Howard, once hugely popular -- in the Top 50 from the 1870s to early 1950s, hitting Number 24 in 1920 -- has been stuck in Dad-Grandad limbo for decades, but is showing some signs of stirring back to life. Along with such formerly-fusty names as George and Harold, Howard may soon feel baby-appropriate, perhaps with the short form Ward. Howard was the surname of an early English noble family, gradually metamorphosing into a first name in the nineteenth century. Notable Howards include tycoon Howard Hughes, director Howard Hawks, politician Howard Dean, and media figure Howard Stern. In literature, there is Ayn Rand's iconic architect Howard Roark, protagonist of The Fountainhead. Strange trivia item: Vampire novelist Anne Rice's given name is Howard Allen. She has said her mother "had the idea that naming a woman Howard was going to give that woman an unusual advantage in the world."