26 Forgotten but Charming Vintage Girl Names That Are Making a Comeback

Genny Glassman | Sep 26, 2017 Pregnancy

baby girl sunglasses
iStock.com/wundervisuals

It's hard to think of "new" baby names these days. It seems everything under the sun is either insanely popular, taken by cool name-conscious celebs, or already on the verge of becoming the latest "it" name. It can be hard out there for a mom who wants a name that's stylish and recognizable yet strikingly unique. Sometimes what a baby really needs is a true classic. Bessie, Bertha, Agnes -- they don't sound like a hip 2000s baby. But there might just be more than meets the eye to these vintage "old lady" names.

Old-fashioned names are perfect for seasoned baby-name hunters, as they are usually interesting, fashion-forward, stand the test of time, and able provide a new and quirky charm on the school playground. Plus, they truly never go out of style. After all, if these classic names are good enough for wise and wonderful women of decades past, they're certainly perfect for the modern little ones soon to share these titles.

More from CafeMom: 21 'Girl Names' That Are All Sorts of Cute for Baby Boys

Using the Social Security Administration's naming database, and a little help from the resident baby name experts at BabyNameWizard.com, we found the most popular baby names from the early 1800s and 1900s and narrowed them down to a list of all the classic girl names we think should still be trendy today. They are vintage, stunning, and have a unique and sophisticated edge to them. Come to think of it, who wouldn't want to rock a stylish name from the good old days?

  • Gertrude

    1

    Gertrude is the quintessential grandma name! In its heyday (the 1880s), Gertrude rose to be the 27th most popular name in America. These days, it's not nearly as popular, but just because it's a blast from the past doesn't mean it needs to stay there. And if Gertrude isn't quite your style, you can always opt for its equally cute nickname, Gert.

  • Esther

    2

    This great name comes straight from the bible and has been an attractive choice for girls ever since! From the protagonist of The Bell Jar (Esther Greenwood) to a supernatural character on The Vampire Diaries (Esther Mikaelson), this name has had serious staying power. Perhaps that's because it brings to mind intelligence, royalty, and solidarity. 

  • Lottie

    3

    This sweet nickname of Charlotte is a cute choice that still feels fresh. It was the name of a supporting character in The Little Princess and the blonde princess in Disney's The Princess and the Frog. Or if you're a Broadway fan, "Little Lotte let her mind wander..." is a classic line from the musical Phantom of the Opera. 

    More from CafeMom19 Celebrity Middle Names You'll Want to Steal for Your Baby

  • Nannie

    4

    Yes, this is literally what some people call their grandmother. But we think Nannie is cute and feminine. There have been many writers and thinkers named Nannie, but a fun Nannie to think about is Nanny from X-Men!

  • Gladys

    5

    Gladys, which inspires memories of legendary singer Gladys Knight, is a pretty name that has a lot of history. It hit its peak in popularity in 1900, topping out at the 14th most popular name. Now that's a name with mass appeal!

  • Mildred

    6

    Mildred might seem mild mannered, but did you know a Mildred wrote one of the most popular songs in musical history? Along with her sister Patty, Mildred J. Hill wrote "Happy Birthday to You." That's right, THE "Happy Birthday" that we all know and love! So there you have it -- Mildreds are musical masters!

  • Mamie

    7

    The name of one of the most extravagant, interesting, and downright fabulous characters in film was Auntie Mame, played by Rosalind Russell. But a more recent Mamie is Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer. Truly a unique name for a glamorous little girl!

    More from CafeMom25 Super Cute 'Boy Names' That Are Just Perfect for Baby Girls

  • Beulah

    8

    Not to be confused with Buell-er, this Southern-sounding name is a good choice for all you debutante belles out there. It also evokes a sense a roaring '20s flappers and dancing the jitterbug! Beulah is a good-time girl for sure!

  • Myrtle

    9

    A unique name for a bookish little girl. Myrtle, derived from the Greek myrtos, is also the name of beloved Harry Potter ghost, Moaning Myrtle! Peaking on the 1880s at #37, Myrtle was a historical favorite that deserves a passage to the future!

  • Bertha

    10

    Here is a fact that might surprise you: Bertha was the eighth most popular name in the US in the 1880s. The eighth! The name took a turn in the second world war when they started calling tanks "Big Berthas" and unfortunately the nickname stuck. But don't let an old-fashioned nickname ruin a perfectly strong and unique modern baby name. Bertha is a beautiful name that evokes a sense of the country, open plains, and Americana.

    More from CafeMom18 Badass Baby Girl Names for Future Presidents

  • Kitty

    11

    A puurrrfect baby name! Sorry, we had to. Not just a good name for cat lovers, Kitty has always had a small but consistent trend in popularity. Perhaps it's because this name is a pet name and has cute-charm. But characters like Kitty Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Kitty Pryde from X-Men, and Kitty Forman from That '70s Show are all testaments to its charm and staying power. Me-ow! 

  • Winifred

    12

    Derived from the Welsh name for "blessed peace," this name connotes a quirky vibe -- in a good way. Winifred was also the name of beloved characters Winifred Foster from Tuck Everlasting and the wicked witch sister Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus. And what name has a cuter nickname than Winnie?

    More from CafeMom15 Gorgeous Spanish Baby Names for Girls You Don't Want to Overlook

  • Dixie

    13

    A sweet name with American history in its bones. Dixie Carter was the actress who played strong, opinionated Julia Sugarbaker on Designing Women. And who could forget the opinionated country band the Dixie Chicks? One thing is for sure, Dixie is the name for a smart girl who knows what she wants.

  • Edith

    14

    Hey little Edith! This classic name embodies the term grandma-chic. Want proof? There's presidential wife and political dynamo Edith Roosevelt, headscarf icon Edith Bouvier Beale (aka "Little Edie") from Grey Gardens, French singer Edith Piaf, Edith "Edie" Sedgwick, and Lady Edith Crawley from Downton Abbey. All of them iconic women, all of them strong, graceful, and completely themselves. Parents, take note: Edith is a name that is truly special.

  • Ruth

    15

    Ruth, taken from the biblical character who has her own book in the Old Testament, was extremely popular in the 1990s, coming in at number 5 on the most popular names list. And if you are wondering if Ruth's noble connotation still exists today? Well, there is no greater example than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

  • Betty

    16

    Calling all Archie comics fans, Betty is back in style again! In the 1920s and '30s, Betty was the #4 and #2 most popular name, respectively. In fact, the name was so popular it became the name of the iconic cartoon character, Betty Boop! It's since faded to the background, but we can't imagine a better name for an adorable baby girl.

    More from CafeMom21 Beautiful Baby Girl Names With Classic Latin Roots

  • Minnie

    17

    We're sure you've heard the name Minnie before. It's the name of everyone's favorite female cartoon mouse! But did you know that Minnie is also short for Guillermina, Maximina, Minerva, and Wilhelmina? No matter what you choose, we like this name short and sweet!

  • Ethel

    18

    Can't you imagine a cute little Ethel, running around with her baby-glasses on? Ethel is derived from Old English and means "noble." And don't forget Ethel Mertz, from I Love Lucy, who will always have a place in the hearts of the American public.

    More from CafeMom21 Baby Names for Girls Inspired by Modern-Day Princesses IRL

  • Fannie

    19

    A sweet throwback name that was very popular in the 1880s, Fannie is the feminine French form (say that three time fast!) of Francis, and we just love how it reminds us of the past. Remember, it's not old, it's vintage!

  • Nettie

    20

    Nettie, like similar sounding names Hattie and Lottie, was part of naming trend that ran throughout the late 1800s. This sweet and charming nickname of Annette and Henrietta can still be admired now, as the nickname-as-first-name trend still continues today!

    More from CafeMom20 Heavenly Baby Girl Names for Your Little Angel

  • Agnes

    21

    For those who are intrigued by this name classic, may we recommend the French pronunciation to spice it up? Agnes, in French, is pronounced "AH-nyez" -- trust us, it's sexy and very popular across the pond. In America, the name peaked in popularity in the 1880s, topping the list at #59. Très chic, non?

  • Eula

    22

    It's pronounced "YOO-la," and it's not hard to imagine a hip and happening brood of hipsters adopting this name for their future daughter. At its peak, the name Eula came in at #132 in the 1890s. Now, it's just biding its time until it trends once more.

  • Goldie

    23

    A name for your little golden girl! Goldie, derived from Golda, is probably best known because of actress Goldie Hawn. But why should she have all the fun? Goldie spent the 1890s at the top of the charts but has dropped off the most popular names list in the past few decades. Fit for a little girl with major star power, this name is ready to take center stage again.

    More from CafeMom21 Bizarre Baby Names You Won't Believe Are Real

  • Delia

    24

    A name that still sounds cool and hip, even if it is an older classic. Delia, like the favorite '90s shopping mall chain, was one of the trendiest names of the 1880s, and it's held a steady spot in the top 1,000 baby names ever since. An alternative to Cordelia, this name sounds chic and modern despite its old-school vibes.

  • Everly

    25

    This name was recently re-popularized by everyone's favorite A-list couple, Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum, when they named their firstborn daughter Everly. To us, it sounds whimsical and sweet, with just enough hispter cred to make it a new-age hit.

  • Bessie

    26

    A nickname of Elizabeth and Bethany, Bessie is a cute derivative that sounds feminine and cool. And it was incredibly popular too! In 1880 the name hit #13 in popularity and stayed in the top 100 until the 1920s. Trust us, Bessie could be a comeback hit.

    More from CafeMomThe 25 Best Quirky Baby Girl Names by State

More