Vintage Lucy is quite stylish, and Ella is at the heights of popularity. Smoosh ‘em together, and you’ll arrive at this charmingly retro appellation.
Thanks to Caitlin for suggesting Luella as our Baby Name of the Day.
Have you heard of the 100-year rule? A name tends to make a comeback after a century. Not every name – Beulah, Doris and Arnold remain in limbo. But many choices on the rise were last popular in the 1910s, like Clara and Arthur.
Luella peaked in the 1910s and 20s, meaning that she’s a prime candidate for revival right about now.
She may be on her way. In 1999, just nine girls received the name – and she’d been averaging around a dozen newborns a year for decades.
Then along came:
- Blink-182 frontman Travis Barker and Shanna Moakler called their daughter Alabama Luella back in 2005.
- In 2008, blogger and baby namer extraordinaire Rebecca Woolf welcomed a daughter called Fable Luella.
By 2012, 107 girls were called Luella – the most since the 1950s, when she was on her way out.
Rebecca mentioned that her daughter’s middle is a nod to her late grandfather, Lou. Celebrity parents have embraced the sound, from Heidi Klum’s Lou Sulola to Sandra Bullock’s Louis to Leelee Sobieksi’s Louisanna.
Could we be entering a new age of Lou names?
- Louella was once popular. With 29 newborn Louellas in 2012, it is safe to say that the Lu- spelling is favored by twenty-first century parents.
- Louisa was falling by the 1910s, while Louise ranked in the Top Twenty. Today, Louisa probably has the more on-trend sound.
- Plenty of 1913 choices sound just right today: besides Lucy, there’s Lucille and Luna, as well as Lucinda and Lucia.
- Others seem wearable, but more daring, like Lula and Lulu – both possible nicknames for Luella.
- Some 1913 picks remain dated, or maybe just not ready for revival: Lue, Louie, Lupe, Luvenia and Louvenia, Ludie, Luz, and Lucretia. Interestingly, the spelling Elouise also ranked. Today Eloise is rising quickly, but I’m not sure I’d think of her as a Lou name.
- Lots of other possibilities exist: Lucienne, Lumi, and Luscinia come to mind.
The Lou- sound is definitely one to watch.
Other notable uses include:
- British fashionista Luella Bartley has made her mark, grabbing headlines for her original designs and her commentary on her native country’s style. She’s also lent her name to a magazine.
- When truck driving was novel, Luella Bates was the first woman to earn a living behind the wheel, beginning in World War I.
- In the 1930s, scientists Winthrop and Luella Kellogg turned their family lives into an experiment. Son Donald was raised alongside a same-aged chimpanzee for a year, to investigate nature versus nurture.
- Place names abound, including a Texas community named after Luella Hughes, the daughter of the store owner who applied for a post office. There’s also an island in Nunavut by the name.
What Luella has never had is a single, super high-profile use as a given name. Maybe that’s why she’s never ranked higher than #120, and that was back in the nineteenth century.
And yet, she’s kind of perfect in 2013. Part London it-girl, part-Southern belle. If you’re after a rare retro choice with a quirky vibe, a name that stands out and fits in, Luella is an option.