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Baby Names of 1912: Hester, Chester & Sylvester

Vintage Baby Names

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 10But 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:

Girls

Adelaide

Adele

Adeline

Alice

Amelia

Audrey

Ava

Beatrice

Chloe

Claire

Clara

Cora

Daisy

Eliza

Eloise

Evelyn

Florence

Georgia

Isabel, Isabella

Josephine

Lila

Lillian

Lily

Lola

Matilda

Olivia

Ruby

Sadie

Sophia

Sophie

Stella

Violet

Willa

 

Boys

Anderson

Archie

Arthur

August

Austin

Axel

Brady

Eli

Emmett

Everett

Felix

Forrest

Harley

Harrison

Harry

Harvey

Henry

Jack

Jasper

Leland

Leo

Levi

Mason

Max

Milo

Oliver

Oscar

Owen

Rex

Riley

Roman

Riley

Rufus

Wiley

Wyatt

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.

Girls

Alberta (106)

Alma (62)

Beulah (80)

Dixie (410)

*Doris (#48)

*Edna (#16)

Elsie (42)

Elvira (256)

Enid (440)

*Estelle  (111)

*Ethel (#18)—especially if the current rumors of its being Lily Allen’s pick are true

Etta (192)

*Gertrude (30)

*Gladys (#19)

*Hester (277)

Hilda (104)

*Ida (45)

*Lois (63)

Lucille (32)

Madge (296)

Maxine (135)

Muriel (155)

Myrtle (50)

Odessa (300)–already a Berry choice

Ophelia (317)

Patsy (481)

Pauline (38)

*Thelma (26)

*Velma (88)

*Verna (126)

Wilma (99)

Winifred (162)

BOYS

Abner (608)

Alonzo (263)

Ambrose (388)

Bruno (336)

Cecil (76)

*Clarence (21)

Clyde (65)

Dudley (364)

*Edwin (54)

*Elmer (47)

Enoch (511)

Floyd (59)

Fritz (770)

Gilbert (115)

*Harold (13)

Horace (119)

Hiram (410)

Jerome (133)

Lemuel (505)

Morris (82)

*Mortimer (542)

Norris (379)

Otto (150)

Percy (174)

Reginald (323)

Roy (31)

Ulysses (460)

Virgil (111)

Waldo (444)

*Wilbur (92)

*Willard (105)

Wilson (131)

Do you think any of the above could make a comeback?  Would you consider them?

1912 was a year when nickname names like Annie and Rosie were in vogue; here are a few for girls that have pretty much disappeared, all in the 1912 Top 1000.

Audie

Bertie

Birdie

Dessie

Effie

Essie

Flossie

Gertie

Gussie

Lessie

Lottie

Lovie

Ludie

Maudie

Maxie

Mazie

Minnie

Nettie

Sudie

Tressie

Vallie

Virgie

Winnie

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:

Girls

Alpha

Alta

Ila

Iva

Floy

Garnet

Leola

Lilla

Marvel

Melba

Mozelle

Nola

Ouida

Ola

Petra

Thora

Vada

Verona

Zella

Zelma

Boys

Alton

Armand

Brown

Burl

Cleveland

Coy

Dock

Dorsey

Doyle

Early

Foy

Garland

Geo

Giles

Hollis

Ike

Loyal

Mose

Murphy

Noble

Olin

Smith

Sylvan

Taft

Theron

Thurman

Tyrus

Urban

What do you think?  Any that might be the new centurions in the next few years?

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