40 Forgotten But Charming Vintage Girl Names That Are Making a Comeback

Genny Glassman | May 12, 2020 Pregnancy
40 Forgotten But Charming Vintage Girl Names That Are Making a Comeback
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baby girl sunglasses

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 unusual. 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.

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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 unusual and sophisticated edge to them. Come to think of it, who wouldn't want to rock a stylish name from the good old days?


    little girl eating a watermelon

    Gertrude is the quintessential grandma name! In its heyday (the 1880s), Gertrude rose to be the 27th most popular name in the US. 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 sounds too adult, parents can always opt for its equally cute nickname, Gert.


    little girl smiling

    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. 


    little girl in pink

    This sweet nickname for 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 for a Broadway fan, "Little Lotte let her mind wander..." is a classic line from the musical Phantom of the Opera. 


    little girl resting her head

    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!


    little girl in pilot hat with mom

    Gladys, which inspires memories of legendary Motown 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!


    Little girl laughing
    MIA Studio/Shutterstock

    Mildred might seem mild-mannered, but 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's the truth -- Mildreds are musical masters!


    little girl looking away from camera

    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 an unusual name for a glamorous little girl!

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    little girl and her dog

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


    little girl with red pigtails
    Arvydas Kniuksta/Shutterstock

    An unusual 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!


    little girl smiling sunglasses

    Here is a surprising fact: Bertha was the eighth most popular name in the US in the 1880s. The eighth! The name took a turn in World War II 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 uncommon modern baby name. Bertha is a beautiful name that evokes a sense of the country, open plains, and Americana.

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    little girl in pink

    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! 


    baby girl with a bow
    pixelheadphoto digitalskillet/Shutterstock

    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?


    little girl hanging upside down

    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.


    little girl in the sunshine

    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

    little girl in flower hat

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


    little girl blowing dandelion

    Calling all Archie comics fans, Betty is back in style again! In the 1920s and '30s, Betty was the No. 4 and No. 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.

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    little girl and her dog

    We'va all heard the name Minnie before. It's the name of everyone's favorite female cartoon mouse! But did people may not know that Minnie is also short for Guillermina, Maximina, Minerva, and Wilhelmina? No matter which options moms may choose, we like this name short and sweet!


    little girl with glasses

    Just 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.

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    little girl playing with feathers
    Olga Shlyakhtina/Shutterstock

    A sweet throwback name that was 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!


    little girl looking up

    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!


    little girl and bubbles

    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 popular across the pond. In the US, the name peaked in popularity in the 1880s, topping the list at No. 59. Très chic, non?

  • EULA

    little girl in the pool

    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 No. 132 in the 1890s. Now, it's just biding its time until it trends once more.


    little girl painting

    A name for a 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.


    little girl smiling

    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.


    little girl with her dog

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


    little girl learning to walk

    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 No. 13 in popularity and stayed in the top 100 until the 1920s. Trust us, Bessie could be a comeback hit.

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  • MABEL 


    Ooh, we love the name Mabel! This name, which can also be spelled Maybel, has British origins and means "loveable." It was a top 100 name from the 1880s-1920s but then dropped in popularity. It's making a comeback now and is in the top 1000 names again! Welcome back, Mabel!



    When delightful actress Busy Phillips chose names for her daughters, she was totally in on the charming vintage name trend! Her girls are named Cricket and Birdie, which are both adorable. Birdie is a an especially sweet choice that means "bright" or "little bird." 

  • BEA 


    Let's channel some Golden Girls vibes and talk about the name Bea! Obviously Bea Arthur was awesome as Dorothy, but the name Bea is pretty great on its own. Bea can be short for Beatrix but it also works as a standalone choice, too.  



    Constance, which has the cute and retro nickname option of Connie, used to be a top 200 name option. This was when so-called "virtue" names were more popular. Constance, which means "steadfast," hasn't really started making a comeback yet, so parents who choose this one could be ahead of the trend!

  • PEGGY 


    Fans of the musical Hamilton know that Peggy is a fun name to sing ("... and Peggy!") and name nerds know that it is often used, somewhat inexplicably, as a nickname for the classic name Margaret. We think it is a cute choice all on its own! 

  • CORA


    Perhaps thanks to the popularity of TV's Downton Abbey, the name Cora is starting to make a major comeback! This name with Greek origins means "maiden" but fans of the show are likely to associate it with ever elegant and charming matriarch of the show, Cora Crawley. Not a bad inspiration in our book!

  • IRIS 


    There has probably never been a time when parents didn't get name inspiration from nature! While flower names have ebbed and flowed in popularity, Iris is making a major comeback! It is now just as popular as it was in the 1920s and '30s! This is a name with real staying power and a lovely sound that also works well for a middle name. 



    OK, we have to be honest. This name is on the list almost as much for its nickname as for its meaning. We adore the nickname Millie (so cute!) but we're also crazy about girls' names that connote strength. This French name means "brave strength" and what girl doesn't need more of that in her life? 



    Cicely, which can also be spelled Cecily, is a Welsh name that is seriously underused. Perhaps most commonly associated with iconic actress Cicely Tyson, it has also found more modern fame with SNL star Cecily Strong. 



    Hello, bright girl! Lucinda, which comes from the Latin, for "light" is an amazing choice that is just starting to make a comeback. We love that Lucinda is a dignified name for an adult (it totally handles the "president test" for a name) and can have the cute nickname of Lucy for a girl who isn't quite ready to rule the world yet.