Golden Era Women's Names

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by DecoDame, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    I’ve long appreciated women’s names that just seem to embody the Era. That when I hear them, I can see someone in the typing pool or on the factory floor or the old family farm, being called to lunch.

    “Elizabeth” or “Sarah” or “Katherine” were certainly around then, but they can also evoke ages before and are still popular now. These names below do pop up nowadays, but are usually chosen because they are “old fashioned”. My partner and I had fun coming up with these – it was amazing how many were rattling around our heads. Some are relative’s names. What do you think? Any to add?

    (Only loosely alphabetical – no librarians chasing me down, please. lol I’ve put together names that are variants in spellings or related by nickname/shortening etc)

    Ava
    Ada
    Audra
    Audrey
    Adele
    Agnes
    Abigail
    Amelia
    Annette
    Annabelle

    Bertha
    Bernadette
    Beulah
    Beatrice

    Charlotte/Lottie
    Clara
    Clare
    Clarice
    Celeste
    Charlene
    Carolyn
    Constance
    Candace
    Carmen

    Doris
    Denise
    Delores
    Dorothy/Dottie
    Darlene
    Dinah

    Edith
    Edna
    Edie
    Etta
    Erlene
    Ernestine
    Evelyn
    Elaine
    Eloise
    Enid
    Esther
    Elinore/Elinor/Eleanor/Nellie

    Frida/Freda
    Francine
    Florence
    Fay
    Flora

    Geraldine
    Gertrude
    Grace
    Geneva
    Gladys
    Gretchen

    Henrietta
    Harriet/Hattie
    Hilda
    Hortense

    Iris
    Ivy
    Ida
    Ilene
    Ina
    Imogen

    Joyce
    Joan
    Josephine

    Kaye/Kay
    Karla/Karlotta

    Lucille
    Laverne
    Lillian
    Louise
    Laurette
    Louella
    Leticia/Lettie
    Lenore
    Leonora
    Lois

    Marian
    Muriel
    Mavis
    Minerva
    Maxine
    Mildred
    Myra
    Maisie/Madge/Peggy/Meg/Marge/Mamie/Margaret
    Marjorie
    Maybelle
    Myrtle
    Maude
    Margot
    Milly/Millie

    Nora
    Naomi
    Nancy
    Norma

    Olive
    Opal
    Odette
    Odessa

    Phyllis
    Phoebe
    Penelope/Penny
    Petunia
    Prudence
    Priscilla
    Pearl

    Rhoda
    Rhea/Ria
    Rita
    Rosemary/Rose
    Rosalind
    Rowena

    Stella
    Sybil
    Sophia
    Shirley
    Sharlene

    Thelma
    Tess/Tessa/Teresa/Theresa

    Una
    Ursula

    Vera
    Vivian
    Veronica
    Verna
    Vanessa
    Violet

    Wilma
    Winifred/Winnie
    Wanda
    Winona

    Zelda
    Zoe
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I had aunts named Hazel, Ruth, Mildred, and Edith. My grandmother was Winona, and my great-grandmothers were Clara and Winifred. My grandmother's kitchen stove was a "Florence." (The living room stove was a Duo-Therm, but I don't think that makes the list.)

    I work with people named Nora, Eve, and Joanna.

    If I had a daughter, I'd have named her "Genora."

    I had a cat named Nancy. My current cat is named Carol. My friend Nora has a cat named Rosie.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    In the grip of insomnia last night, I was thinking about this thread, and went over the names of all the women adn girls in the neighborhood where I grew up. Here they are, broken down by age groups --

    Born 1890-1920:

    Ferne
    Geneva
    Gertrude
    Ethlyn
    Dorothy (known as Dot)
    Cleora
    Freda
    Ruth
    Hazel
    Marian
    Edith (2)
    Esper
    Winona

    Born 1920-1945

    Patricia (2)
    Charlotte
    Judith (2)
    Carol
    Shirley
    Edith
    Margaret
    Althea
    Regina
    Jean

    Born 1945-1970

    Elizabeth
    Cheryl
    Bethany
    Ellen
    Tammy
    Lisa
    Diane
    Kathleen
    Holly
    Debra
    Lynn

    Oddly enough, despite its status as the generic female name in the Era, I've only known one person in my entire life named "Mary." She was born around 1915 and ran a little restaurant in the middle of town. Never known any other Marys in any walk of life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  4. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Great thread. Interesting list; I see "Carolyn," but not the original from which the variant was taken: "Caroline." In my family, going back who knows how many generations to the "old country" (= Italy) the oldest daughter of every family had to be named Carolina. When the family immigrated to the US they changed the name to Carolyn, Caroline, Carol Ann and Carol Lynn. My Mother put her foot down and refused to follow tradition. Instead she named me after a movie star known for wearing spaghetti-strap nylon slips.
     
  5. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Sorry to hear of your insomnia, Lizzie. Been there. Is counting Era names as effective as counting sheep?

    The difference in names by decades was interesting: quite the leap from "Cleora" and "Esper" to "Tammy" and "Lisa".

    My grandmother's names were Geneva (you knew another one!) and Grace, my aunts were Gladys, Sharlene (nicknamed "Jean"), Phyllis and Freda.

    St. Louis, I just helped my partner organize old family photos of people I had mostly not ever met (also an Italian family), and oh, so many Lou, Rocco and Ann-s came up again and again on both sides of the family, on all generations. I don't know how I managed to keep them straight.
     
  6. lolly_loisides

    lolly_loisides One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,846
    Location:
    The Blue Mountains, Australia
    A Great Aunt of mine was born in 1904 & was named Reiby. Such an unusual name, I wonder if she was named after Mary Reiby
     
  7. MarieAnne

    MarieAnne Practically Family

    Messages:
    555
    Location:
    Ontario
    These names are really cool! My grandmothers' names are Maureen (her mother's name was Jenny) and Simone (french). Some other names in the family: Angéline, Auréa, Lydia, Berthe-Alice, Rose-Alma, Murielle, Emilda (late 1880s), and Freida (also late 1880s). I estimate these to be mostly from the 20s.
     
  8. fgradowski

    fgradowski One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Indiana, United States
    My grammy, born 1932, was named Nora Pearl. I love the idea of incorporating Pearl into one of my children's names one day. I also just love pearls a lot too. Haha. Her husband's name was William Arthur. My parent's named my little brother after him and his brother, William Edward. William seems to be a very common older name. I work at a breakfast restaurant where most of our customers are senior citizens. So many regular customers named Bill. I also wonder just how the heck they get Bill from William.
     
  9. TheSwingingBee

    TheSwingingBee One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Cottonwood Falls, KS
    My grandmother and her siblings were all born between 1915 and 1930, and the women all went by their middle names, we are from the south so the names may not be typical of the time, but they were, Christa Olene, Chlorene Mozel, Judith Susan, Effie Glenore, John Douglas and Ronald Matthew. On my fathers side it was Elizabeth "Betty" Lou and Martha Jane, my grandfathers were Richard Lee and Frederick Warren.
     
  10. TikiBow

    TikiBow New in Town

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    London
    such a great post, definitely future childrens names :D
     
  11. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    My daughter has Louise as her middle name, which we use in addition to her first name. I like the tradition of girls going by both their given names- such as Mary Ann, Mary Grace, etc.

    I never realized how rare Louise was until I named her that- I've met one Louise since she's been born, but numerous people who have great-aunts, grandmothers, etc. who were named Louise. I often get asked if Louise was a family name- it is not. Her first name was my great-grandmother's name.

    Interestingly enough, growing up I had a sheep I named Louise, and I felt a bit of guilt naming my daughter after a farm animal. But I liked the name so much that I actually hid from my husband for a few days that I had previously named an animal Louise after we started discussing girl names. Given Louise the sheep's personality (she was fierce; probably the fiercest bravest sheep we ever owned when I was a kid), when I told my husband about it being a sheep name he said he figured it would fit any daughter of ours. He loved the name and wouldn't hear of any other, even if our daughter was the second living being I had named Louise and the first "baa-ed."

    I plan on telling this embarrassing story at her wedding. ;)
     
  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    My family is bristling with Louises -- it's my mother's middle name, and my cousin's middle name, and my aunt's middle name. And I've known several others outside the family. None of them have been sheep, but some of them, my mother especially, have been extremely fierce.
     
  13. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Well named, I'd say. :nod: And not just for the wedding story material!
     
  14. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I think she is very good mannered- loves people, activities, other children- and really does listen to adults. She also really wants to please and be a big helper.

    That said, she is also extremely determined and does not give up until you explain to her why she should/ shouldn't. (Explaining things actually seems to work at least a little bit.) The only reason why we don't have a little dictator is because I am just as strong willed, I've got three decades on her of practice, and well, NO because we're just NOT.

    And when she gets really stubborn, I see so much of my own personality in her that it actually makes me happy. Definitely a Louise from start to finish.
     
  15. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Lovely.

    What's her full name, if you don't mind sharing?
     
  16. Babydoll

    Babydoll Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,463
    Location:
    The Emerald City
    Lily is Lillian Su, named after hubby's Grandma Lillian, and Grandma's mother, Lillian. Su is my mom's middle name.

    Hubby's family has a lot of unusual names. Loyd, Lottie Mae, Uel, Levi, Livonia, Clarence, and hubby's grandpa was Lum (given Christopher Columbus). If we'd had a boy, we would have called him Lum after Grandpa.

    My grandma (mom's mom) was Erna Margarethe, first generation Norwegian-American, and her sister was Martha Evelyn. The boys were Sigurd, Norman, Trygve, Walter, Bernt, and Nicolai.

    Other grandma (dad's dad) was Ruth Irene (pronounced eye-ree-nee), and her sisters were Doris and Eileen.
     
  17. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Anna Louise.

    I didn't realize I hadn't put that in the previous post. :)

    I had assumed that "Louise" was common so that she wouldn't have problems finding both her names on things, i.e. key chains, etc. and we would just buy her the Anna and the Louise versions. But it turns out we can never find Louise on anything. Which always made me a little sad as a kid that I couldn't find anything with my name on it.

    So I bought a woodburner and plan to make her all sorts of wood stuff with her name on it. ;) And whenever we see anything "custom" at the state fair we snatch it up on the double.
     
  18. DecoDame

    DecoDame One of the Regulars

    Sheeplady - maybe you should look at ebay and such for those custom items. Since "Lousie" was common back in the day, finding older items with her name might be more successful! (Tho your woodburner idea is pretty damned sweet)
     
  19. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    That's a good idea! I hadn't thought of that!

    I also have a poor woman's quilting/ embroidery machine (it has a lot of stitches and letters, but isn't programmable and you can't change the size of the letters- so it is a low end version of both and a pittance of the price) and I put her name all over her stuff with that too. The letters are maybe half-an-inch high at most, but they do come out nice. Speaking of which, I need to buy her a t-shirt in her next size and embroider it.

    As you can tell, I was somewhat scarred from not being able to find my name on anything as a child. Although, my name, which is Germanic, I found *all over* the tourist shops in Germany. So, of course, I bought everything I could find with my name on it. Totally not kidding. I was SO EXCITED.
     
  20. fgradowski

    fgradowski One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Indiana, United States
    My mom told me many years ago to never name an animal something I like as a child's name. She said she made that mistake with her goat and her cat.
    So far I have pets named Jameson and Edison. Names I wouldn't want for my children, but are cute enough for my little piggies.
    My first born son will be Ashley William Edward Martin and first born daughter will be Tyler Marie Pearl Martin.
     

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