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Category: vintage names for boys

fred_astaire02

There are the eternal boys’ classics that never leave the higher echelons of popularity—names like John, James, William and Daniel.

But then there are those that move in and out of style, names that can appear timeless in one period and then seem tired and fusty in another. These names, once at the top of their class, are now nearer the bottom—in one case having slipped away completely.

Yesterday we looked at forgotten girls’ classics. Today we bring you a dozen classic boys’ names that have fallen off the radar but deserve a fresh look.

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nerd

When Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany recently named their newborn daughter Agnes, I was very excited.  For a baby name connoisseur, the choice of Agnes by two stylish and attractive stars heralded the arrival of a new kind of cool name: the slightly awkward, somewhat geeky name that’s so uncool it’s cool.

Of course, Geek Chic has been around for awhile now, in names as in other aspects of fashion.  In our book Beyond Ava & Aiden, we featured a category – now on Nameberry – of Clunky but Cool Names for boys and for girls.  (There are also more, similar choices on the lists of Old Lady Names and Old Man Names.  The list of Old People Names, taking off from the twitter sensation, is full of names that are terminally geeky.)

Some of these choices, like Hugo and Oscar for boys, for instance, and Imogen and Matilda for girls, sound a lot more cool than clunky these days.  As vintage names become more mainstream and our tastes broaden, names that seemed edgy just a few years ago now feel normal and pretty – pretty normal.

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1910boy

Do you love vintage names but want to move beyond the usual classics and Biblical choices?  We looked at the popularity lists of 1910 to uncover hundreds of vintage boys’ names that are no longer in use — but could be revived.

It’s odd that there seem to be more terminally-antiquated boys’ names from 1910 than girls’ names.  After all, girls’ names change more quickly and dramatically than do boys’, which tend to hinge more on tradition and less on fashion.

Yet beyond the Johns and Williams that have always predominated for boys (and still do today), there are dozens, even  hundreds of names that filled the Top 1000 list a hundred years ago and now are lost to time.

They include hero names, surname-names, nickname-names, androgynous names, and even regular old first names that few people seem to use any more.

Sure, some parents who love vintage names might revive Chester or Homer or Julius or Oswald.  But many of these popular names for boys in 1910 are rarely heard today

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Unusual Baby Names

Here, our latest collection of names that have been overlooked and are deserving of  greater consideration:

girls

ALOISA. Aloisa has several things going for it: It starts with A, which is nearly a guarantee of appeal these days; it’s superfeminine; it’s a grownup name ready to face the tough times ahead; and it’s also a distinctive spin on such up-and-coming choices as Louisa and Eloise.

AMITY. Virtue names like Hope, Faith and Grace have been on the rise for several years as parents look back to the righteous values of an earlier time in history; then Jessica Alba stepped out of the box with the less used Honor. Amity, taking it a step further, succeeds in combining virtue with an attractive feminine sound and a warm, friendly meaning.

CRESSIDA. Mythological and Shakespeare name that would be the perfect stand-in for the now overused Jessica.

POSY. Flower names have been well-used over the past decade or two, with such garden variety specimens as Lily, Rose, Violet and Daisy blossoming (sorry, can’t help it) everywhere and parents now looking to somewhat rarer blossoms like Aster, Lilac, Lotus, Poppy and Amaryllis. Our nominee for cutest underused flower name: Posy.

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I’ve always been intrigued with the names of the characters played by movie stars, especially the iconic figures of the Golden Age—the interplay between actor and character name, and the roles those names played in establishing and perpetuating their screen personas.

It certainly comes as no surprise that John Wayne played numerous heroes named John and Jim or that Cary Grant portrayed three Nicks or how many good girl Pollys and Pennys there were, played by the likes of the young Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.  But there were a lot of interesting aberrations– for example, though to most of us Clark Gable will always be Rhett Butler, he was also Ace, Blackie (twice), Candy, Duke and Patch; Humphrey Bogart may live on eternally in video heaven as Rick, but he also answered to Baby Face, Bugs, Turkey, Duke, Gloves, Chips and Rocks, Joan Crawford was Bingo as well as Mildred Pierce, and Bette Davis was Fluff Phillips as well as Margo Channing.

Looking over some vintage cast credits, one thing that jumps out is the number of current trends that were anticipated in the movies of the 1930s, forties and fifties.  For example:

NICKNAME NAMES

In addition to those mentioned above, there were:

ACECary Grant

AGGIE –  Linda Darnell

ALLIEJoan Crawford

ARCHIEClark Gable

BUCKJack Benny

BUNNYBette Davis,  Katharine Hepburn and Lana Turner

BUSTERLoretta Young

CHIPFrank Sinatra

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