Category: vintage baby names
By Abby Sandel
In April, we looked at the vintage girl names of 1916, rarities still lingering in the attic. Now it’s time for vintage boy names from 1916! These choices weren’t chart-toppers one hundred years ago, but they were in the Top 1000, and in steady, regular use. Today, they feel surprisingly fresh, even modern. If you’re looking for a rare name with a history of use, these names could be the perfect pick for a son.
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Marilyn Monroe was unquestionably the sex symbol of midcentury America. And even though everyone knew she was born Norma Jean, she became big enough to be known simply as Marilyn. (Though Marilyn hasn’t caught on like other Old Hollywood stars, there has been something of a revival of Monroe, in tribute to her.) It’s interesting to take a look at the names of the characters she inhabited in her relatively short career (barely 15 years), to see which ones played on her sensual image, and which worked against it.
I don’t you know if you’ve noticed a growing trendlet—at least among celebrities—for what we might call generic-boy-nickname-names. In other words, these aren’t specific short forms like Charlie or Archie, but ol- timey macho boy tags like Buddy and Buster.
In the recent past, we’ve seen Noel Gallagher’s Sonny, a choice shared by British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor—as well as Adam Sandler’s daughter Sunny; Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear Maurice; Michele Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller’s Buster Timothy; the three Aces of Natalie Appleton, Tom Dumont, and Jennie Finch and Casey Daigle; the two Dukes of Diane Keaton and Justine Bateman; and the Junior of Peter Andre and Katie Price.
We can’t help wondering if this is yet another offshoot of the midcentury Mad Men phenomenon, bringing us back to the days of Father Knows Best’s Bud (birth name James Anderson, Jr.) and J. D. Salinger’s Buddy Glass (real name Webb Gallagher Glass), and Marlon Brando, who was known to friends and family as Bud. In those days, though, Sonny or Buster were not usually put on the birth certificate, and over time those pet names began to be relegated to pets.
If I were a cookbook writer, I think my first title would be: “100 Ways to Dice and Slice the Social Security List.” There is so much information to be found embedded in it and so many ways to look at it, that there seems to be no end of different and intriguing ways to parse the data.
Pam will be writing later about the startling number of names that have been in the Top 1000 consistently—which is to say every single year– since score-keeping began in1880. Today I’ll take a look at the patterns followed by the names that have moved in and out of fashion.
First, the girls, grouped by the decades they first came into favor, followed by the specific years when they were included in the Top 100. (This does not include names that have been up there every single year.)
You may be surprised at when some of the names initially appeared—sometimes earlier, sometimes later than you might have guessed. Zoe and Chloe, for example, were both strong in the 19th century, as were Savannah and Samantha. Alexis was already up there in the 1940s, but Alexa didn’t break through till the 70s; Kayla was there as early as the fifties, while—and this may not be such a surprise– Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Kaylee and Makayla all broke through as a group in the eighties, along with Hailey and Bailey.
1880s-90s (and possibly earlier)
- Abigail: 1880-1897, 1901-1903, 1906, 1939, 1943, 1946, 1949-2009
- Andrea: 1880-1881, 1884-1887, 1889, 1901-1904, 1907-2009
- Ava: 1880-1972, 1974-1975, 1984, 1986-2009
- Bella: 1880-1931, 2000-2009
- Chloe: 1880-1943, 1982-2009
- Ella: 1880-1983, 1988, 1990-2009
- Faith: 1880-1882, 1884-1886, 1888-2009
- Isabella: 1880-1948, 1990-2009
- Isabelle: 1880-1954, 1957, 1991-2009
- Jessica: 1880-1893, 1895, 1898-1900, 1903-1912, 1914-1918, 1935, 1937, 1939-2009
- Lily: 1880-1964, 1966, 1970, 1972, 1976, 1979-2009
- Madelyn: 1893, 1895-1965, 1986-2009
- Mariah: 1880-1908, 1910-1911, 1913, 1973, 1975-2009
- Melanie: 1886, 1938-2009
- Samantha: 1880-1902, 1907, 1964-2009
- Savannah: 1880-1922, 1924-1925, 1928, 1983-2009
- Sofia: 1881, 1881, 1886, 1888-1889, 1891-1892, 1895, 1898, 1900-1901, 1906-1914, 1916-1917, 1920-1925, 1927-1931, 1935, 1969, 1971-2009
- Sophie: 1880-1955, 1984-2009
- Sydney: 1886, 1905, 1932-1957, 1959-1961, 1963-1967, 1981-2009
- Valeria: 1881-1944, 1946-1976, 1983, 1985-2009
- Zoe: 1880-1912, 1914-1926, 1928-1929, 1931-1941, 1951-1955, 1957-1961, 1966, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1983-2009