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Category: baby name Margaret

alice-in-wonderland (1)

What’s your favorite classic girls’ name?

And by classic, we mean timeless choices such as Elizabeth, Sarah, and Margaret.

We also mean currently fashionable classics such as Charlotte and Alice.

In fact, when you tell us which classic girls’ name is your favorite, maybe you can also tell us why you consider it a classic.

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1914alice

At the beginning of the year, we like to flip back the calendar a hundred years to see what the baby name landscape looked like a century ago. 1914 was a year in which World War I was in full swing, the year that President Wilson officially established Mother’s Day, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth made their debuts, and saw the births of Dylan Thomas, Jonas Salk and Joe DiMaggio.But the babyname universe was relatively calm, as we can see by looking at the stable top dozen girls’ names. Here, they are, in order of their 1914 popularity, and what their status is today:

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baby name Maisie

The names Mary and Elizabeth were once so ubiquitous (there sometimes would be two in one family) that it was inevitable that a ton of nicknames and variations would evolve, not to mention international versions. Running a close third to those ultimate girls’ classics is Margaret, which means ‘pearl’ and which in fact shares a number of Mary’s pet forms. Here are just a few of Margaret’s offspring, and their recent bearers.

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classicgirl

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel looks at the “quiet” classic baby names  and measures how they stand in the new popularity ratings. 

 There were dozens of stories in the baby name news last week, but they all shared a common theme: the Social Security Administration’s release of the 2012 baby name data

We talked about Titan and Briggs, Landry and Geraldine.  About how Jacob remained number one, but only if you didn’t tally up the many spellings of Aiden, Jackson, and Jayden.  Television’s influence was clear – Arya and Aria, Litzy, Major, and Jase.  Movies, sports, and music shaped our choices, too, as did faith.  Nevaeh’s little brother might just be called Messiah.

But what about the quiet classics, the names that rise and fall, but still appear in nearly every generation?  Hemlines change.  We graduated from the party line to the iPhone, the horse to the Prius.  And yet these names remain, worn by men and women, boys and girls of every age.

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Names That Sound Smart

photo by Alex Ho

One of my most vivid memories of writing our very first book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason, is of Linda and me cracking up as we read aloud from our list of what we called Intellectual Power Names.  Frances, Ruth, Howard, Norman

We couldn’t help laughing.  We might as well have been making a list of nerd names.

When we reinvented the book as Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana, we abandoned the Intellectual Power names in the book’s Image section to talk more about classic names and unusual names and how those qualities influenced the world’s perception.

And I suppose we felt a bit squeamish about pegging names too closely with qualities like intelligence and attractiveness that have more to do with the person than with his or her name.  A Ruby or a Rylee, after all, may easily be every bit as smart as a Ruth.

But sometimes, I see a name and instantly think it sounds intelligent.  Makes me expect, if I met that person, that they would be smart — and not just smart, but studious, serious, cultured, intellectual.

So I decided it would be fun to update the Intellectual Power names, Nameberry-style, with a contemporary twist and sensibility.

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