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Baby names from the roaring twenties

1920's Baby Names

Recent years have seen ‘old lady’ and ‘old man‘ names such as Edith and Henry roaring back into fashion.

Could it be that popular period drama’s such as Downton Abbey are influencing our decision making? Or are we choosing to lovingly recycle the names of our grandparents and ancestors?

We’ve picked our top 5 girl names and boy names that were popular in the 1920’s and are now trending once again today.

Girls Names


Agnes peaked in popularity in the early 1920’s. The name derives from the Greek name Ἁγνὴ hagnē, meaning ‘Pure’ or ‘holy’ and was later associated with the Latin word ’agnus’ meaning lamb. Saint Agnes of Rome was a popular Christian Saint often depicted holding a lamb for this reason.

The name has seen reoccurrence in popularity, with an increase in the US during the 1960’s especially, and it seems as though the name is on the rise once more. Agnes has become one of the most popular names today in Sweden and we are seeing a steady increase here in the UK too, with ‘Aggie’ a fashionable choice of nickname. 

Famous people with the name Agnes include Bewitched actress Agnes Moorehead, abstract painter Agnes Martin, and pop singer Agnes Obel.


The name Mabel derives from the Latin word ‘amabilis’ meaning ‘loveable’ and was used frequently during the Middle Ages.  It was revived in the 19th century after C. M. Yonge’s novel ‘The Heir of Redclyffe’ featured a character called Mabel. We are now seeing a comeback in recent years, including actors Bruce Willis and Chad Lowe choosing the name for their daughters.


The name Evelyn has been used as both first name and surname for men and women, although more commonly female. Originally a surname, Evelyn is of English origin and a variant of the French name Aveline meaning ‘wished for a child.’

Famous Evelyn’s include ‘Gone with the Wind’ actress Evelyn Keyes and male writer Evelyn Waugh who ironically married an Evelyn too!


Florence comes from the Latin name Florentina meaning ‘prosperous & flourishing’ and is also the name of a beautiful Italian city. The name became popular at the turn of 20th century and has become fashionable once again in recent years. Famous Florence’s include Florence Nightingale and Florence Welch of band Florence and the Machine. Nicknames such as Flo have also begun trending in association with the name.


Elsie derives from the Hebrew name Elizabeth meaning ‘God’s promise’.

Elsie was popular at the end of the 19th century but saw a decline after Borden’s Milk Company created Elsie the cow as brand ambassador. It’s now beginning to peak once more with celebrities such as James Morrison choosing it for his baby girl and young ‘Despicable Me’ actress Elsie Fisher bearing the name.

Boys Names


Leon is of Latin origin and derived from the name Leonie, meaning ‘Lion’. The name peaked in the 1920’s and is now slowly beginning to make its way up rank, already currently one of the most popular boys names in Austria and Sweden. Famous Leon’s include rock singer Leon Russell. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also chose Leon for their son Knox’s middle name in 2008.


The name Vincent derives from the Latin word ‘Vinentius’ meaning ‘to conquer’. It was popular amongst early Christians and has been in use in England since the Middle Ages, peaking during the 1920’s. Today Vincent is gaining popularity including variants of the name such as Vinnie and Vince. Famous name bearers include Vinnie Jones and Vince Vaughn but perhaps the most famous of all is post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh.


Theo, originally short for Theodore and meaning ‘God’s Gift’, peaked in the early 1900’s and has now seen a surge over the last 5 years across the UK and Europe.

Famous Theo’s include footballer Theo Walcott and English actor Theo James.


Oscar originates from the Old Norse, meaning ‘gentle friend’. Famous Oscar's include the Irish poet Oscar Wilde and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. In recent years Oscar has begun trending again especially in Sweden and the UK, with actor Hugh Jackman choosing the name for his son.


James originates from the Hebrew name Jacob and means ‘follower’. The name James peaked during the late 1920’s and continues to remain popular today, however previously nicknames such as ‘Jim or ‘Jamie’ would replace James, whereas today it’s most popular form is James itself.

Baby names from the roaring twenties