Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Decades List - 1900s

Let's continue the series...

These names made the list for the 1900s decade because the average percentage of use for these names in that ten year period was the highest out of all of the decades. Meaning, this is the decade in which these names were used the most since 1880.


Alton - Alton was in the Top 100 for only one year. It reached #78 in 1904, which also happens to be the year Alton Parker ran for President against Theodore Roosevelt. It fell out of the Top 1000 almost 100 years later.

Cecil - Cecil hit is height at #65 in 1902. It stayed fairly popular for several decades before gradually falling away and out of the Top 1000 after 1997. However, the feminine form of Cecilia is currently on the rise.

Clyde -  While Clyde's highest rank was at #50 in 1883, its highest percentage of use was in 1905 when it was ranked #52. Interestingly, it returned to the Top 1000 in 2013 at #999 after 14 years of absence.

Eddie - Eddie was extremely sporadic in terms of popularity during the turn of the century. It was consistently in the Top 100 from 1930 through 1958, but it was at its peak in 1910 at #59. Even though it may be seen more as a nickname for such names as Edward, Edwin, Edgar, and Edmond, it is still ranked in the 600s in the United States as a given name.

Everett - Currently a name increasing in popularity, Everett reached as high as #81 in 1906. It seemed to be on a downward path until the 1990s when it turned around and has been consistently rising since.

Floyd - Did you know Floyd is actually a variant of Lloyd (which reached its height in the 1910s)? Floyd seems to have been a decade or so ahead of its base name, as it peaked in 1905 at #44, 14 years before Lloyd did and seven ranks higher than Lloyd reached, but did not last as long in the Top 1000.

Herman - Herman was used more in the 1900s than any other decade since 1880. However, it ranked highest in 1886 and 1893 at #44 and had the highest percentage of use in 1893. I think we can safely say that even though it is currently ranked high in Norway, in the United States, Herman had its heyday over the turn of the century and has since fallen away.

Jessie - While we may see Jessie more as a nickname for Jessica, it is also a popular variant of the name Jesse for boys. Reaching #69 in 1900 (and its highest percentage of use in 1910), Jessie was not too far from the original Jesse's 1900 rank of #50. Even though its usage is decreasing now, in 2013, Jessie was given to 320 boys (versus 477 girls) and ranked at #720.

Joe - Joe was a steady presence in the Top 100 from 1880 through 1970. Its highest rank was #20 in 1880, but its highest percentage of use was in 1910. It is a fairly steady nickname name that still holds a place in the Top 1000.

Johnnie - With John being #1 from 1880 through 1923, it is no surprise that its nicknames also peaked in the Top 100. Johnnie reached as high as #74 in 1910, many ranks lower and many years prior to counterpart Johnny. It has also disappeared from the Top 1000, while Johnny is still in the 200s.

Leo - Leo reached its pinnacle in 1903 at the rank of #38. It was an early peaker compared to its associates Leon and Leonard, and is currently on its way back into the Top 100.

Leslie - Leslie is now considered a girl's name, but it was once dominated by boys. The takeover happened during the 1940s when the boy Leslie started a gradual decline in popularity. In 1902, however, Leslie reached its highest percentage of use (it reached its highest rank in 1895 at #81), when girl Leslie was in the lower half of the Top 1000.

Otis - Otis only entered the Top 100 three times (1899, 1905, and 1909) and never really got extremely high in rank, only reaching #94 in 1899 (was #99 the other two years). It fell out of the Top 1000 after 1994, but has recently started an upswing that could possibly be aided by the fact that celebrity Olivia Wilde used it on her son in 2014.

Roosevelt - There is no wonder as to the root of Roosevelt's popularity. It was in the Top 100 from 1903-1905, the years Theodore Roosevelt ran for President and won his second term (after taking over for McKinley following his assassination). It peaked in 1905 at #91. Interestingly, there was another peak in the raw numbers in 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt became President, but the rank at that time only rose to #132.

Theodore - No doubt due to the previously mentioned President, Theodore peaked in percentage of use in 1904, when it also reached its highest rank at #30. It had a steady presence in the Top 100 (1880-1944, 1949-1952), and is currently on the rise again (#170 in 2013).

Willie - A very popular name for both boys and girls in the 1900s, Willie was probably used to honor a special William, Willard or Wilbur in the family's life. Boy Willie reached as high as #11 in 1910, when it was given to almost 14 out of every 1,000 boys born, and it is still in the Top 1000 today.


Beulah - While the name does not attract very many people nowadays, Beulah was once ranked as high as #72 in 1903 and 1904, and held a place in the Top 100 for 30 years. It was once used in the Bible as a reference to Israel.

Esther - A Biblical name that has a different fate is Esther. Peaking at #27 in 1896, Esther had its highest usage in the 1900s and after falling only into the 300s in rank over time, it is currently on the rise.

Gladys - Gladys made it all the way to #11 in 1901. In that year, about one girl out of a hundred were given the name. From there, Gladys has slowly moved towards disappearance from use.

Hilda - Hilda was never any higher than it was in 1899 at #87, but it remained a part of the Top 100 for several years around the turn of the century. It is currently used even less than Gladys in the United States, but is one of the top 100 names in Sweden.

Leona - Like the aforementioned Leo, Leona reached its height in the 1900s and after a decrease in usage is currently on the rise. It peaked in 1905 at #69, fell out of the Top 1000 in 1982, re-entered in 2009, and then shot up to #734 in 2013.

Lillian - Lillian may be ranked pretty high right now (#26 in 2013), but it was as high as #10 from 1898 through 1901. During the 1900s, 1 out of every 100 girls was named Lillian. While that number may not be reached again, reaching the Top 10 again is highly possible.

Lola - Lola was only in the Top 100 in 1904 at #99. So, while it did not hold as much muster as most other names on this list, it still held up well on its own as it is usually a diminutive for Dolores. Lola re-entered the Top 1000 in 2002 after a 20-year absence and is continuing to slowly rise.

Marie - Marie is the French form of Maria and variation of Mary. It is no big surprise then that it peaked pretty high at #7 in 1901, 1903 and 1904. In 1899, almost 13 out of every 1,000 girls were named Marie. Ever since then, however, the name is on an extremely slow downslide.

Rose - Like Marie, Rose may be more commonly heard as a middle name nowadays, but back in 1911 and 1913, it was ranked as high as #14 as a first name. Rose reached it's highest percentage of use in 1908 and while it went down from there, it may be currently making a turn for the better.

Vera - Vera made it as high as #65 in 1915 and 1919, although it had its most percentage of use in the 1900s. It dropped out of the Top 1000 in 1984, but has since made a huge comeback, re-entering in 2009 and increasing to #422 in five short years.

Viola - Believe it or not, Viola was more popular at its highest than Violet ever has been. In 1908, Viola ranked at #42, while Violet has just reached its highest ranking at #69 in 2013. It is very different from Violet now, however, as its come back has not been as dramatic and quick. But with increasing numbers in recent years, Viola is definitely another "old" name that is making a move.

Willie - It is fascinating that Willie reached its height as a boy's name and as a girl's name in the same decade. Although, for girls, it did not achieve the same pinnacle. Girl Willie peaked at #54 in 1909 and fell out of the Top 1000 after 1972. In fact, it has almost fallen out of favor completely, as it was only given to five girls in 2013 and was not recorded at all in the previous three years.

Which of these names that peaked in the decade of the 1900s is your favorite? Would you like to see more of any of them? My faves would have to be Otis and Viola!



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