Vintage Baby Names: Testing the 100-year rule
In the world of baby names, there used to be something called The Hundred Year Rule, based on the assumption that it took a full century for a name to shake off its dusty image and sound fresh again. I use the past tense because this obviously doesn’t hold true anymore; like everything else, the process of name resuscitation has speeded up wildly.
So when we look at the popularity lists for a hundred years ago–1910– we see any number of names that have already popped back—names like Grace, Ruby, Emma, Ella, Violet, Sadie, Ruby, Isabel, Max, Oliver and Felix.
The question is, are there any names from a century ago that we’ve overlooked and are still worthy of re-evaluation? Here are some you might consider, all in the Top Thou of 1910—although we do have to keep in mind that the US population then was about 30% of what it is now, so some of these names were attached to a very small number of babies.
GIRLS (starred names were in the Top 100 then; none of them appears on the current list)
Probably not slated for return:
A few we don’t expect back:
One interesting thing on this 1910 favorites list is the number of gender reversals. In the girls’ column, we find:
And, even more dramatically, though there are no boys named Sue, there are boys—and enough of them to make the list—named the following, a few harking back to the time when they were male or unisex: