New Oldtime Girl Names: Maxine and Maude
By Abby Sandel
Let’s say you love old-fashioned girl names with a tailored quality. You’re all about names that topped the charts a century ago, but feel fresh and modern today.
The only problem, of course, is that you might already know a few Violets and Graces. Or you worry that your Lillian will be lost in a crowd of girls with similar names.
What’s the solution? Look for the next wave of new old girl names, of course!
To make this list, I focused on names that previously charted in the US Top 100. So Winifred and Millicent and Sybil failed the test. Any name ending in an ‘a’ was ruled out, too. Good-bye to Lucinda, Luella, and Viola!
Plenty of possibilities remained. They’re feminine, but not too elaborate. Vintage describes them well, and yet parents aren’t using them in big numbers. None of the choices on this list appear in the current US Top 1000, either – at least not as of 2015, the most current data available from the US Social Security Administration.
If you’re crushed that your favorite old-fashioned girls’ name is on everybody else’s list, too, these names might be for you.
Constance – Back in the 1950s, Constance appeared in the US Top 100. It’s a virtue name with history galore. William the Conqueror had a daughter called Constance of Normandy; the name’s roots go back to ancient Rome. Constance makes a possible substitute for Top 100 picks like Charlotte and Caroline, but just 142 girls were given the name in 2015.
Florence – Florence combines vintage style with place name appeal. If Savannah and Brooklyn rank, it’s easy to imagine this destination inspiring parents, too. Notable Florences of the past include pioneering nurse Nightingale, who was indeed named after the Tuscan capital. Florence feels capable, antique, and in the US, undiscovered. In the UK, Florence is already on the rise.
Harriet – A Top 100 favorite in the 1880s, Harriet probably reminded a generation of parents of the ill-tempered Mrs. Olesen of Little House on the Prairie fame. Reason enough to give the name a miss! But now nickname Hattie has made a comeback and Harriet Tubman is set to appear on the new $20 bill. Maybe it’s Harriet’s time! 179 girls were given the name in 2015.
Louise – Parents are falling for Eloise in big numbers. Louisa, too, is climbing in use. But Louise was given to only 240 girls last year, falling just outside the current Top 1000. A favorite through the 1940s, Louise requires no nickname, but comes with many appealing possibilities. Jazz Age icon Louise Brooks makes this name even more fashionable.
Maude – A Top 100 favorite through 1905, Maude is familiar to many as the eldest daughter of Gabrielle Blair, a.k.a. Design Mom. It’s a great stands-out, fits-in name, as vintage as Tess, but as tailored as Sloane. If names like Mae and June, Ruth and Gwen are on your list, the very rare Maude might deserve a spot, too. Just 16 girls were given the name in 2015. The spelling Maud is even rarer.
Maxine – We’re used to girls named Alexandra answering to Alex. That paves the way for Maxines called Max. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan chose Maxima for their daughter in 2015, but zippy, retro Maxine is another option. Big in the 1910s and 20s, it was given to 231 girls on the most recent list. That’s more than the 40 girls named Maxwell, but still rare.
Opal – A Top 100 favorite from the turn of the century into the 1910s, Opal fits with plenty of trends. It’s an O name, like chart-topping Olivia. It fits with simple, nickname-proof nature names like Iris and Ruby. The birthstone for the month of October, Opal was given to just 229 girls in 2015.
Pauline – Vin Diesel named his daughter Pauline in 2015, a tribute to his late Fast & Furious co-star, Paul Walker. Just 77 girls were given the name in 2015; but from the 1880s through the 1930s, it appeared in the US Top 100. One challenge to the name’s revival: most of our ends in –line names today rhyme with win or wine, while Pauline sounds like seen instead.
Sally – Mad Men gave us the fiercely independent Sally Beth Draper, but the name failed to catch on during the series’ run. With pop culture associations galore, from hit songs to Charlie Brown’s sister, everybody recognizes the name. It appeared in the US Top 100 from the 1930s through the 1950s. Today it fits with Molly, Millie, and Sadie – but was most recently given to just 221 girls.
Can you see any of these names making a comeback? Are there others you would add to this list?
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on March 19th, 2017 at 11:36 pm
I have loved Constance for a while, but wasn’t feeling nickname Connie. But I recently started pondering Coco as a nickname instead and I’m kind of hooked now. Opal is another I really adore, but again I’m worried about Opie being inevitable?
on March 20th, 2017 at 5:59 am
Why rule out names ending with a, yeah sure they’re trendy but their are plenty of not so appealing names that end in a. Bertha for example. Then you have mildly trendy names that end in a. You have ones that are rarely used nowadays. They aren’t all trendy.
on March 20th, 2017 at 6:20 am
I like that she avoided names ending in a. I think there are a lot of great names ending with a but also a lot that don’t and it’s nice to give those that don’t some time to shine. I also think it would have just been helpful in narrowing the list down a bit.
I love Harriet, Opal and Maude!
on March 20th, 2017 at 6:47 am
I think avoiding the -a names was to get the “tailored quality” she mentions in the intro. I personally like trying to avoid names with a endings just because it often feels like “code for female.” I like feminine names, but I also like the idea that feminine means more than just ending with an a, if that makes sense.
on March 20th, 2017 at 10:48 am
I’m considering Sally for a future daughter. It works well in both English and my native language. I really like Opal too, but mostly in theory.
Abby Sandel Said
on March 20th, 2017 at 10:55 am
@gummybear0724 – Eu is exactly right; I was going for tailored. It’s open for debate whether, say, Harriet is really frills-free. There’s a case to be made that it’s rather elaborate, with the -iet ending. So it’s not a perfect rule, but that’s where I started. This time! You might like this list more: https://nameberry.com/blog/elaborate-girl-names-inspired-by-amalia
on March 20th, 2017 at 12:06 pm
Ooh, I like Harriet and Constance. Connie, not so much, but maybe just Constance.
on March 20th, 2017 at 1:13 pm
What could be a fresh new nickname for Constance?
on March 20th, 2017 at 1:51 pm
I love Florence, Maxine & Maude!
on March 20th, 2017 at 3:02 pm
Maxine has the same end sound as Pauline. I do love Maxine. It’s hard for me to comment objectively on Pauline, as my name is Paula and it’s that name which people mix up with my own. Paul is less popular than it has been, and that has influenced the overall down trend for its feminine versions. I totally love Sally. It’s the one to look at, if you feel that Sarah and Sadie are too popular. Sallie is a great alternative spelling, and very stylish.
on March 20th, 2017 at 3:13 pm
It is funny to see Florence and Harriet described as new and fresh as, lovely though they are, they are both very popular in the UK.
teacupsandtiaras – I had a great aunt named Constance and everyone called her Tance or Tancy which is cute.
on March 20th, 2017 at 3:22 pm
Sally is on my list (with this spelling as an honor name, but I like the Sallie spelling too), and I think Maxine is all kinds of cool.
Maude is one of the few names I’ve always passionately disliked, so it’s been eye-opening to see how many people really love it! I guess it makes sense as a vintage alternative to short, sporty names like Sloane.
Teresa H Said
on March 20th, 2017 at 6:15 pm
My sister’s middle name is Calista. It seems an old type of name.
on March 20th, 2017 at 6:40 pm
Oh No! I hope not! My number one girl name for the last six years has been Maud. I’ve been watching all the name blogs hoping it wouldn’t become more popular. I better have that baby girl soon!
on March 20th, 2017 at 8:24 pm
This is my baby naming style to a tee! If I was writing to the Name Sage, I think I’d say something along the lines of “I have a daughter named Violet and I’m after another vintage name for my next daughter…but I want something less popular!” Needless to say, I love all the names on this list (maybe except Pauline). Some other names on my list that may warrant inclusion on this list: Audrey, Beatrice, Caroline, Daphne, Edith, Faye, Iris, Margot, Pearl, Susannah.
on March 20th, 2017 at 9:59 pm
We considered Harriet Louise as a name for our third child. (We named her Celia Rose instead. If names ending with a were on this list, I think Celia would fit right in!)
on March 20th, 2017 at 10:38 pm
I’m a huge fan of the “ine” ending names, so Maxine and Pauline sound fabulous! I also think Francine, Maurine and Celine are amazing comeback names! <3
on March 21st, 2017 at 8:51 am
I love Opal and Harriet!
on March 21st, 2017 at 8:52 am
I love Opal and Harriet!!
on March 23rd, 2017 at 7:33 am
Florence and Harriet are very popular in England. They can be shortened to Flo and Flossie, or Hattie/Hatty. Hatty in Tom’s Midnight Garden is a well-loved character.
I love Connie and Constance. One of the triplets in the Chalet School series was Con. Works well. As do the suggestions above of Tance/Tancy/Coco.
Daphne is one of my favourite old-time names.
on April 8th, 2017 at 5:55 pm
@Kara Says: How would Opie be inevitable? Never even enters my mind when I hear Opal and I doubt any child born in the last… twenty years named Opal is going to go to school with anyone who knows what the The Andy Griffith Show is.
I like Maxine but recently I’ve been more into Maxime.
on April 21st, 2017 at 7:14 pm
I love Maud! Utterly adore it. I’d use it in a heartbeat, if I could.
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