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Where to Find a Cool Vintage Girl Name

January 23, 2020 Sophie Kihm
1920s Girls Names

So you’re looking for a cool vintage girls’ name. It has to have style. It has to have charm! It shouldn’t be common. You refuse to be scoffed at!

We get it. Yes, these seemingly elusive qualities are hard to capture all in one name, but hey, that’s why we’re here. We’ve identified one hundred vintage rarities—all outside the current US Top 1000—with potential for a 2020 (or beyond) baby.

One of our top tips is to go through decades-old popularity charts, where there are always interesting names that have since left the public conscious. We’ve chosen 1920, because according to the 100-Year Rule—the idea that names become fashionable every four generations or so—these are the names that should be coming back into style right around now.

 

Gone but Not Forgotten

As wild as it may seem to contemplate a name like Mildred or Ethel for your daughter, trust us, these names will come back again. Resuscitate one now and you run the risk of some whispers but give it ten years and everyone will wish they’d had your style foresight.

Many have potential to be rising stars of the decade, so buyer beware. We’ve recently noticed children of stylish parents answer to Goldie, Lula, and Sybil, and names such as Edna, Lois, and Henrietta are already making their ascent in the UK.

Avis

Constance

Cordelia

Delores

Dorothea

Edna

Effie

Enid

Ethel

Fern

Goldie

Henrietta

Hilda

Leona

Lois

Lula

Mildred

Nadine

Sybil

Zella

 

Nickname Names

The Roaring ‘20s were ripe with sassy nicknames. Comb through the Top 1000 and you’ll encounter dozens of nickname-names you’ve never even heard of, such as Sudie and Ludie (originally short for Susanna and Ludicia), and Verdie and Virgie (diminutives of Verity and Virginia).

Of course, those four might not be the best candidates for revival—we highly advise against calling your daughter Virgie—but these twenty names deserve a second look:

Dottie

Effie

Essie

Flossie

Gertie

Lettie

Lottie

Madge

Mamie

Margie

Maudie

Minnie

Nan

Nettie

Ouida

Pearlie

Polly

Roxie

Tillie

Tressie

 

Boyish Names for Girls

Lest you think unisex names are a modern-day trend, behold, the boyish names of the 1920s! Parents frequently gave their daughters masculine names that rival even today’s gender-neutral standards (ever met a girl named Harold?).

We excluded many of the classic boys’ names that made the list for girls, including Charles, William, and Joseph. It remains hard for us to imagine a baby girl named Robert, although evidently, they existed! Who knows, maybe in another hundred years we’ll see bunches of little girls named Thomas and Clifford and Edward. For now, stick with Theo, Clyde, and Eddie.

Bennie

Bertie

Billie

Bobbie

Cecil

Clyde

Eddie

Freddie

George

Ira

Jack

Jimmie

Johnnie

Leo

Mattie

Maurice

Ollie

Sammie

Theo

Willie

 

International Names

The crop of international names in 1920 was not as diverse as it is today, being mainly made up of French, Spanish, and Italian names. We still love these long romantic names, but many have been incorporated into American culture for long, they hardly feel international anymore. It’s easy to forget that back in the day, names like Jeanette and Carmen were the height of exoticism.

The ‘20s have a leg up on the modern day when it comes to Japanese names though. 1920 was the end of a Japanese population boom in the US, and as such, a significant number of traditional Japanese names made the Top 1000.

Antionette

Carmela

Celestine

Cleta

Francisca

Fumiko

Inez

Josefina

Kiyoko

Marcella

Marguerite

Novella

Roma

Rosalia

Socorro

Stasia

Trinidad

Vincenza

Yetta

Yoshiko

 

Hidden Gems

None of these names were ever superstars, in fact, they were all ranked below the Top 250 in 1920. Each fell off the charts well before the 21st century and there have been little signs of revival since.

This is great news if you’re searching for a name that won’t be catapulted into the Top 1000, to eventually be sucked up by yupsters and suburbanites. These names are unique and they’re likely to stay that way.

Afton

Ardith

Delphine

Eulalia

Geneva

Imogene

Lelia

Lenora

Marvel

Minerva

Nella

Odessa

Palma

Petra

Rosamond

Rosella

Sabina

Theda

Thora

Verona

 

What do you think are the coolest vintage girls’ names?

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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