Vintage baby names that need to make a comeback

Picking out a baby name can be a daunting task for many expectant parents. There's a fine line between picking a unique name and picking one so unusual that it will make your child the subject of playground ridicule.

Choosing a vintage name can be a good compromise. On the one hand, these names are tried and true monikers that were once quite popular. On the other hand, the use of these baby names has declined in recent years, so your kid won't have the same name as half of their class. These gorgeous names may have fallen out of fashion, but they're too good not to make a comeback.


This beautiful name has quite a lot of history behind it. It is originally from the Latin family name of Aurelius which itself comes from the Latin word "aureus," meaning "golden."

The use of the name Aurelia goes back centuries. Aurelia was the name of Julius Caesar's mother who was born more than 2,000 years ago. It has also been the name of the Portuguese painter Aurélia de Sousa, civil rights activist Aurelia Browder, and poet Sylvia Plath's mother, Aurelia Plath. The name was fairly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, making it long overdue for a comeback.


Popularity of the name Cordelia spiked in the late 20th century. Timeless and elegant, Cordelia has strong literary roots: it is the name of the heroine of Shakespeare's tragic play, King Lear.

Experts are not sure where this name originated, though popular theories are that it derived from the Welsh name Creiddylad or from the Latin word "cors" meaning "heart." Well-known Cordelias include writer and psychologist Cordelia Fine and philanthropist Cordelia Scaife May.


While it was originally a last name, Lowell is also an excellent choice for a first name. People who have had this name include investigative reporter Lowell Bergman, actor Lowell Sherman, and blues guitarist Lowell Fulson.

The name was particularly popular in the early 20th century as a masculine name, although some people are choosing to use it for girls these days. Canadian singer-songwriter Elizabeth Lowell Boland uses her middle name, Lowell, as her artist name.


The feminine form of Augustus (which is also a great vintage baby name choice), Augusta comes from the Latin word "august" which means "great" or "venerable." The name was also used as a title for the female rulers of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and has long been a popular given name of royal babies.

Unlike the more popular calendar-related names of June and Summer, babies named Augusta are quite rare. Popularity of the name Augusta peaked in the late 19th century, and all but faded away by the end of WWII. Famous people named Augusta include composers Augusta Read Thomas and Augusta Holmés.


While this name is quite popular in France and Belgium, it has fallen out of use in the rest of the world which is a shame. Clement is a Latin name and means "mild or merciful." It was the name of choice for 14 popes, and was quite popular in Europe. Clement Clarke Moore is the writer of the popular Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas. Other people with this name include judge Clement Haynsworth and art critic Clement Greenberg.


The origins of the name Minerva are a bit fuzzy, but it gained popularity as the name of the ancient Roman goddess of war and wisdom. It began to be used as an English name after the Renaissance. The name has become recognizable in modern times as the first name of Professor McGonagall in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. There are also several places bearing the name of the Roman goddess, including Minerva, Ohio, and the Minerva Reefs.


This name was used for centuries by the British royal family as a title of nobility, the Duke of Clarence. Beginning in the 19th century, Clarence gained popularity as a given name, though it has been used far less frequently in modern times.

People with this name include Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and lawyer Clarence Darrow, known for his role in the 1925 Scopes "Monkey" trial.


This name has taken various forms throughout the years and has many different versions in several languages. Marjorie, itself, a form of the name Margery, originally comes from the name Margaret which means "pearl." Its spelling was influenced by the herb marjoram.

The name is beginning to gain a bit of traction in the United States, although it is still fairly uncommon. Famous people with this name include writer Marjorie Muir Worthington and actress Marjorie Yates.


The Germanic name Arnold means "eagle power" and was made popular in the English-speaking world after being brought to England by the Normans. It has gone in and out of fashion through the centuries, fading into obscurity after the Middle Ages before being revived in the 19th century and losing popularity again in the late 20th century.

People named Arnold are in good company as it is the given name of golfer Arnold Palmer and actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Quite popular in the Middle Ages, Mabel experienced a brief surge in popularity in the 19th century before people again forgot about this beautiful name. It comes from the masculine Latin name Amabilis which means "loving."

The name has been given to many people who are associated with the arts. Mabel Lucie Atwell was a children's book author and illustrator. Mabel Fairbanks was the first woman of African-American descent to be inducted into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Not a bad legacy!


You might remember the name Ernest from your high school English classes. It's the given name of the iconic author Ernest Hemingway, and was also famously used (with a slightly different spelling) by Oscar Wilde in his play The Importance of Being Earnest.

With such a strong literary history behind it, it is apt that the name comes from the Germanic term "eornost" which means "serious." Though very popular in the 19th century, the name is no longer widely used and is long overdue a revival!


This lovely name is appreciated through much of Europe, but has been long been ignored by English-speaking countries. The name Irene peaked in the United States in the 1920s when it consistently ranked in the top 20 baby names. Since then, it has not been widely used.

The name is derived from the Greek word "eirene" and means "peace." It has a noble lineage and was borne by many saints, as well as an 8th century empress who became the first woman to rule the Byzantine Empire.


The name Leonard is shockingly underused throughout most of the world, although it has managed to break into the top 100 baby names in Poland. The name has a long history, dating back to at least the 5th century when it was made popular by St. Leonard, who would go on to become the patron saint of horses.

Despite the equine association, the name Leonard actually means "brave lion." This noble moniker lends itself well to nicknames; if Leonard is a bit too long for your baby you can consider nicknaming him Leo or Lenny.


Louisa is the feminine form of the more well-known male name Louis. Popular in the late 19th century, it is perhaps best known as the name of author Louisa May Alcott who wrote Little Women.

The name is ultimately derived from the name Ludwig which comes from the German terms "hlud" meaning "famous," and "wig" meaning "war." Despite its fierce origins, the name Louisa sounds delightfully musical, making it a charming choice for your baby girl!

Vintage names could be the new trend

With so many other vintage trends making a comeback in 2017, why not add vintage names to the list? If you decide to pick a vintage name for your baby, you could be on the cutting edge of a new trend.

Celebrities are already joining the vintage name revival and turning to popular names of the past when choosing names for their babies. Maybe you'll be the next to help breathe new life into a name deserving of a comeback!