Another new year, another opportunity to test out the 100-Year Rule, a chance to look at the pop lists of 1912 to see if we can find some undiscovered gems to excavate and polish up.
Looking first at the boys’ 1912 Top 10, we see that it consisted completely of gold-standard classics: John, William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank and Thomas—with William being the only one surviving on today’s Top 10. But since boys (names) will be boys (names), and more consistent in general (at least until recently, anyway), most of those names are still very much in play.
For the girls, the list was a little more idiosyncratic and time-linked, encompassing classics and semi-classics that have moved in and out of fashion over time: none of the Top 10 then– Mary, Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Mildred, Anna, Elizabeth, Frances and Marie is in the Top 10 today, with only Elizabeth ranking as high as Number 12. But Helen, Dorothy, Ruth and Frances, in particular, are trying to obey the 100-Year Rule by coming into wider use.
Here are some names from the 1912 Top 500 that have abided by the Rule to appear stylish once more:
We’re wondering if, in the climate of pushing the envelope for fusty Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa names, the following not-yet-revived choices have any comeback potential to be in the next generation of surprising encores. The starred names were exiled onto the So Far Out They’ll Probably Always Be Out list in our very first book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason. The number in parenthesis is where the name stood in 1912.
Do you think any of the above could make a comeback? Would you consider them?
And here, for both girls and boys, are some other 1912 names that are more unusual, dark-horse candidates for following the 100-year rule:
What do you think? Any that might be the new centurions in the next few years?