Florence, which has been neglected for decades, has a lot going for it, both for its floral feel and as a place name connection to the lovely Italian city (after which Florence Nightingale was named--it was her birthplace), and the association to the place seems to be helping Florence stir back to style life, along with cousin Flora.
The hot group Florence + the Machine, headlined by red-haired Florence Welch, has also helped to rejuvenate its image.
Florence was most popular in the U.S. at the turn of the last century and in the early decades of the twentieth: it was in the Top 10 from 1886 to 1906 but hasn't been in the Top 1000 since 1981. It is a stylish name in the UK, now at Number 54.
Florence has a diverse mixture of namesakes and references--a character in Dickens's Dombey & Sons, a U.S. First Lady (Harding), one of the Supremes, the Brady Bunch's Henderson, track and field star Florence Griffith Joyner and several TV characters.
Florence has some particularly lively nicknames--Flo, Flossie and Florrie.
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