Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to baby name trends. So what old-fashioned moniker might become the next Jacob or Noah? We trolled through the popular baby name lists from the turn of the 20th century looking for the coolest vintage contenders, all ready for a comeback!
Abraham: This name has some major cache, thanks to the biblical father figure and the penny-adorning President. It’s been on a slow and steady rise since the 1970s, but is still just inside the top 200.
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Albert: Albert is a top 500 favorite, with a stellar meaning — noble — and a slew of fabulous namesakes, including Nobel winners Einstein and Schweitzer, and Queen Victoria’s beloved.
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Anton: If you have an Anthony in your family tree, consider paying homage to him with this German variation on it.
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Arthur: This classic Celtic name means bear, and has lots of name cache, including the legendary King Arthur (of Knights of the Round Table fame), writers Arthur Miller and Arthur Conan Doyle, and TV’s Arthur “the Fonz” Fonzarelli.
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Augustus: Expect this top 700 name, which means magnificent, to rise mightily in the next few years. (The Fault in Our Stars star-crossed lover Augustus has helped bring this name additional fame.) History nerds will love its tie to the famed Roman emperor.
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Barnaby: This British take on Barnabas means “consolation.” Its big claim to fame is TV detective Barnaby Jones.
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Benedict: Red-hot British actor Benedict Cumberbatch is helping to bring this old Latin word name back into vogue. The name means blessed (think benediction), and has also been linked to American traitor Benedict Arnold, and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing hero, who sports the variant Benedick. (We prefer it with the “t” at the end.)
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Byron: Byron has a lowly meaning (barn for cows), but is on the rise, coming in just under the top 500. Its big claim to fame is Romantic era poet Lord Byron.
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Caleb: One of the most popular vintage names for boys is this Biblical classic, which currently falls in the top 50 names. It means devotion to God.
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Dashiell: Actress/model Milla Jovovich recently gave this name a bit of extra allure, as she chose the variant spelling Dashiel for her daughter. But this old French surname name has been in vogue for boys as well, as Cate Blanchett and Alice Cooper each chose the name for their sons.
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Edwin: Pay homage to an Edward with this vintage variant that means wealthy friend. It’s currently in the top 300 baby names in the U.S., and it’s most commonly associated with Charles Dickens’ last book, The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
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Elias: Elias is the Greek variation on the Biblical Elijah, and is slightly less popular than its counterpart (Elijah’s near the top 10, while Elias is just outside the top 100.) It was popular in 18th century Puritan circles, and was the name of the inventor of the sewing machine.
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Felix: This Latin word name means happiness, and was the name of famed composer Mendelssohn and a slew of pop-culture characters, including Felix the Cat and The Odd Couple’s neat freak Felix Unger.
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Gideon: Dust off this Old Testament classic, which was popular with the Puritans. The name means “hewer,” and was picked by actor Neil Patrick Harris for his son.
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Gilbert: This vintage name just made a huge resurgence — after nearly falling out of the top 1000, it jumped up over 100 places last year. Gilbert means pledged, and was used for Anne of Green Gables’ true love.
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Holden: Holden’s had cool cred with hipster parents for generations, thanks to its use in J.D. Salinger’s classic The Catcher in the Rye. The name has English roots and means “hollow valley.” It’s currently in the top 300 names for boys.
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Howard: This German name has a lovely meaning — brave heart. Skip the old-school Howie nickname and go straight to Ward.
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Ives: Looking for a nature-themed name? Rare name Ives is an English variant of the French name Yves, and means yew wood.
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Jeremiah: This Old Testament prophet name has been in the top 100 since the start of the 21st century. Its biggest claim to fame is the classic rock favorite, “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.”
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Maxwell: Lately, this name has made headlines as Jessica Simpson’s offbeat pick for her daughter, but Maxwell is still solidly in the boy column. This stylish Scottish name, which means “great stream,” is nearing the top 100 for guys.
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Oscar: Don’t let its association with the green, garbage-loving Grouch scare you off of Oscar. This English-Irish name has a fierce meaning — warrior — and some other interesting associations, such as the Academy Awards’ nickname and classic writer Oscar Wilde. It’s currently in the top 200 for boys.
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Rufus: Your baby doesn’t have to be a ginger to sport this charming name, which means redhead. It dropped out of the top 1000 back in the 1980s, but perhaps its reappearance in pop culture, including Harry Potter, Gossip Girl, and Kill Bill might help it regain its past popularity.
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Sebastian: A popular saint’s name, Sebastian is currently in the top 50. It has Latin and Greek roots, but is even more popular in England than it is here.
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Spencer: This always stylish name was most famously attached to screen legend Spencer Tracy. It means “steward,” and has been in the top 500 baby names for boys since the 1880s.
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Wallace: Wallace is a Scottish name that means foreigner. After a long run in the top 1000, it fell out of favor in the 1990s. It’s most famously associated with poet Wallace Stevens, and actor Wallace Shawn.
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