vintage girl namesVintage girl names follow trends, rising and falling as the decades come and go.

That sounds counter-intuitive, right?

Trendy names, we think, must be the Ashleys and Jessicas, Mileys and Khaleesis. They define a generation. Or maybe they’re so tied to pop culture that they feel tied to a particular moment, one that will fade quickly.

Classic girl names could fit in another category. And yet, it’s a surprisingly short list. If we look only at names to remain consistently in the US Top 50 or so, only Elizabeth truly makes the cut. Names like Mary, Margaret, Eleanor, Katherine, Anna, and a handful of other qualify as classics, too, but they’re undeniably subject to trends – and might belong on this list.


Then how should we think about stylish old-fashioned girl names? They have history – often impressive history, with scientists and queens, activists and actors answering to the names across the generations. They’re drawn from religion, mythology, and the natural world.

But they’ve also undeniably cycled out of favor at some point. And so while they’re traditional girl names, they’re also undeniably stylish – rising in use over the last decade, or at least attracting more attention from parents.

This can make for a perfect choice for a child’s name, of course – something a little fresh and different, but also rooted in history.

Some of these traditional girl names feel undeniably stylish today. Others remain in fashion limbo, considered only by the more daring namers among us. Conventional wisdom tells us that some old-fashioned names will never make a comeback. But current Top 100 favorites like Hazel and Evelyn suggest that many names are just waiting to be rediscovered.

It’s worth noting that while these names all feel traditional and vintage, not every one of these old-fashioned girl names topped the American popularity charts. Others were clearly favorites back at the turn of the twentieth century.

So if you’re looking for a time-tested name for a daughter, chances that some of these will appeal.


Current US popularity rank: #72
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

A Hebrew name with a lovely meaning – my father’s joy – Abigail wasn’t a fixture circa 1900. Like many vintage girl names, it probably peaked long before the US data was first compiled for the year 1880. Instead, the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources suggests that Abigail was a favorite in the sixteenth century … and again in the early 2000s.


Current US popularity rank: #181
1900 US popularity rank: #72

A mini name in the key of chart-toppers Ava and Mia, Ada shares roots with favorites like Adeline. And yet, the name offers something different. It’s spare and straightforward. Pioneering computer programmer Ada Lovelace makes this name a vintage antique with a sciences edge. It’s a Big Bang Theory baby name, quirky and smart, but still more down-to-earth than you might expect.


Current US popularity rank: #181
1900 US popularity rank: #233

About as popular in the year 1900 as it is today, saintly and regal Adelaide can appeal for so many reasons. It’s as classic as Margaret or Elizabeth, but just a little less common. Like Georgia and Charlotte, you’ll find it on the map. And yet somehow, this name remains just off our radar – then and now. The shorter Adele is another possibility.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #41

Along with Agatha, the Aggie names feel quite out of favor now. But Agnes was a go-to choice at the turn of the twentieth century. It’s an appealing mix of strength and softness. Head back in time to the Middle Ages, and Agnes would’ve been the rough equivalent of Charlotte right about now.


Current US popularity rank: #164
1900 US popularity rank: #612

This name feels effortlessly romantic, thanks to its sound. But also because we associate it with the doomed Russian princess, youngest daughter of the last tsar of Russia. Rumor long held that the Grand Duchess Anastasia escaped her family’s grizzly fate. Plenty of today’s parents grew up with the 1997 animated movie and its child-friendly, fairytale spin. Appropriately enough for the princess, the name means resurrection in Greek.


Current US popularity rank: #83
1900 US popularity rank: #3

Anna hasn’t returned to the chart-topping levels seen at the turn of the twentieth century. But it’s worth considering today. Less common than Emma, not as tied to Arendelle as Elsa, the effortlessly international Anna is a culture-spanning classic that would wear well for a daughter in any era.


Current US popularity rank: #572
1900 US popularity rank: #108 (Ann ranked #92)

Anne names come and go, but it’s Anne-with-an-e, the spelling favored by Anne Boleyn, that seems most promising today. It’s a minimalist baby name with just enough style, thanks to that one extra letter. And it’s so deliberately not flashy that Anne feels strong, distinctive, and powerful.


Current US popularity rank: #434
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

Quick, what’s the feminine form of Anthony? You might say Antonia, but answers abound. There’s French Antoinette, Russian Antonina, and the long and lovely Antonella, an Italian name. Parents have embraced four-syllable girl names in recent years – think Isabella and Olivia. Names ending with -ella are particularly on trend. No surprise, then, that Antonella entered the US Top 1000 in 2016.


Current US popularity rank: #555
1900 US popularity rank: #56

Romantic Beatrice feels nearly as classic as Margaret, especially when Beatrix is added into the mix, making it the name of queens, as well as saints, literary figures, and countless women of accomplishment. And yet, Beatrice feels more subject to the vagaries of fashion than many classic picks. A perpetual Top 100 favorite in the early 1900s, it teetered on the verge of obscurity a century later. But Beatrice is back, a prime example of trending traditional girl names.


Current US popularity rank: #803
1900 US popularity rank: #219

Lest anyone dismiss Birdie as a twenty-first century flight of fancy, it’s worth noting that Birdie was a favorite a century ago, too. Sometimes short for Elizabeth, Bernadette, or another traditional name, Birdie also stands on its own.


Current US popularity rank: #529
1900 US popularity rank: #212

Do nickname-names qualify as traditional? They’ve been in use for ages, so why not? Bonnie – originally a Scottish word meaning pretty – has long been used as an independent name in the US. Singer Bonnie Raitt, actor Bonnie Hunt, Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde infamy. Another more current association: the little girl who inherits Andy’s toys in Toy Story 3 and the sequel. It’s a sweet name with a little bit of edge.


Current US popularity rank: #328
1900 US popularity rank: #34

Worn by royals from Catherine the Great to Kate Middleton, this name is nearly always in favor. But the preferred spelling changes. One hundred years ago, it was Catherine-with-a-C, while Katherine-with-a-K ranks higher today. Factor in Kathryn and Katharine, just for starters, and this name changes every few decades.


Current US popularity rank: #292
1900 US popularity rank: #483

Celeste is a tea cup of a name: elegant, perhaps a little bit delicate. It means heavenly, both in the spiritual and the astronomical sense. (It shares roots with the word celestial.) While it’s always appeared in the US Top 1000, Celeste has yet to break into the Top 200. But the tailored -t ending, combined with a powerful meaning, makes this one of the trending traditional girl names that’s worth another look.


Current US popularity rank: #145
1900 US popularity rank: #199

The patron saint of musicians, many of us know Cecilia from the infectious Simon & Garfunkel song. But it’s a name with rich history, beginning in the ancient world. The frilly, feminine name became Cecily in the Middle Ages, but today it’s Cecilia that’s most popular in the US. It’s a sister for Isabella, an alternative to Amelia, and a great traditional girls’ name that remains just beyond many parents’ radar.


Current US popularity rank: #448
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

Effortlessly French and impeccably literary, Colette also feels tailored and modern. It’s an interesting mix of contrasts. Colette started out as a feminine form of Nicholas. Confused? Nicholas becomes Nicole, becomes Nicolette. Drop the Ni and there you have it. It’s that rare name impossible to pin to any decade, and equally at home in all of them. It’s also enjoying a modest revival in France right now.


Current US popularity rank: #280
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

A nature name with an antique appeal, Dahlia fits in with other ecovintage picks like Violet and Hazel. For now, thought, Dahlia remains well beyond the US Top 100. That could change, though – the showy flower names has powered up the US popularity charts this century, increasing in use by a factor of six since 2000.


Current US popularity rank: #278
1900 US popularity rank: #926

Blame it on smash hit Bridgerton. We’ve all mentally added Daphne to our list of Regency England favorites. Except it would’ve been pretty rare back then … and in the US circa the year 1900, too. Still, this lovely name has roots in Greek mythology. And, unlike legitimate year 1900 chart-toppers Bertha and Mildred, Daphne sounds like the kind of vintage baby name parents seek now.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #79

We love Nora, Cora, Aurora, and Flora – so why not Dora? Maybe it’s because this generation grew up watching Dora the Explorer, following the map and looking out for Swiper. But there are plenty of reasons to imagine that parents might see past the backpack-wearing adventurer. After all, we’re slowly rediscovering Theodora, Dorothy … and maybe even Doris.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #117

A sea nymph from Greek myth, Doris once had quite the glamorous, Hollywood image. Think Doris Day. And the name peaked right around the late 1920s. If the one hundred year rule applies, Doris is just about ready to return to favor, one of those old-fashioned girl names that feels surprising on a child – and just right, too.


Current US popularity rank: #487
1900 US popularity rank: #27

Dorothy ventured over the rainbow in 1939; by the mid-1980s, she’d retired and moved to Miami with The Golden Girls. The former Top Ten darling fell in use as the twentieth century wore on, briefly departing the rankings early in the 2000s. But it was just a blip. There’s so much to love about this sparky, traditional choice. It’s the medieval English form of Dorothea, meaning “gift of God” – just like Theodora, appearing farther down this list.


Current US popularity rank: #513
1900 US popularity rank: #36

Many truly Old English names went extinct following the Norman invasion, but a handful endured. Count Edith among them. It’s the name of both a medieval queen and an English saint, which might help explain the name’s survival. Today, it’s also associated with French singer Edith Piaf, author Edith Wharton, and legendary costume designer Edith Head. Built-in nickname Edie is a bonus. Other Edie names for girls, like Edna, Edina, and Edwina, might also benefit from the return of Edith.


Current US popularity rank: #465
1900 US popularity rank: #479

In the 1990s, everyone knew Elaine from Seinfeld, a smash hit sitcom about four neurotic New Yorkers. While it was funny, the characters didn’t necessarily inspire you to name a child after them. Besides, Elaine had been a 1940s favorite, sliding in use well before anyone uttered the phrase “yada, yada, yada” on primetime TV. But today, the name seems poised to reclaim its roots as a French form of Helen, long appearing in Arthurian legend. It shortens not only to the widely loved Ellie, but also to the appealing Lainey.


Current US popularity rank: #122
1900 US popularity rank: #166

A lively take on Elizabeth, Eliza has long been used as an independent name. And we’ve been singing it for decades, too – just think of Broadway-turned-Hollywood hit My Fair Lady, featuring Eliza Doolittle. Of course, these days Eliza is all Hamilton. And that’s just one more reason to embrace this traditional favorite.


Current US popularity rank: #985
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

Emily was the number one name forever. Emma reigned for years, too. So no surprise that some parents have considered Emmeline, yet another cousin in that sprawling, thinly-connected family of Amelia/Emma names. Spelling obscures this name’s popularity – Emmaline, Emmalynn, and Emmalyn appear in the US Top 1000, too, and Emeline once did, too. But activist Emmeline Pankhurst – best known for her work on women’s suffrage – helps make Emmeline feel like the best bet for a traditional revival name, rather than a modern smoosh of Emma and Lynn.


Current US popularity rank: #139
1900 US popularity rank: #39

The name of a legendary Old Testament queen, Esther suggests a fearless woman of intelligence. Perhaps the Biblical figure helps explain why Esther ranked in the US Top 100 into the 1930s and has never left the Top 1000. Also to Esther’s advantage: the meaning “star,” the name’s tailored style, and many a famous Esther, too.


Current US popularity rank: #268
1900 US popularity rank: #402

Many an Ev- name is enjoying peak popularity right now. Literary and romantic Evangeline lags behind Evelyn and Everly, but still sounds very much like a vintage gem by 2020s standards. It means good news; an uplifting and optimistic name for a daughter.


Current US popularity rank: #726
1900 US popularity rank: #106

This name once belonged to a Roman goddess of flowers, just as you might expect. It only recently returned to the US Top 1000, lifted by our love of nature names. But Flora also owes its newfound popularity to our love of the names Nora, Cora, and Aurora. We can’t resist an -ora ending.


Current US popularity rank: #622
1900 US popularity rank: #7

For years, the British have been hip to Florence’s inherit cool. Think Florence and the Machine. Florence Pugh. Need I go on? American parents are catching up with this trending traditional lately, too, bringing it back to the Top 1000 after decades’ absence. An Italian place name that means flourishing, Florence is a former Top Ten favorite in the US, and could easily rise in the coming years.


Current US popularity rank: #418
1900 US popularity rank: #26

Lady-like Frances is a vintage name with plenty of polish. For years, the Italian Francesca felt like the only truly stylish choice in this family of names. But lately, refined Frances seems poised to follow names like Alice and Charlotte into the Top 100. Fun nickname options, from Frannie to Francie to Frankie, could be another plus.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #23

At first, Gertrude might feel stuck in style limbo forever. Except nickname Trudy/Trudie would fit right in with Ruby and Lucy, one of those vintage girl names that seems very current right now. And Gertrude’s past appearances near the very top of the US popularity charts suggests that parents might eventually come around to the name. After all, the numbers suggest that lots of us have a beloved ancestral Gertrude a few generations back on our family trees.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #134

The heroic Harriet Tubman is set to be the first woman to appear on US currency. With a recent biopic and lots of talk about the slave turned abolitionist, there’s no surprise that the name Harriet is in the air. But that’s not the only reason parents are reconsidering this traditional choice. The -et ending matches up with Scarlett and Juliet, and we’ve been wild for masculine form Henry and nickname Hattie for even longer.


Current US popularity rank: #411
1900 US popularity rank: #50

Sometimes a nickname outpaces the name! That happened with Hattie, a name that followed other sparky retro nicknames like Sadie up the popularity charts. A high profile birth announcement from actor-turned-reality-star Tori Spelling helped, too. Plus, while many of us recognize that Hattie comes from Harriet, we’re living in a moment when many parents opt for the name-’em-what-you’ll-call-’em approach. All combined, no surprise that traditional Hattie is outpacing Harriet on the charts – at least for now.


Current US popularity rank: #421
1900 US popularity rank: #2

Tailored Helen feels like a no-nonsense name. And yet, Helen of Troy remains the most beautiful woman in ancient legend, the face that launched a thousand ships. Layer in dozens of accomplished women who have answered to Helen over the years, and this name feels strong and traditional, with an enduring beauty, too.


Current US popularity rank: #473
1900 US popularity rank: #319

Helen occupied the US Top Ten from the 1890s into the 1930s. But the romantic, Latinate Helena has never come anywhere that close to the top of the charts. Maybe it’s because we debate this name’s pronunciation all the time in the English-speaking world. (Is it heh-LAY-nuh? heh-LEEN-ah? hel-ehn-UH?) Or maybe we just haven’t discovered it yet. Helena makes a great sister name for Lydia, a substitute for Amelia. And the numbers suggest parents may have finally discovered just that.


Current US popularity rank: #667
1900 US popularity rank: #31

The Greek goddess of peace, Irene was big among early saints and in the Byzantine Empire. It took longer to catch on in the English-speaking world, but folk standard “Goodnight, Irene” stamps it with all the charm of vintage girl names. While dozens of artists have recorded the song, legendary musician Lead Belly was the first, in 1933. A 1950 version by The Weavers would hit #1 in the US. That makes Irene a richly meaningful names with millennia of use and a built-in lullaby, too.


Current US popularity rank: #84
1900 US popularity rank: #72

The goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology, Iris traveled from the realm of the gods to earth, delivering messages. It’s also the name of a lovely flower, elegant and poised. But Iris sounds fresh, too – it’s upbeat on a child, capable on an adult.


Current US popularity rank: #290
1900 US popularity rank: #128

Austen. Goodall. Addams. Calamity. The history books give us dozens of Janes, and fictional adds even more. So while this name rhymes with plain, it’s plenty exciting. While Jane counts as a classic, feminine forms of John abound, which makes them far more subject to trends. Joanna and Joanne, Jeanne and Joan have all taken their turn in the spotlight as the most popular John-adjacent girl’s name. At the moment, though, it’s Jane that’s most appealing to parents – again.


Current US popularity rank: #70
1900 US popularity rank: #47

The French feminine form of Joseph is Josephe – just add an ‘e’. The elaborated Josephine became famous thanks to Napoleon’s bride. And while it’s trended in and out of favor since then, Josephine now feels like a bona fide classic – and one that’s quite stylish these days, too. Josephine is a sister for Charlotte, an alternative to Madeline.


Current US popularity rank: #119
1900 US popularity rank: #194

If Hattie and Harriet can co-exist on the list, then so can Josie and Josephine. Josie might be short for other Jos- names – Josette, maybe? – but it’s almost always tied to the three-syllable Josephine. The high-energy nickname sounds like a sister for Hattie, an alternative to Daisy. But it also feels like a vintage choice, one that would’ve been at home in an earlier era, as well as the twenty-first century.


Current US popularity rank: #172
1900 US popularity rank: #291

Sweet and summery, June fits with vintage names for girls. But it’s a nature name, too, one that brings to mind a gentle season. It’s also part of a broader trend, with June names like Juniper and Juno making waves in recent years.


Current US popularity rank: #30; Lillie ranks #762
1900 US popularity rank: #292; Lillie ranked #40

The dominant spelling of names change over the years, but sometimes we don’t see it. Nearly any list of old-fashioned names for girls includes flower power Lily. But back around the year 1900? It would’ve been Lillie. Either spelling – or Lilly or Lillian – seems like a strong choice for a daughter, equal parts beautiful and traditional.


Current US popularity rank: #816
1900 US popularity rank: #121

Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick gave this name to a daughter back in 2009, it’s been on stylish parents’ radar. But the actual comeback has taken some time … and it’s still not nearly back to the heights the name enjoyed circa 1900 – yet.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #302

Ages before we named our daughters Brooklyn and Savannah, French place name Lorraine was in use. Maybe it’s because it sounds like traditional Laura. Or maybe it’s because the region was the site of an August 1914 battle during the first world war. Either way, Lorraine slowly caught on as a girls’ given name, and today it feels gently vintage – and very much on trend.


Current US popularity rank: #825
1900 US popularity rank: #271

A long and lovely name for a daughter, Louisa brings to mind author Alcott, she of Little Women fame. It’s a name from another age, sepia-toned and gentle. But it’s also a name with vivacious nicknames from Lula and Lou. And it’s gaining in use rapidly, too, an antique that feels like a logical successor to current favorites like Sophia and Amelia. No question that Louisa fits the traditional part of this list.


Current US popularity rank: #638
1900 US popularity rank: #35

Louise follows just one step behind Louisa. Despite being so similar in sound and nearly identical in origin, Louise does feel a little different. It conjures up silent film star Louise Brooks, a few decades after the nineteenth century Louisa May Alcott. And by dropping the final ‘a’, Louise manages to feel a little more spare and modern, too – though it shares all the sweet nicknames offered by the longer name.


Current US popularity rank: #281
1900 US popularity rank: #67

Parents today are more likely to skip Lucille in favor of Lucy. But the French Lucille feels nicely antique, a vintage girl name that brings to mind a bygone era. Besides the legendary Lucille Ball, there’s BB King’s guitar and the Kenny Rogers song. Add in plenty of historical figures, too, and Lucille is a vintage gem.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #63

You’re far more likely to meet a little Lola in the 2020s, but Lula qualifies as a vintage favorite. Originally a Louisa nickname, it stood nicely on its own then – and now.


Current US popularity rank: #312
1900 US popularity rank: #25

Call it the next Margot. Mabel claims medieval roots. Like Annabelle, it originally comes from Amabilis, a Late Latin name meaning lovable. For years, it felt a little too old school. Today, though, Mabel is bright and sparky, a vintage name with a lively spirit.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #636

When we talk about vintage girl names, the question is always which years? After all, Marilyn peaked in the 1930s – almost a solid century ago. But it’s not quite ready for revival just yet … maybe because Marilyn Monroe makes the name feels more midcentury than Gilded Age. Or maybe it’s because once-perpetual favorite Mary continues to fall in use. But vintage names evolve constantly. With Madelyn and Evelyn in the current US Top 100, doesn’t Marilyn feel like the kind of antique name for a daughter due for a comeback soon?


Current US popularity rank: #193
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

Margot’s stratospheric rise represents the kind of numbers that often attach to names like Everly and Miley. Except Margot is wildly different, a name with centuries of use. Originally a diminutive for Margaret, it has long since stood on its own. In fact, Margot might feel like an update for Margaret, a more accessible French name than Marguerite, an o-ender less modern than Harlow or Willow. No surprise that it’s a fast-rising favorite.


Current US popularity rank: #725
1900 US popularity rank: #28

Washington. Stewart. Quinn. Plenty of notable women have answered to classic Martha over the years. But somehow, we’ve misplaced this lovely New Testament name over the years. Crushed that Emma, Hannah, Nora, and Grace are so popular? Martha is the logical alternative.


Current US popularity rank: #415
1900 US popularity rank: #161

From the 1970s until well into the early 2000s, no one named their daughter Matilda. We all recognized the name, and could name a few uses – Roald Dahl’s fictional heroine, a medieval English princess, that Australian folk song. But lately Matilda seems like one of the traditional girl names many parents are after – we all recognize it, but it remains nicely uncommon.


Current US popularity rank: #614
1900 US popularity rank: #404

We love Max names for our sons, from Maxwell to Maximus. But Maxine, the logical feminine form, has languished in recent years. But that’s slowly changing, as Maxine has gained in use every year since 2014. It’s sparky and fun, a Jazz Age choice that’s slowly coming back into the spotlight a century later.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #696

A delicate name with a powerful meaning, Millicent – from the Germanic words meaning work and strength – also peaked around the 1920s in the US. Today it comes up on parenting forums as an alternative to Eleanor and Margaret, boosted by the success of popular built-in nickname Millie.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #22

Today, Minnie is very Mouse. Or possibly Driver.  But it was a go-to name for a daughter a century ago. Like so many names on this list – see Birdie or Tillie – it fits current trends effortlessly, a vintage name for a daughter that’s not overused today.


Current US popularity rank: #158
1900 US popularity rank: #95

For generations, the only Olive many of us knew was Popeye’s cartoon girlfriend, Olive Oyl. Except the comic strip character has faded from the popular imagination in recent decades. That leaves Emma Stone’s character in Easy A, a 2010 teen flick where Stone told us that Olive is an anagram of “I love.” The name was already rising on the coattails of smash hit Olivia, but it soared in the years following the movie’s release.


Current US popularity rank: #525
1900 US popularity rank: #140

Ruby is back in a big way. Diamond never really happened. But Opal? It fits with traditional girl names, ranked in the US Top 100 a century ago. Today it’s returning to the mainstream, a tailored gemstone name slightly more surprising than Pearl, but not nearly as out-there as Cerulean or Lazuli.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #380

We love Maggie and Maisie and Margot. Just like those favorites, Peggy started out as a Margaret nickname. And, of course, that makes the name’s exact popularity tricky to pin down. In the year 1900, Margaret ranked a sky-high #4. Thanks to songs like Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue,” we can infer that lots of girls wore some form of the name. Today, though, Margaret rarely reduces to Peggy … even though it would make for an unexpected and sparky alternative. With Penelope, Poppy, and Paisley so much in favor, perhaps Peggy’s moment is coming.


Current US popularity rank: #214
1900 US popularity rank: #395

If you tend to think of Phoebe as a 90s name, well, Friends and Charmed did a lot to cement that impression. But Phoebe enjoyed plenty of use in an earlier age, too. Fun fact: way back in 1902, a fictional character named Phoebe Snow advertised railroad travel. Her name – and her spotless white dress – emphasized that train travel was no longer a dirty, sooty way to get from place to place. All these years later, Phoebe still feels timeless and bright.


Current US popularity rank: #176
1900 US popularity rank: #300

Rosalie takes the classic Rose and adds a certain flourish. It feels vintage and sparky, but still plenty traditional. Strictly speaking, it’s a form of Rosalia, a name borrowed from a medieval saint. But it feels like a completely different name. A musical-turned-movie made it a favorite in the late 1930s. With lots of other names from that decade feeling fresh once more, it’s no surprise that Rosalie continues to climb in use.


Current US popularity rank: #120
1900 US popularity rank: #18

In recent decades, Rose became a reliable middle name, but less often a first – the bridesmaid rather than the bride. That’s changed in recent years, and the spare, elegant Rose has taken the spotlight. It’s a nature name that feels accessible on a child, sophisticated for an adult. With just four letters and a single syllable, Rose is more versatile than many more elaborate names. Fun fact: James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster Titanic got the name of leading lady Rose exactly right. She would’ve been born around the year 1895 – peak Rose.


Current US popularity rank: #367
1900 US popularity rank: #539

It’s a mashup of two equally classic girl names. Or maybe it’s an herb. Whether you’re into Elizabeth or Sage, there’s a chance Rosemary might appeal to you. A midcentury favorite, the most famous bearer might’ve been singer Rosemary Clooney. (Now known as aunt of George Clooney.) Then came horror bestseller turned Oscar-nominated movie Rosemary’s Baby in 1968. The name slowly slid out of use. But everything old is new again, and the includes fair Rosemary.


Current US popularity rank: #179
1900 US popularity rank: #5

Serious and accomplished, Ruth is a name with broad shoulders. The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg may inspire some parents. But even before her passing, Ruth was a name on the upswing. Brief and complete, Ruth felt timeless and yet vintage, too. Ruthie makes for an adorable nickname.


Current US popularity rank: #432
1900 US popularity rank: #137

From the Latin sylvan – forest or woods – Sylvia is a name with a long, steady history of use. French from Sylvie is rising in favor in the US today, but Sylvia feels every bit as sweetly antique.


Current US popularity rank: #694
1900 US popularity rank: #759

The flip of Dorothy, Theodora also comes from the Greek elements meaning “gift of God.” But if Dorothy feels sparky and vintage, Theodora is more of an ancient name, far rarer than sunny Dorothy. But it’s every bit as much at home today, thanks to a raft of appealing nicknames and our overwhelming of love for Theodore for boys.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #223

Vintage nickname names for girls include the obvious favorites – Elsie and Millie and Hattie – but also some more obscure choices. Tillie is probably most often short for Matilda, a traditional name that’s never quite topped the charts. But Tillie could be a casual, cozy choice for a daughter today – as vintage as Millie, as unexpected as Trudy.


Current US popularity rank: #224
1900 US popularity rank: #76

Violet and Victoria, Evelyn and Ava prove that we love a good V name, whether it’s at the beginning or the middle. Vera also offers two great meanings – faith and truth. And it’s short and complete, a name that fits with Emma. Vera last peaked around the turn of the twentieth century, meaning it’s ready for a comeback at the beginning of the twenty-first. The name has gained in use dramatically since re-entering the US Top 1000 in 2009. It’s the very picture of a trending traditional choice today.


Current US popularity rank: #540
1900 US popularity rank: #74

It’s a place name inspired by a Queen – just like Georgia and Charlotte. But while Virginia was a chart-topper back in the day, it’s a little less common than many vintage gems today. One reason? It comes from the Latin virgo, meaning maiden, which parents might worry is tease-worthy. (It’s tough to overlook the “virgin” in Virginia at a certain age.) Equally noteworthy: obvious nickname Ginny is out of favor today. And yet, Virginia brings to mind Queen Elizabeth I, a noteworhty inspiration.


Current US popularity rank: #103
1900 US popularity rank: #152

We sometimes think of Vivian as traditional, and that’s not wrong. But this tailored name is surprisingly timeless. It has never left the US Top 1000, and Vivian frequently ranks in or near the US Top 100.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: #345

Could it happen? Marvel’s Scarlet Witch has even had her own spin-off television series on Disney+, and Wanda still feels like a long-shot among vintage girl names. Or maybe it’s just a question of time. Wanda was quite popular in the 1920s, putting it with the vintage girl names. Except it remained a Top 100 choice well into the 1950s, meaning it might be waiting with Marilyn for a few more years before parents find it fresh and new once more.


Current US popularity rank: unranked
1900 US popularity rank: unranked

As we’ve re-told the story of Peter Pan, Wendy’s character has grown more and more interesting. She’s even part of the movie title in live action remake Peter Pan and Wendy, on Disney+. That might make this literary classic part of the next wave of vintage names for girls, all set for a new generation of parents to embrace. Call it the next Audrey. Worth noting: the first Peter Pan novel didn’t debut until the year 1904, so while Wendy feels like a turn-of-the-century choice, it wouldn’t have been widely familiar in 1900.


Not convinced that vintage girl names are the right style for you? A number of these make exceptional middle name choices, too. Consider Florence instead of Elizabeth, Louise instead of Marie, June instead of Rose.


Worried some of these traditional choices feel too heavy for a daughter born today? Pair a sweet nickname with an antique first for a winning combination. Trudy for Gertrude and Millie for Millicent lighten up a heavier, more traditional choice.

It’s worth noting that multiple nickname options are a strength of storied, classic names. Florence offers Flossie and Flo and Florrie, just to name the obvious ones.


Just like heirloom jewelry or a great piece of furniture from an antique store, vintage girl names remain stylish, even as trends change. And yet, the names are also subject to trends, with names like Eliza and Josephine feeling especially popular right now, while other remain undiscovered. If you’re a fan of old-fashioned names for girls, there are names at every popularity level to appeal to you, from the Top 100 to the truly obscure.

Are there any vintage girl names you’re hearing more often?

First published on August 5, 2019, this post was revised substantially and re-published on April 1, 2021. Additional updates took place on November 8, 2021; April 3, 2022; and September 19, 2023.

vintage girl names vintage girl names

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I have an Eva, Elaine and Charles. It’s fun to see how people react to Elaine. There’s almost always a connection. That’s what these kinds of names are to us…like family anchors.

  2. With Emma and Evelyn in the top ten Emmeline makes perfect sense, same with Ava to Ada. I really want to see Ida follow Ava and Ada, and Olympia follow Olivia and Olive.

  3. My baby girl is 6 months old and Rosalie was on my short list! I actually regret not using it! She has a lovely name though – Evonne Marie. I’m not quite sure that Evonne fits her, but after seeing Marie on your list, I think I have a new nickname option! 🙂

  4. If I had to guess I would say that Marie got a boost from Marie Kondo and Greta from Greta Thunberg and the band Greta Van Fleet. Just hearing a name mentioned often in the media can put it onto people’s radar, even if they are not consciously a fan or admirer of the person (or band) with the name.

  5. I have almost 1 year old twin girls named Vera and Helena. We use the hel-lay-na pronunciation. Most people get it on the first try! It hasn’t been as big of a issue as I expected.

  6. I work at an elementary school and I knew two girls with the names Paula and Marie though by now they’re in middle school.

  7. One of my eldest daughter’s middle names is Claire, in honor of a family member.
    I wasn’t drawn to any of these trending traditional names tho; none would be on my shortlist 🙂

  8. What a great collection of names! I love the idea of the sweet-spot between fresh/modern yet storied/traditional. My favorites from this list are Clare, Helena, Joanna, Marie, Rosalie, and Vera. So many great sounds and lovely meanings! Some of the more elaborate choices may not be as much my personal style, but they’re gorgeous.