Vintage Baby Names: Celebrity Faves
By Abby Sandel
Take an overlooked name with an on-trend sound, add a high profile celebrity birth announcement, and voilà – the next big thing in baby names.
Or not. Some names are too offbeat to catch on. I’m looking at you, Apple and Zuma.
But more often, celebrity baby names are truly influential. Starbabies can turn that name everyone is cautiously considering into the next Top Ten favorite. Ava, Isabella, Jayden, and Liam all got a big boost when Hollywood mamas chose the names.
When it comes to vintage baby names, a new celebrity baby can be a powerful signal that a name is prime for a comeback.
Let’s take a look at nine great vintage names chosen by celebrities – a few that have been wildly influential and a few more that could signal a new favorite.
Alice – Storybook Alice was long out of vogue. For parents of a certain generation, Alice was housekeeper to the Brady Bunch and a hard-working diner waitress, not a little girl. In 2005, Tina Fey welcomed a daughter named Alice Zenobia. Name nerds swooned. Alice ranked Number 414 back then. Since then, Alice has climbed to Number 107, and could break into the Top 100 soon.
Olive – Olivia was a well-established chart-topper when Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen welcomed their first child in 2007. Isla and Sacha went with the rarer, sparer Olive. That same year, Olive re-entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in six decades. Drew Barrymore gave the name to her daughter in 2012, and Olive currently stands at Number 291 and rising. Starpower at work.
Otis – Not every vintage name makes an immediate comeback. When Hollywood A-Lister Tobey Maguire named his son Otis in 2009, parents failed to notice. But now that Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis welcomed Otis Alexander in 2014? It might be the right moment for Otis at last.
Arthur – Actress Selma Blair named her son Arthur in 2011. In the US, the name has climbed from Number 389 to Number 323 over the past few years, and now seems less grandpa and more dashing medieval king. With Asher and Archer also on the rise, Arthur’s sound is right on trend. It’s a far more modest way to give your son a regal pedigree than, say, Sire or Reign.
Mabel – Bruce Willis and first wife Demi Moore defied all expectations with their three daughters’ daring names: Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah. Now the girls are all grown up, and Bruce and new wife Emma Heming are setting trends. In 2012, the couple named their daughter Mabel Ray – a sassy retro pick. Mabel was out of favor for decades, but in 2013, re-entered the US Top 1000.
Cyrus – Let’s take a look a few celebrity baby name picks that might prove influential. I’m watching Cyrus, the name Claire Danes chose for her son in 2013. Cyrus currently ranks Number 436. With names like Silas in favor, the Old Testament Cyrus could fit right in.
Theodore – Quirky, classic Theodore Ignatius is the son of musician Michael Fitzpatrick and actress Kaylee DeFer. The couple welcomed their son in 2014. Could Theodore take the place of other favorites like Alexander and Sebastian? Theodore charted at Number 170 in 2013. Back in the early 1900s, Theodore was a Top 50 staple. Chances seem good that Theodore will reach at least that high in the coming years.
Frances – Frances currently charts at a fairly obscure Number 693. But there are plenty of reasons to expect this saintly classic to catch on. There’s the current pope. of course, but also Jimmy Fallon’s second daughter, Frances “Franny” Fallon, born in late 2014. Drew Barrymore welcomed a Frankie a few months before. But the first Frances was actually Amanda Peet’s daughter, Frances Pen, called Frankie, born back in 2007.
Edith – And now the latest celebrity baby name choice that could spark a vintage revival: Cate Blanchett’s new daughter, Edith. In the US, Edith remains obscure at Number 718. Between Downton Abbey’s rebellious middle sister and the sweet nickname Edie, there were already plenty of reasons to watch this name. But all the headlines over Cate’s latest addition could be just the thing to push Edith from is-this-name-ready to yes-let’s-bring-back-Edith!
What are your favorite vintage names? Are any of them catching on? Or do you prefer your antiques undiscovered?
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on March 15th, 2015 at 11:27 pm
Hazel and Evelyn are missing from your list. But, my favorite vintage name of all is Muriel. I’ll be happy to say I’ve been a long time fan when it comes back!
on March 16th, 2015 at 12:04 am
Rupert-I’m sure it will make a come back in England at least!! love Hugo too-it is already popular where I live. Phoebe and Matilda for girls are firm favourites too.
on March 16th, 2015 at 1:52 am
Most of these names are swoon-worthy but I particularly love Theodore, Frances, and Edith.
on March 16th, 2015 at 12:39 pm
I second Muriel. Just waiting for public acceptance on that one!
Gerard is our top choice, and plenty of people think that is still too dusty.
Eudora and Priscilla are on our lists too, though those seem more bold retro-chic than dusty right now.
These are the names (from our list) that I love, but tend to be thought of as “too dated”, but totally deserve some limelight!…
Gilda, Hester, Minerva, Myrna, Ethel, Agatha, Beatriz, Myrtle, Clarice, Tilda and Oona.
Virgil, Walter, Roger, Roderick, Digby, Vernon, Lionel, Simeon, Edgar, Laszlo, Ambrose and Rudolph.
on March 16th, 2015 at 3:24 pm
My favorite vintage names are Alice, Beatrice, Eloise, Gracie, Hazel, Juniper, Lillian, Margot, Meredith, Olive, Opal, Pearl, Rosie, Clementine, and Violet. I have more, but I’m not sure if they count as vintage or not, like Lenore, Adelaide, Primrose, Ottilie, Ottiline, Luella, Elspeth, Cora, Charlotte, Cecilia, Claire, Audrey, etc.
on March 16th, 2015 at 7:43 pm
Oh yes, yes, I third Muriel, such a lovely name, one of my nicknames for my beloved, almost 22 year old tuxedo kitty. 🙂
I definitely do NOT want to keep my antique favorites undiscovered; I want tons of people named them so I can enjoy them constantly.
Maybe if I live to be 100 (yeah, right) all my favorites will come back into style again. Mabel, Violet, Hazel, and Edith are a VERY good start though.
on March 16th, 2015 at 8:27 pm
My most favorite is Francine. Others that I like are Lottie, Josepha, Wilhelmina and Pearl.
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