Best Vintage Baby Names for Girls

Expecting a thoroughly modern Millie? Check out these old-fashioned baby names for girls that are ready to make a comeback.

Baby girl vintage photo Dubova/ Shutterstock

Searching for the perfect baby name for your daughter? You may want to look back through your family tree for inspiration, because just as fashion gets recycled, so do baby names — and some of the most stylish names for girls were last in vogue nearly a century ago. Check out these worthy options for your daughter, pulled from the Social Security Administration’s top name lists from the early 20th century.

Adelaide: Looking for a variation of the newly popular Adele and Adeline? Consider Adelaide, which means “noble,” and was the name of a 19th-century British queen and a city in Australia.

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Agnes: This once-popular saint’s name, which means pure, fell out of the top 1000 back in the 1970s — but could it be ready for a comeback? Considering that a few celebs have picked it for their daughters, and it appeared in the movie Despicable Me, it might be time for Agnes to resurface.

  • Read more about Agnes
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Beatrice: This classic Latin name, beloved by authors like Shakespeare and Dante, has a lovely meaning — she who brings happiness — and a new lease on life, heading slowly back up from the top 1000 after nearly dropping off the list in the year 2000.

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Clementine: While you may associate the name with the tiny mandarin oranges, it’s actually a virtue name that means merciful. This one fell out of the top 1000 back in 1950, but with a few celebs picking it for their daughters (Ethan Hawke, Claudia Schiffer, and Rachel Griffiths), Clementine could be coming back into prominence.

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Constance: Hope and Faith may be the most popular virtue names, but give this elegant and old-fashioned alternative a try.

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Cora: Cora was another name for the Greek goddess Persephone, who was credited for the return of spring each year. It means “maiden,” and it’s currently trending toward the top 100 baby names.

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Dorothy: The Oz adventurer gave this gem of a name some long-lasting luster. Though it fell out of the top 1000 for a short time, it’s back on the radar as a lovely name with a lovely meaning: gift from God. Actress Scarlett Johansson chose it as a middle name for her daughter.

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Edith: Thanks to Downton Abbey and stylish star Cate Blanchett’s choice of this for her youngest daughter, this old-fashioned name is suddenly back on the radar.

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Eleanor: FDR’s bold First Lady and the legendary 12th century British monarch Eleanor of Aquitaine give this vintage French name a distinct girl-power vibe.

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Eliza: Eliza started out as an Elizabeth nickname, but it makes a lovely name in its own right. It shares Elizabeth’s meaning, “consecrated to God.”

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Harriet: This English feminization of Henry shares its meaning (“estate ruler”), though not its popularity — at least yet. It has some cool historic namesakes, including a pair of abolitionists: author Harriet Beecher Stowe and Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman.

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Hazel: This nature name scored major buzz due to The Fault in Our Stars’ heroine — and to the fact that Emily Blunt and John Krasinski chose it for their daughter.

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Helen: Helen was the mythic beauty whose face launched a thousand ships (and the Trojan War, if the stories are to be believed). The name means bright, shining light, which seems pretty apropos. After a long spell at the top of the charts in the early 20th century, it’s been in a slow and steady decline toward the middle of the charts.

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Ida: This short and sweet name, which means industrious, could be a successor to the ultrapopular Ava and Ada.

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Isadora: Legendary dancer Isadora Duncan was the most well-known bearer of this name, which means “lover of Isis,” and could be a nice alternative to the more popular Isabella.

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Lillian: Only slightly less popular than its cousin Lily, this vintage name shares its meaning and has a cool namesake to recommend it — early movie star Lillian Gish.

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Louisa: The feminine form of the timeless Louis hasn’t remained as popular as its male counterpart — it dropped out of the top 1000 in the 1960s. It has a strong meaning — warrior — and some intriguing nickname possibilities, like Lulu.

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Margaret: This timeless classic comes with a lovely meaning — pearl — and a lovely and long set of nicknames. Consider Maisie, Maggie, and Greta.

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Myrtle: Forget “Moaning Myrtle” from Harry Potter, and give this lovely blooming tree name a try.

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Pearl: This gem of a name is making a bit of a comeback recently, with Jack Osbourne and his wife giving it to their baby girl. Classic author Pearl Buck is perhaps the most famous bearer of the name.

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Penelope: This Greek classic — the name of Odysseus’ wife in the epic story The Odyssey, has found new fans thanks to some celebrity picks — Kourtney Kardashian, Tina Fey, and Anna Chlumsky.

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Rosalind: This name, which means beautiful rose, was one of the four names bestowed upon Uma Thurman’s daughter and also a Shakespeare heroine in As You Like It. It hasn’t been in the top 1000 for nearly 40 years, and seems poised for a comeback.

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Rosemary: The perennial herb gives us this freshly popular name, last in vogue in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Theodora: Theodora is a girlish take on the classic Theodore, and shares its meaning, gift from God. It’s been a favorite royal name, and a popular saint’s name.

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Winifred: This Welsh name means peacemaker, and was the moniker of South African anti-apartheid activist Winnie Mandela, along with a slew of characters from Mary Poppins to TV’s Angel. Plus, it comes with two adorable nicknames: Winnie and Fred.

  • Read more about Winifred

Baby Names: Avoid Baby Naming Regret

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