphere lamp. 1926-1927.
Jacques Le Chevalier and René Coechlin. Desk lamp. 1928.
Jacques Le Chevalier and René Coechlin. Desk lamp. 1928.
Jacques Le Chevalier.
Designer, stained glass artist, illustrator, graphic artist. His whole life is connected with the Fontenay-aux-Roses suburb of Paris. Known for his intricately designed metal lamps, which he produced in the 1920-1930s. In France, Belgium and Switzerland, many churches are decorated with his stained glass windows. Since 1952, he taught a course in stained glass art at the National High School of Arts.
Mathieu Mategot (1910-2001)
Copacabana chairs, 1955.
Newspaper magazine, 1955.
Kangourou tables, 1954.
Nagasaki chair, 1954, Gubi.
Coat Rack, Gubi, 1954.
Coffee tables, 1950.
Table and chairs Cap d’Ail, 1952.
Ceiling pendant lamp, Gubi. 1953.
A Hungarian by birth, Matego made scenery for the National Theater in Budapest in the late 1920s. From 1931 he lived in Paris: here he also made scenery for the Folies Bergère, decorated the windows of Galeries Lafayette. During the war, he volunteered for the front, was taken prisoner, and released in 1944. Back in the 1930s, Matego started making things out of rattan on a metal frame. A distinctive feature of Matego is that he became a master of small pieces of furniture and decor: waste baskets, hangers, magazine racks, planters, tables. He gave old-fashioned things such an aesthetic look that they look modern to this day.
Georges-Henri Pingusson (1894-1978)
Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation, Paris ©Tom Gagner
Sanatorium, Aincourt, 1929-1930 © Photo Chevojon.
Hôtel Latitude 43, Saint-Tropez, 1930-1932. © ENSBA/Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine/Archives d’architecture du XXe siècle
Architect, author of private villas. In the 1920s he built in Biarritz, Saint-Tropez, Cannes. He rebuilt the cities of Lorraine and Moselle after the war. He left several samples of author’s furniture, items that he created for his architectural projects. His armchairs and chaise longues are always beautifully drawn, they are distinguished by spectacular silhouettes and a high culture of shaping, which is not limited to function.
Louis Sognot (1892-19)70)
Zig-Zag coffee table, 1950.
Armchairs for Les Usines Réunies, 1955.