It’s a fallacy that, in the sweet old days, baby names were conventional and “normal” — children were named Mary and John or, at the outer fringes of adventurism, Ethel and Irving.
The truth is that a century ago there were scores of invented names, names with kreeative spellings, surnames and words turned first names, gender crossovers, and trendy choices that were there today and gone — very very gone — tomorrow.
The Top 1000 list of 1913 — go here to find it — is full of such unconventional baby names: Girls named Joseph and boys (lots of ’em) named Mary, boys named Prince and girls named Queen.
Among the most popular names are choices rarely heard today — Edna and Gladys, Elmer and Floyd — along with rising stars of the baby name world such as Ruby and Hazel, Oscar and Everett.
And then down toward the bottom of the Top 1000, below such oddities to our ears as Milburn and Mafalda, are names that seem eminently “normal,” even cool, in the modern world like Lilah and Reid, Lexie and Reese.