20 Great Roaring 20s Baby Names Making a Comeback

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The roaring 20s were a spectacular time for so many of us, and that includes those of us who never lived them. We get to read about the 20s in books and we get to see there are so many different portrayals of this apparently fabulous decade in the movies. Some of us have the pure luck to have grandparents and great grandparents who lived and experienced this decade in the prime of their youth, remembering days long past with soft smiles and fine stories. It sounds like, at least from the stories relayed to me, like the 20s were a glamorous and beautiful decade; one that we should learn some lessons from in elegance, style and grace. But since we can’t get the 20s back, we can at least take something from this decade to use in our own lives, such as some of the popular names. This is a list of 20 glorious baby names from the 1920s that are making a huge comeback right now. Check this list to see if your future child might be on it.

Beatrice

Beatrice is just a pretty name used by so many women back in the 20s. If you have a grandmother by this name, it’s because she was born in a time in which beautiful names and elegance were portrayed far more than anything else, and she was very lucky.

Rose

They didn’t give the main character in Titanic this name for no apparent reason. The name is lovely (as is a rose) and was one of the most popular back then. Shakespeare mentions it in his works (a rose by any other name is still a rose) and it’s been a name that we associate with elegance, style and grace.

Pearl

Who doesn’t want to be named after jewelry? Most women would love the name Pearl if they could have it. It’s soft and sweet, it’s lovely and it’s very ladylike. After all, you can never go wrong with Pearls; they’re perfect for every occasion and the same is true of the name.

Duke

It’s strong and it’s masculine. Many celebrities have begun to use this name for their own children, which makes it even more appealing to the locals. The masses love the concept of a name so lovely, and they are happy to provide their little boy with something so strong and dapper.

Theodore

Teddy for short, it’s a name that’s virtually presidential. Okay, it is presidential. You can’t say you don’t see great things in the future of a little boy who goes by this particular moniker.

Grant

When we hear this name, we think of Fitz and Olivia Pope, and we fall more and more in love with it every second. If Scandal didn’t make it popular, it would have come back on its own.

Ellis

This is a good name because it can be used for either a boy or a girl. The name was famously used on the hit television show Grey’s Anatomy as the main characters mother, Dr. Ellis Grey. It’s a very strong, very capable name.

Leo

We love this one. It’s short, sweet and to the point. It’s simple but masculine. It’s effective and it make us think of someone in finance who is going to make a plan and tear up the world with success.

Joseph

Joe, Joey or Joseph; it’s all relative. This is a name that is very popular in many Italian households. It’s a strong name, and it’s one that’s often passed from generations long ago.

Lola

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets. This is a name that people just adore. It’s also the name of Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos’ only daughter, and it’s one that people adore. It’s more popular than ever this year for good reason.

Violet

The color last in the rainbow, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner made this name popular almost a decade ago when they gave it to their first born daughter. It’s become increasingly popular ever since.

Clara

Lovely and sweet, you cannot deny the fact that this name is one that you just want to say over and over again. It has a slight elegance to it married well with innocence and strength.

Evelyn

What makes this name so popular these days is the number of nicknames that can be derived from Evelyn. It’s classic in such a lovely way, but it’s also so beautiful in that it can make an Eve, an Evie or even a Lyn.

Hazel

Known most commonly as an eye color, this is one of the most popular names to make a comeback from the roaring 20s. It was one of the most popular back then, and chances are good that you probably know a Hazel or two of your own.

Lillian

Soft and sweet, like a Lilly, this is a name perfectly befitting of a little girl. It’s so innocent and lovely that it’s amazing more families haven’t chosen this as a first name for their little ones. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t go ahead and do it now.

Catherine

Partial to this name, I am. My grandmother is Katherine and one of my daughter’s middle names in Cathryn. It’s a family name in my household. It’s strong and beautiful, and it also happens to the same name as the Duchess of Cambridge, which makes it even more popular.

George

Now that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have used this name for their toddler son, it only makes sense that they would go forth and create a trend. More people than ever before are using this name despite the fact that it’s been decades since it was popular.

Everett

It’s a very strong and very masculine name, and we love the sound. There aren’t too many Everetts right now, but there will be in a few years. Chances are good that many pregnant women right now are planning on using this name for their unborn sons.

Thomas

Classic and strong, Thomas is a name that hasn’t been overly popular in a few decades, but it’s been around. Another one of those names that gets passed down from generations before, it’s a good name with good nicknames. Very strong and able, it is.

Maxwell

My grandfather was Max, and I love this name. In fact, Max was one of the leading contenders when we named our son a year ago, but it lost out to the much more presidential sounding Carter.

Photo Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

57 thoughts on “20 Great Roaring 20s Baby Names Making a Comeback”

  1. omg, do I have to do this? “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would SMELL AS SWEET”!! Basic Romeo and Juliet, y’all…

    • Neither did Joseph! If anything, Joseph is on a (thus far slight) decline since it was generally in the top 10 or 15 most commonly used boy names in the US from 1900-2010. Only in 2011 did it drop to 22nd most popular, and was 20th in 2013.

      Honestly, this “article” is a joke. I don’t think Tiffany Raiford knows how to do any actual research, and just based this list on her own very limited experience and personal anecdotes.

      To say George is “making a comeback” is really laughable. In the US, it started the 20th century as the 4th most popular name and fell gradually through the next 11 decades to be the 166th most popular name for a boy in 2012, with a slight uptick to 157th in 2013. Now is it possible that the name will jump in position once the 2014 data is released since Prince George was born in 2013? Sure. But at this point, that is speculative, and most definitely not a defined “comeback.”

      Grant also has been generally popular, particularly since the early 1980’s, and really has no business being on this list, either.

      And “Duke”? HA! Okay, one could definitely argue that Duke is “making a comeback” since in 2013 it was included in the top 1,000 boy names in the US for the first time in 4 decades! But… since Duke was NOT in the top 1,000 from 1912-1936, it certainly does not qualify as a “Roaring 20’s” name! It does NOT belong on this list.

      Maxwell is another one that doesn’t really belong here. It was somewhat popular in the US in the 1920’s, though not overwhelmingly so. It began rising in popularity in the 1980’s & 90’s & has been pretty steadily popular since. Not exactly a recent comeback, as the article would imply.

      An argument could be made that the data supports Clara, Lillian, Evelyn, Hazel, Beatrice, Pearl, Violet, Everett, Leo, and Ellis (as a masculine name only) actually belong on the list. Too bad that’s just a coincidence, and not evidence of any actual research, analytical, or investigative skill displayed on the part of Ms. Raiford.

  2. Rose and Clara = absolutely nothing to do with Doctor Who. 😉
    (and mayhap Catherine, too!)

    I had friends that were going with “Everette” for their son, but when I told them the last e makes it more feminine, they promptly changed it to “Everitt”, or “Eve” (Evvy?) for short. All I suggested was dropping the e! his little sister is “Briella”, of which I only met one other person named “Brielle”.

    • Honestly, the name Clara isn’t bad…but I’d rather name a daughter Oswin…it’s less common and I like the way it sounds better. Rose is my middle name, and a long time family name (and I hate family names).

      I don’t get why people are so stingy about anything having to do with a boy being considered “feminine”…gender is so silly.

      • Gender is something we all have. It is something we all experience to some degree. It is Natures way of seeing that humans exchange and mix DNA when we procreate, It helps us select mates when we want to have children. The only thing silly about it is how some people deny gender differences or use those differences to discriminate, pay less or more, hire or not hire or to take advantage the gender different in body strength, Then that is either wrong, cruel, sadistic or if nothing else silly,

  3. Haha yep, these are definitely making comebacks. I’m a toddler teacher and I have a Violet and a Clara in my class, and they have sisters named Evelyn and Rose. I also have a Theodore.

      • Actually, according to the Social Security Administration, Joseph has been in the top 20 boys’ names in the US every single year since at least 1880 (and probably even before that, it just doesn’t go back any farther). Definitely wouldn’t call that one a comeback OR a 1920’s name (at least not here).

      • What do you think the difference is between “baby names” and “names”. Most people get their names when they’re babies. When I questioned the notion that the names had been abandoned, I meant the notion that people had stopped giving them to babies.

    • Some of those names have been popular for years. I was born in the 80s as a Katherine and graduated high school and college with a lot of other Katherines. Popular names are popular names, and most of them have been on the top 100 for years.

  4. When I was in school we had four pairs of first names in my class – Kat(h)rin, Julia, Yvonne (and the last one I can’t remember). Names come and go and the 1981/2 group seems to have had a thing for those names as I remember a number of other people with them as well.
    Come to it I’d probably call my kids Johann and Irene, because they’re my granparents’ names (and also my father’s) and because I like the meaning. Maybe I’d even call the boy Johann David, because I like the combo – but of course the child’s father would have a say in it as well. I also like Luise/a and Marie.

  5. Three out of my four late grandparents’ names are on this list. I guess everything goes in cycles and 100 years from now people will be naming their daughters Kaitlyn, Catelyn, Caitlin, or on the million other spelling variations when that name comes back in style.

  6. Others that are making a comeback Gertrude [my grandmother], Estelle [mother-in-law, of the same era] and Charline(spelling correct) [my other grandmother, and who I named my daughter for]

  7. Some of my children and grandchildren are named after relatives from that era. I wonder if the comeback has to do with naming kids after grandparents.

  8. Carter? It sounds presidential cause it’s a President’s surname. People, stop giving your kids surnames as first names thinking you’re really original and clever.

    • a number of decades ago ( I cannot reveal the exact year for privacy reasons!!) I named my daughter Jennifer Ashley because those were quite unusual at the time. I wanted her to have a unique names but not ones that brought undue attention. I must have some huge influence in naming department because each became the #1 girl’s name not that long ago

  9. One of my cousin’s daughters just named her daughter Lillian. A favorite of mine because of Lillian Wald, 1867-1940, the founder of American community nursing (aka home care).
    I would like to see George avoided for at least a few more election cycles. ;/

    • Theodora was an Empress of the Roman Empire, IV century, that was decisive for the adoption of Catholicism as a official religion. She was a very strong woman. Claire means light, brightness.
      Olga Beatriz means “blessed child that brings light”, and Sofia Petra means “solid wisdom”. Beatriz was my great-aunt and Olga was my husband’s great-aunt. Petra is the female version of Peter, that means, literally, rock. Sofia is Greek, means wisdom and knowledge.

    • Believe it or not, Mabel would have been a good addition to this list, or at least an honorable mention/one to watch. It was VERY popular at the start of the 20th century in the US, then it gradually fell out of fashion until it was no longer included in the top 1,000 names as of 1965. However, it DID make the top 1,000 in 2013, in the 707th position! Essentially, it jumped about 300 spaces in a single year after being “out of fashion” for nearly 50! That’s a pretty good comeback! I will be curious to see if/where it falls on the list once the 2014 data is released.

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