Vintage Girl Names: How To Find A Cool Old Name

August 25, 2010 Pamela Redmond

Vintage girl names are back in style, which choices such as Emma, Olivia, and Adeline ranking high on the popularity lists. But maybe you want a vintage name for your daughter and are hoping to uncover a hidden treasure from the past. 

We’ve written a lot about the names of 1910 that are coming back, thanks to the Hundred Year Rule: Alice and Florence, Lillian and Hazel and Ruby.

But what about the names in the Top 1000 of 1910 that are virtually unknown now? A hundred years ago, Helen was the number 2 name for girls, right behind Mary. Mildred was number 8, Ethel number 13, and the dubious Gladys hot on her heels at 15. You don’t meet many Ethels and Gladyses (Gladysi?) anymore outside the nursing home.

And I’ve never heard of a Ceola, Ozella, or Exie, yet those names and dozens of others now lost were in the 1910 Top 1000.

Several months ago we looked at the Lost Names of 1880, and were surprised by how many there were. We declare ourselves surprised anew by how many lost names we’ve located on the 1910 roster that are different from those we listed in the 1880 story.

The first group are not lost, exactly, as they’re still heard from time to time. A few — Blanche, Lula, Viola — may even make a comeback. But most of these names, popular in 1910, have been in mothballs for decades now and may never make it out.

  1. Aline
  2. Alma
  3. Avis
  4. Beulah
  5. Bernice
  6. Bertha
  7. Blanche
  8. Clarice
  9. Doris
  10. Elnora
  11. Ernestine
  12. Eunice
  13. Fern
  14. Hilda
  15. Inez
  16. Iola
  17. Iona
  18. Leona
  19. Lois
  20. Lorena
  21. Lula
  22. Melba
  23. Merle
  24. Myrtle
  25. Opal
  26. Pansy
  27. Rosetta
  28. Thelma
  29. Veda or Vida
  30. Velma
  31. Verna
  32. Viola
  33. Wilma
  34. Zelma

The second group are names that have already slipped under the surface. While I’m certain that some of you knowledgeable berries will protest about the visibility or viability of a handful of these names, most seem to me to no longer be part of the basic American name lexicon. Your opinions on exceptions welcome.

I want to note that several of these names seem like quasi-names, a group we singled out in the 1880 story. We include here choices not included there — Alta, Elva, Lera, Rilla — and there are enough of these name snippets to assume it was still a trend in 1910….though it is not today.

  1. Albina
  2. Alida
  3. Almeda
  4. Alpha
  5. Alta
  6. Altha
  7. Alva
  8. Alvina
  9. Arvilla
  10. Ceola
  11. Della
  12. Delma
  13. Delphia
  14. Dona
  15. Elda
  16. Elna
  17. Elva
  18. Emmer
  19. Erma
  20. Ethelyn
  21. Eula
  22. Florine
  23. Floy
  24. Glenna
  25. Hulda
  26. Idell or Idella
  27. Ira
  28. Leatha or Letha
  29. Lela
  30. Leola
  31. Leora
  32. Lera
  33. Louvenia
  34. Lue
  35. Lura
  36. Marvel
  37. Meta
  38. Mozelle
  39. Myrtice or Myrtis
  40. Nedra
  41. Neva
  42. Nona
  43. Novella
  44. Odell
  45. Oleta
  46. Ozella
  47. Palma
  48. Reatha or Retha
  49. Reva
  50. Rilla
  51. Rosina
  52. Treva
  53. Trula
  54. Vada
  55. Velva
  56. Verda
  57. Verla
  58. Vesta
  59. Zada
  60. Zella
  61. Zola
  62. Zula

And then there are the lost nickname-names, epidemic in 1880 and still raging in 1910. We listed a lot of those names in the 1880 story and didn’t want to repeat, but here are several that were hot in 1910 and are rarely heard now, though we think Addie is an American Girl doll.

  1. Addie
  2. Arie
  3. Arlie
  4. Bennie
  5. Bertie
  6. Callie
  7. Claudie
  8. Exie
  9. Flossie
  10. Gussie
  11. Jannie
  12. Kattie
  13. Linnie
  14. Lonnie
  15. Lossie
  16. Macie
  17. Maudie
  18. Mazie
  19. Mossie
  20. Myrtie
  21. Nannie
  22. Ollie
  23. Ossie
  24. Ressie
  25. Tennie
  26. Tressie
  27. Vergie or Virgie
  28. Verlie
  29. Versie

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles


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