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Vintage Names: 100-Year-Old Names That Sound New Again

July 23, 2009 Pamela Redmond

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 1910s.

A handful of the top names in the decade from 1910 to 1920 are already solidly back in style.  These old fashioned baby names include:

Old Names for Girls

ANNA
CHARLOTTE
ELEANOR
ELLA
EVA
GRACE
JULIA
LUCY
ROSE
STELLA
VIOLET

Old Names for Boys

ANDREW
BENJAMIN
CHARLES and CHARLIE
HARRY
HENRY
JACK
LEO
RAY
SAM
WILLIAM

A larger group is, not surprisingly, on the cutting edge of style, supporting the whole Hundred-Year theory by indicating which early 1900s names we’ll be hearing more of in the decade ahead.  The old-fashioned names from the Top 100 in the 1910s that sound fashion-forward today include:

Old Fashioned Names for Girls

ALICE
BEATRICE
CLARA
EDITH
ESTHER
EVELYN
FLORENCE
HAZEL
JOSEPHINE
JUNE
LENA
LEONA
LILLIAN
MABEL
MAE
MARGUERITE
MINNIE
PEARL
RUBY
SYLVIA
VERA
VIOLA
VIVIAN

Old Fashioned Names for Boys

ARTHUR
EDWARD
FRANK
HOMER
LEON
LOUIS and LEWIS
OSCAR
RAYMOND
VICTOR
VINCENT
WALTER

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:

Unique Old Names for Girls

AGNES
ALMA
BESSIE
BETTY
BLANCHE
DOROTHY
EDNA
ELSIE
GENEVIEVE
HELEN
IDA
IRENE
MARIAN and MARION
MARJORIE (by popular demand!)
MAXINE
MILDRED
MYRTLE
OPAL
PAULINE

Unique Old Names for Boys

ALBERT
BERNARD
CECIL
CHESTER
CLARENCE
CLAUDE
CLYDE
EDGAR
EDWIN
EVERETT
FLOYD
FRED and FREDERICK
HAROLD
HARVEY
LEROY
LLOYD
MARTIN
MILTON
RALPH
ROY
STANLEY
THEODORE
VERNON
WARREN
WILBUR
WILLARD

Other names it’s just hard to imagine coming back in the foreseeable future….or ever.  But we’ve eaten our hat before so we may well see a resurgence of babies with these, uh, not-so-attractive “old people names” that were last popular a hundred years ago.

Girl Names

BERNICE
BERTHA
BEULAH
DORIS
ETHEL
GERTRUDE
GLADYS
LOIS
MARJORIE
PHYLLIS
THELMA
WILMA

Boy Names

ALVIN
ARNOLD
EARL
ELMER
ERNEST
HERBERT
HERMAN
LESTER
MARVIN
MELVIN

Want more ideas? See all our Vintage Baby Names

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 of the same name.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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