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Vintage Baby Names

vintage baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

I was asked by a magazine interviewer recently why I thought some vintage names come back and others don’t. Why Cora and Flora and not Dora? Why Edward and not Edwin? All of which got me thinking about the influences that do propel names out of the attic and into the spotlight.

The most obvious and evident of these is the celebrity factor in all its manifestations. Stars’ names, stars’ baby names and the names of characters they play:

Some examples:

ScarlettYes, the name of Miss Scarlett was used by a handful of parents following the publication of Gone With the Wind, but it wasn’t until Ms. Johansson burst on the scene that it really took off, bringing it now into the Top 50.

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Boy Names for Girls & New Names for Boys

boyish girl names

By Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

Once again, a famous couple has chosen a favorite boy’s name for their newborn daughter.  Last Thursday, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher welcomed Wyatt Isabelle.

Some parents of baby boy Wyatts are nervous.  Will Wyatt go girl?  Others who had shortlisted Wyatt for a possible child someday might be rethinking.  No one wants to introduce their child and have another mom respond, “Oh, like Ashton and Mila’s baby?”

The kerfuffle reminds me of singer Michelle Branch.  In 2005, at the height of her success, she married her bass player and had a daughter called Owen Isabelle.  Owen remained a Top 100 choice for boys in the US – gaining more than 20 places since – and is barely a blip for girls.

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Forbidden Baby Names: Where to draw the line?


In her Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel ponders whether there are some names that cross the line– whether there are such things as forbidden baby names.

This week’s baby name news has me wondering: what makes a name truly off limits?  I don’t mean names that just aren’t your style, but names that actually strike you as inappropriate, even unfair, to give to a child.

It’s a tough line to draw.  Some names are fine until they’re paired with a specific surname, like famed Texas philanthropist Ima Hogg.  Others have associations that are difficult to shake, be they positive or otherwise.  Would you name a child Elmo? Adolf seems like a burden, but what if your beloved grandpa was an Adolf?

Creative respellings put many parents off, while others have negative reactions to surnames, invented names, place names … the list is endless.  But when does it cross the line from not for me, thanks, into who does that?

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