Vintage Treasures Still Stowed in the Attic: Petra, Polly & Lelia
A sleek, sophisticated French name that means ‘dolphin’ and evokes images of the sea, Delphine is found in the fiction of Balzac and Madame de Stael, and was recently seen in both Orphan Black and American Horror Story. But though it may be Number 271 on Nameberry, Delphine was given to fewer than five girls nationally in 2013.
- French name that means ‘dolphin’ and evokes images of the sea, Delphine is found in the fiction of Balzac and Madame de Stael, and was recently seen in both Orphan Black and American Horror Story. But though it may be Number 271 on Nameberry, Delphine was given to fewer than five girls nationally in 2013." >
- Henrietta, given to close to 600 little girls in 1914, is a good candidate to follow in the footsteps of other revived 4-letter E-names Emma, Ella and Elsa. With its jazzy tie to soul singer Etta James, this one-time Top 100 name was chosen by Carson Daly for his daughter." >
- Edwina was on the Social Security list through 1969, when it completely faded away, along with big brother Edwin. But, especially if daintily pronounced ed-WIN-a, we can see it joining sister whist-players Matilda and Josephine in modern nurseries. And the same goes for Eugenia." >
- Flossie and Florrie were two extremely popular Florence nickname names that were widely used independently in 1914—Flossie a younger twin in the Bobbsey Twins children’s book series, first published in 1904—and was given to over 500 girls a century ago. Appealing, if a little cutesy—think candy floss, not dental. Another forgotten Florence pet name, Floy, was #448 in 1914." >
- George feminizations, following on from Georgia and Georgina, Georgiana has a more rococo, romantic image. The name of Mr. Darcy’s younger sister in Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana was as high as Number 256 at the turn of the last century, but has been missing from the list since the 1950s—except on Nameberry, where it’s #453." >
- Ione has been off the US list since the early 1940s. 1914 rating: 351, Nameberry: 497. It has been associated with actress Ione Skye, daughter of ‘Mellow Yellow’ singer Donovan—a name-influencer himself." >
- Roman treasure, Lelia is one double-l name that hasn’t been discovered, though it fairly rolls off the tongue. It came to the UK in the mid-nineteenth century, following the publication of George Sand’s popular romantic novel eponymously titled Lélia in 1833." >
- Lucy, Lucinda was coined by Cervantes for a Don Quixote character. She fell out of fashion decades ago, along with Linda, Belinda and Melinda, but was a Top 500 entry in 1914. Lucinda was Ella’s fairy godmother in Ella Enchanted." >
- Mamie be the next Maisie? A retro namesake for an Aunt Amy or a Grandma Mary? It’s the cute nickname name Meryl Streep’s actress daughter Mary Willa has always gone by. There were 1386 little Mamies born in 1914 and fewer than five last year. But, surprise, surprise!--she’s 678 on Nameberry." >
- Odessa is the Ukrainian city that was named after Homer’s Odyssey, giving it cross-cultural depth. It was on the US list from 1800 to 1956, an intriguing choice definitely worthy of consideration. Actor Michael Chiklis used it for his daughter." >
- Opal that year, a name that disappeared from the list around 1960. But with the resurgence of other gem names like Ruby and Pearl, as well as love for o-ending names, we see the opalescent Opal primed for being polished up for modern use." >
- Peter, which is now wildly popular in several Slavic countries, has been attached internationally to some high-profile supermodels and athletes. Before it dropped off the US list in 1951, it had been on for seven decades." >
- Peppy, perky Polly has never joined cousin Molly on the comeback trail, despite her wholesome image, and many literary and TV appearances. Perhaps she’s just too wide-eyed and wholesome. But she has her fans on Nameberry, ranking there at #439." >
- England/Wales list, but Tillie has yet to resurface in the US, unlike her cousin Millie. Some other high-ranking nickname names for girls in 1914: Bessie (Number 55), Nellie (61), Willie (66), Hattie (97), Lizzie (#228), and Lottie (#142)." >
- Jimmy Fallons named their daughter the adorable nickname Winnie, but there’s something to be said for putting the full name Winifred on the birth certificate. A Welsh saint’s name with lots of literary cred, there were close to a thousand Winifreds born in 1914." >
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on September 4th, 2014 at 11:49 pm
The early 1900s were definitely my century. I love Lucinda, Polly, Winifred, and Matilda (nn Tillie), and I have a soft spot for Odessa. I wish I liked Edwina more; it was my maternal grandmother’s name (pronounced Ed-WEE-na). Unfortunately it just feels like one of those halfhearted tack-an-‘a’-on-the-end feminizations, and I’m not fond of Edwin.
Some of these names are closer to a comeback than you may think — the 3-year old I nannied for this summer had classmates named Ione AND Opal!
on September 4th, 2014 at 11:52 pm
I know 3 people named Ione, all teenagers- early 20’s. And I know a fair few Lucindas, but they are all 50-60’s.
on September 5th, 2014 at 12:26 am
I know a 10th grader named Georgiana and a 9th grader named Mamie (not sisters).
I’ve always loved Matilda and Edwina, they’re some of my favorites. Delphine is pretty awesome, too. I’ve actually never heard of Lelia before.
With the Ender’s Game movie, I can reasonably envision Petra making a comeback as well.
on September 5th, 2014 at 1:10 am
The ones that really stood out for me were Delphine, Petra and Odessa, but the one I’d be most likely to actually use is Delphine.
on September 5th, 2014 at 2:57 am
Another vintage name blog?
What’s wrong with real names that are trendy? What’s wrong with international names? What’s wrong with literature, real names? What wrong with names from 1200. or 1400. or 1500.? There’s world outside USA, but you repeat over and over post about first USA recorded names. Today it’s Matilda, Odessa and Edwina. Next month it would be Myrtle, Dorothy and Edwina. Some names repeat, some names are left out only to appear latter.
I’m not reading name blog anymore out of protest.
This may seem rude, but I just wanted to point this forceful advise about “old-fashioned” and “classic” names. Sorry for any inconvenience.
on September 5th, 2014 at 5:24 am
I absolutely love Georgiana and Opal! Other favorites include Lucinda, Petra, Odessa, Leila, and Tillie (as a nn for Matilda)
on September 5th, 2014 at 5:28 am
I meant to write Lelia not Leila. I also forgot Winifred as another one I absolutely love
on September 5th, 2014 at 8:23 am
Love the Edwardian names — although many of them are retreads of Restoration/pastoral names. The only two I would have actually used are Edwina and Winifred — Winifred would have been my father’s name had he been a girl, and Winifred Holtby was an amazing and mostly-overlooked writer of the 20th century. Perhaps now that we are having a new miniseries of Vera Brittain’s work, Winifred Holtby will be rediscovered.
Also, Edwina was the name of one of the older sisters in National Velvet — a book with wonderful names in and of itself.
on September 5th, 2014 at 8:57 am
Most of these name I adore! Edwina, Odessa, Georgiana, Opal, Leila, and Delphine are beautiful! I don’t really like Petra or Polly or Winifred, but the rest are quite charming.
I do like Flossie, but only because my ma calls me Flossie Flo from time to time.
on September 5th, 2014 at 9:15 am
lol Sorceress Says -oh no this name blog talks about names but today it’s not the specific name I wanted to hear about!
I like a lot of these, particularly Lucinda and Odessa. But Flossie and Mamie -nope, let’s lose those to the sands of time!
on September 5th, 2014 at 9:20 am
From the list I love Georgiana, Odessa & Opal! Beautiful names!
I second Mamie and Flossie should probably stay where they are ; )
on September 5th, 2014 at 9:30 am
I like Lelia! That’s stunning! I also like Petra and Odessa.
I sort of agree with Sorceress. I think a cool name blog would be “International names that work in English speaking countries” (ie. Not just the USA, but Canada, England and Australia ect.). Or compare the top 10 from Canada, USA, England, Australia, South Africa, all the English speaking places that you can think of!
on September 5th, 2014 at 10:06 am
LOVE this post! This is what nameberry is all about–finding those sweet spot names that others don’t know about. 😉
Love Georgiana and Opal. And, I had a great-aunt Ione.
With this list was even longer! Anyone got any other ideas of unrestored vintage beauties?
on September 5th, 2014 at 10:36 am
I enjoyed gazing at the gorgeous vintage photos as much as reading about the names themselves. I love many of these gems but I especially have a soft spot for Polly and Winifred.
on September 5th, 2014 at 11:34 am
I have mixed feelings about these names. A few are just NMS, don’t care for the way they sound: Opal, Odessa. Etta, Winifred and Edwina (too often pronounced Ed-Ween-a).
But I love others — Lucinda, all the feminine George names (my grandmother was Georgia, my goddaughter is Georgianna, and I always had a soft spot for Lady Georgina on Upstairs, Downstairs), I know an elderly Lelia and many young Lilas, so I’m thinking Lelia will soon join it and Lily on the playground.
Tillie, Flossie and Mamie make cute names for puppies and kittens!
on September 5th, 2014 at 3:12 pm
I like Etta, Georgiana (with George-ee-ah-na pronunciation), Odessa, and Tillie is cute. I want to like Petra, but all I can think of is Petri dish. 🙁 Although maybe if I do become a scientist of some sort, it’ll be more fitting. 🙂
on September 5th, 2014 at 4:28 pm
I love Delphine and Winifred is one of my all time favourites.
Also quite like Etta, Odessa and Petra 🙂
on September 5th, 2014 at 4:30 pm
I enjoyed all of these names but especially Georgiana! Georgia & Georgina didn’t quite do it for me but I longed for a namesake option for all the Georges in my life! Georgiana nn Giana!
on September 5th, 2014 at 7:09 pm
I love this post! Vintage names are so adorable. I have a great aunt Florence and her nn was Flossie. She is listed in our family tree as Flossie. I have a cousin Lucinda and we call her Cindy. I love Opal and would use it in a minute!
on September 5th, 2014 at 8:24 pm
I LOVE these names, and the great vintage photos! I hope Lucretia gets some attention soon, too.
on September 5th, 2014 at 9:10 pm
Some personal favorites are here. I particularly like Etta. Delphine and Edwina appeal to me, too, but perhaps more frill than I’d want on my own children.
I liked Odessa for quite a while, but then I decided that the SS organization probably ruins the name for a lot of people, and I wouldn’t want any association with that.
on September 6th, 2014 at 7:56 am
I love love love Winifred, and hope I’d be able to use the name someday on a daughter. I actually love many names on this list- Winifred, Etta, Florence, Georgiana, Delphine, Ione, Odessa, Opal, Petra…
on September 6th, 2014 at 11:25 am
Now, how are Georgiana and Lelia pronounced? I read somewhere that Georgiana is geor-jay-nuh. If that’s the case, I’m not sure I like it (and will stick to Georgianne as my mother’s namesake). If it’s geor-gee-ann-uh, then I do like it. As for Lelia, is it pronounced like Celia and Delia, with the e being long, lee-lee-uh? Or is the e sound short, leh-lee-uh? For as much as I love Celia and Delia, I don’t like Lelia if that’s the way it’s pronounced. I do, however, adore it with the short e.
I also love Delphine, a name I’ve never considered before but after hearing that it means dolphin (my absolute favorite animal ever), it may become a contender.
My grandmother and cousin (named after my grandmother) are Petra’s. Neither like the name. My grandma prefers to go by Petrita, a Spanish diminutive, whereas my cousin prefers Pety. But I do love Peter, the name Petra is taken from.
Adore Lucinda, with the possible nicknames of Lux, Lucy and Cindy. I’m on the fence with Winifred. it sounds so posh and lovely, with it’s adorable nickname Freddie and a good way to get to Winnie. But I don’t know if it beats out Gwendolyn and Guinevere for the other ways to get to Winnie.
on September 6th, 2014 at 8:23 pm
May I just say the photos for this article are WONDERFUL!! love them. The Winifred one (little ice skater with a huge pillow tied to her bum) is perfection.
» Vintage Treasures Still Stowed in the Attic: Petra, Polly & Lelia Baby Name Suggestion Said
on September 6th, 2014 at 11:47 pm
[…] These girls’ names were the cat’s meow in 1914 and are just about ready for an encore. Nameberry – Baby Name Blog […]
on September 7th, 2014 at 5:43 pm
I hear Etta a lot on little girls at the park, etc. Somehow it is always Etta Rose. I think there are five or six little girls named Etta Rose in my end of town, seriously. I don’t see how thus is statistically possible, maybe some of them are nickname Ettas.
I really want to like Petra, but I just hear Petulant Petra. And the early 1990s Christian metal band comes immediately to mind.
I agree that Nameberry tends to have a more narrow focus. I love the idea of broadening this!
on September 7th, 2014 at 9:28 pm
My 16-month-old is Petra! I feel so cutting-edge now.
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