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20 Cool Retro Baby Names from 1916

I’m a little obsessed with looking through the Social Security baby names list and seeing what names are becoming popular or starting to be used less.

Recently, I pulled up the list of the top names from 100 years ago (1916!) and it was so fun to see what names have drifted into obscurity — Hedwig, anyone? – and which names have made a comeback in recent years.

I couldn’t help but make a list of some of my favorites for both boys and girls.

If you’re looking for something with staying power, try one of these on for size!

BOYS

1. Stanford – 100 years ago, this name sat at 684 on the Social Security roster, but after 1973, it dropped off entirely, so if you’re looking for something that isn’t too popular, this is a great choice. I love it!

2. Harvey – This was in the top 100 back in 1916, but dropped off fast in the mid-’90s. Now it’s back with a vengeance, reappearing on the top 1000 in 2000 and currently sitting in the 400s!

3. Gilbert – I’m an Anne of Green Gables girl at heart, so I’ll always have a soft spot for this name.

4. Emmett – This name has serious longevity. It was in the top 200 names a century ago and now is in the top 150!

5. Forest – This name is popular but not TOO popular, currently sitting at 749.

6. Harlan – This name has German roots and means “rocky land.”

7. Booker – As a former librarian and lifelong avid reader, how could I not love this name?

8. Sterling – Sitting almost continually in the top 500 for the last century, this name is just a classic without being too overused.

9. Royal – If you’re looking for something strong and catchy, this is a great choice.

10. Pierce – This English name always makes me think of James Bond. Not the worst association you could have.

GIRLS

1. Coral – With so many old-fashioned baby names making a huge comeback, I was surprised to see that Coral hasn’t even made it back into the top 1000 since the early ’90s! If you like something vintage but not trendy, this is a great choice.

2. Audry – If you spell it “Audrey,” this name is a perennial favorite, usually in the top 100. But without the “e” it’s much less common.

3. Callie – I was really surprised to see that this name is currently at 196 – I’ve never met someone named this! (Mallie is also a fun choice that’s barely staying on the top 1000).

4. Dale – While this is generally consider a male name now, this name also showed up for girls fairly frequently until it disappeared from the list in 1971.

5. Nola – Nora is going nuts right now, currently sitting at 41, but Nola is at 767, so your child is much less likely to be the third one in her kindergarten class.

6. Allene – This pretty Slavonic name means “bright” and “beautiful.” Hard to go wrong there!

7. Nita – A Native American name that means “bear,” this one is simple, easy to spell, and just plain pretty.

8. Libby – I’m not usually a nickname person, but in this case, I love the shortened version of Elizabeth.

9. Tressie – This name hasn’t been on the top 1000 since 1939, but it’s so pretty, I’m surprised it’s not more popular!

10. Aurora – There’s always room in the top 1000 for a Disney Princess name, and this one is more popular than ever right now, at spot 79!

Image: Thinkstock

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