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These Vintage Names Sound New Again

April 6, 2020 Clare Green
vintage baby names 1920s

Vintage baby names are a rich source of inspiration if you’re looking for a name with history and character. If the Hundred-Year Rule – which states that it takes a century for most names to come back into fashion – holds true, then we’re in for some interesting times, judging from the list of 100 Most Popular Names of the 1920s.

A handful of the top 1920s baby names are already solidly back in style.  Once old-fashioned baby names in the Top 200 today include:

Top Vintage Girl Names

Alice
Audrey
Caroline
Charlotte
Clara
Cora
Daisy
Eleanor
Ella
Eloise
Evelyn
Genevieve
Grace
Hazel
Josephine
Lillian
Lucy
Madeline
Nora
Rose
Ruby
Sadie
Sophie
Stella
Violet
Vivian

Top Vintage Boy Names

Alexander
Benjamin
Calvin
Edward
Everett
George
Henry
Jack
Jacob
Leo
Max
Nathaniel
Nicholas
Oliver
Samuel
Theodore
Victor
Vincent
William
Wesley

If you’re wondering why the boys’ list is shorter, it’s because of the difference in turnover between boy and girl names. A lot of boys’ names are on both the 1920s list and the 2018 list not because they’ve come back, but because they never went away. John, James and Joseph, for instance, have never left the Top 30. The girls’ list has a few enduring classics — notably Sarah and Elizabeth — but most of the names there rise and fall more quickly.

Cool Vintage Names

A larger group is, not surprisingly, on the cutting edge of style, supporting the whole Hundred-Year theory by indicating which vintage 1920s names we’ll be hearing more of in the decade ahead.  The old-fashioned names from the Top 100 in the 1920s that sound fashion-forward today include:

Girl names

Ada
Beatrice
Dorothy
Edith
Elsie
Faye
Florence
Frances
Harriet and Hattie
June
Leona
Lucille
Mabel
Mae
Marjorie
Olive
Opal
Pearl
Rosalie
Vera

Boy names

Archie
Arthur
Charlie
Forrest
Francis
Franklin
Frederick and Fred
Harry
Harvey
Hugh
Julius
Leon
Leland
Louis and Lewis
Oscar
Otis
Ralph
Raymond
Roland
Walter
Willis

Rare Vintage Names

Other choices still seem a bit far out right now, but we predict will become more stylish and feel more acceptable over the next decade, echoing their popularity of a century ago.  These include:

Girl names

Agnes
Alma
Betty
Billie
Della
Flora
Geneva
Gloria
Henrietta
Hilda
Imogen
Irene
Louise
Lula
Marguerite
Maxine
Minnie
Nellie
Viola
Winifred

Boy names

Albert
Bernard
Cecil
Chester
Clarence
Claude
Dennis
Edmund
Emil
Gene
Gerald
Gilbert
Guy
Harold
Lloyd
Luther
Martin
Morris
Stanley
Vernon
Wallace
Wilfred

“Do you dare?” vintage names

Other names it’s just hard to imagine coming back in the foreseeable future.  But we’ve eaten our hat before so we may well see a resurgence of babies with these names. Early adopters and counter-culture lovers, the floor is yours.

Girl names

Alberta
Bertha
Beulah
Doris
Edna
Eunice
Gertrude
Gladys
Irma
Mildred
Muriel
Velma
Wilma

Boy names

Alvin
Dewey
Earl
Elbert
Elmer
Herman
Homer
Hubert
Lester
Merle
Norman
Orville
Wilbert

Want more ideas? See all our Vintage Baby Names

About the author

Clare Green

Clare Green writes Nameberry's weekly round-up of the latest baby name news, including celebrity announcements, unusual naming stories, and new statistics from around the world . Clare, who has been writing for Nameberry since 2015, lives in England, where she has worked in libraries and studies linguistics. You can follow her personally on Instagram and Twitter.

View all of Clare Green's articles

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