The Most Popular Girls of 1914: Where are their names now?

At the beginning of the year, we like to flip back the calendar a hundred years to see what the baby name landscape looked like a century ago. 1914 was a year in which World War I was in full swing, the year that President Wilson officially established Mother’s Day, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth made their debuts, and saw the births of Dylan Thomas, Jonas Salk and Joe DiMaggio.But the babyname universe was relatively calm, as we can see by looking at the stable top dozen girls’ names. Here, they are, in order of their 1914 popularity, and what their status is today:


In 1914, the New Testament Mary was in no danger of giving up her top spot, which she had held for hundreds of years and would continue to occupy for another 36. There were 45,000 little Marys born that year—5.6% of all girls--whereas though Mary is now at a still respectable Number123, it was given to just over 2,500 girls in the last year counted.

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17 Responses to “The Most Popular Girls of 1914: Where are their names now?”

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jacquigirl Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 12:54 am

I love Anna, Mary, Alice, Elizabeth with the nickname Ellie, and Margaret with the nickname Maisy. They are all such beautiful classics. I have a hard time imagining any of them ever sounding outdated like Dorothy and Ruth do now. I also like Frances. I know a three-year-old with this name and it sounds so fresh on a little girl.

jessamine13 Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 7:10 am

I know it’s not stylish, but I have always really liked Marie. I just think it sounds really pretty.

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 1:55 pm

I really love some of these. Margaret, Elizabeth, Alice, Frances, Ruth. I love Marie but not Mary or Maria. I’m on the fence with Anna, sometimes I really like and sometimes it seems so boring. I’m a fan of the name Dorothy but I have an aunt named that so my association with it is too strong. My cousin liked Mildred but I’m not sure. I love the name Helen and its variations, Helena and Elena. I don’t know about Evelyn. I like it but I think I prefer Eve and Evangeline more. Everett is stuck in my head as a boy’s name.

madelon_mireille Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 3:51 pm

My favorite aunt, born in 1912, was named Alice. I find Alice one of the best names, a classic name without being uber frilly and overdone.

peach25 Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Alice, Elizabeth, Margaret, Frances. They seem classic. Dorothy, Ruth, Evelyn, Helen still dated to me. My grandmother’s bridge club.

joel613 Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I really like the directness of Ruth. If it could only shake off the Baby Ruth connection, which of course was given as an honor to Ruth Cleveland to begin with I think it would be more popular.

I can see all the others that haven’t already made a comeback doing so except poor Mildred, it’s just hopelessly clunky.

miloowen Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I love these Edwardian names, especially Alice, Margaret, Ruth, Dorothy, and Frances. I adore Mildred — I know, I know — but my great-aunt Mildred was the first person to acknowledge me as a writer. She was an incredible person — a teacher at an elite prep school in Portland, she was also a writer, the head of the Democratic party (after women earned the vote!), and adventurer. I love Elisabeth, but with this spelling, not the more common Elizabeth. I’m not a fan of either Mary or Marie — I prefer Miriam — and I somehow can’t help preferring Evelyn as an Edwardian boy rather than a modern girl. Lastly, my grandmother Helen was honoured by my naming the daughter I lost Rachel Helen, and I much prefer simple Helen to Victorian Helena or Latin Elena.

KateMP91 Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 7:38 pm

These are my kinda names!

Mary will be one of my daughter’s middles. It’s a family name, as is Marie.
Marie is my middle, my mom’s middle, and my grandma’s first name.
Dorothy! Ohhh I LOVE Dorothy. I have it scribbled as a middle on SO many of my random lists. Sometimes, it even appears as a first!
Ruth is so endearing. I truly adore it. Ruth is the epitome of short and sweet!
Elizabeth has grown on me over the last year. I like it, but prefer Lisbeth or Eliza.
Evelyn…I recently met an Evelyn that prefers to be called Eve. I definitely prefer Evelyn.

findemaxa13 Says:

January 31st, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Mary: I love Mary. Probably my front-runner for a future daughter. Short, sweet, and yet strong. Beautiful, with a rich history and many namesakes. Plus, lots of double-name potential.
Helen: I like it, but wouldn’t use it.
Dorothy: I know this one gets a lot of love on here, but I think it’s dowdy and ugly. Despite loving Theodore, I really dislike all the female variants of that name group. (I like Thea, though. Simple and lovely.)
Margaret: Beautiful, lots of great nicknames, and very strong while still feminine. I’d consider using it.
Ruth: I have a big soft spot for Ruth, both because the Biblical Ruth is part of one of my favorite Bible stories, and because Ruthie is just a precious nickname.
Anna: I love Anna. Like Mary, short and simple and perfect. Others might find these names boring, but I tend to prefer simpler girls’ names.
Mildred: Same feelings as Dorothy.
Elizabeth: I really hate Elizabeth. It’s a strong classic name, and it fits with my “style” but I think it’s harsh-sounding and lisping at the same time. It’s grating to me, even hideous. Besides, I have extremely upsetting associations with it. I like Eliza, Libby, and Betsy, though. Only Eliza would be considered a stand-alone name, in my opinion.
Frances: Decent name. Prefer Francis.
Marie: I would like to see this make a comeback. I prefer Mary or even Maria myself, but it’s very pretty too.
Evelyn: Just kind of “meh” to me. I don’t like most of the fancier Eve variants; I prefer just Eve or Eva.
Alice: I used to love Alice, but I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere and it’s gotten irritating. Still a decent name, though. I prefer Alison.

Mischa Says:

February 1st, 2014 at 11:37 am

I think all of these names could make a comeback in the years to come (of course, Elizabeth is a top name already) with the exception of Mildred. Millicent is fine but the sound of Mildred is so depressing.

I just adore all of these vintage photos. They don’t take photographs like this anymore.

linda Says:

February 1st, 2014 at 11:48 am

Mischa–They are all silent screen actresses–except for the Queen Mum.

Giinkies Says:

February 1st, 2014 at 11:06 pm

I love the name Mildred, but I’ve been banned from using it.
I also think that Francesca is the more modern and stylish alternate to Frances.

_Liesl_ Says:

February 2nd, 2014 at 8:25 am

Marie, Helen, Mildred: I hope they stay undiscovered for a while! I also love Alice and Elizabeth, but they’re way too popular. I don’t care for Frances (or Francesca), Ruth, Dorothy and Evelyn.

namesage Says:

February 2nd, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I would definitely use Alice. I’d also use Ruth, but call her Ruthie. I might use Elizabeth to get to Eliza, but I think Eliza can probably stand on it’s own.

tori101 Says:

February 2nd, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I love so many of these names!

My favourites being

Helen features as a middle name on my forever changing name list, however I’m not keen but it’s my beloved sisters name. She hates Helen and her hatred for her name as put me off.

sarahmezz Says:

February 2nd, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Names I’d genuinely consider giving a daughter: Alice, Elizabeth, Helena and Margaret.

Names I wouldn’t consider: Anna (would be on my list if not already used by my cousin), Dorothy, Evelyn (it’s actually become too popular), Frances, Marie, Mary, Mildred and Ruth.

LuMary Says:

February 4th, 2014 at 5:56 pm

I like most of these. When I look at Marie objectively and forget how ubiquitous it once was as a first or middle name, I see how pretty and French it is. It also reminds me of Marie Curie.

I don’t care for Evelyn, though. I’m not fond of the “yn’ ending: Kathryn, Madisyn, Addisyn, Katelyn, Masyn, etc.

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