Famous female names from 1916

Over at The Public Domain Review, I found a collection of 51 novelty playing cards — several incomplete decks, mixed together — from 1916 that feature the images and names of popular movie actresses from that era.

Below are all the first names from those cards, plus where those names happened to rank in the 1916 baby name data. (Two-thirds of them were in the top 100, and over 95% fell inside the top 1,000.)

  • Anita (ranked 151st in 1916)
  • Anna (7th)
  • Beatriz (1,281st)
  • Bessie (56th)
  • Blanche (89th)
  • Clara (39th)
  • Cleo (180th)
  • Constance (213th)
  • Dolores (146th)
  • Dorothy (3rd)
  • Edith (28th)
  • Ella (81st)
  • Ethel (25th)
  • Fannie (116th)
  • Florence (14th)
  • Geraldine (94th)
  • Gertrude (35th)
  • Grace (26th)
  • Helen (2nd)
  • Julia (46th)
  • June (86th)
  • Kate (346th)
  • Kathlyn (731st)
  • Lenore (340th)
  • Lillian (16th)
  • Louise (18th)
  • Mabel (65th)
  • Marguerite (78th)
  • Mary (1st)
  • May (190th)
  • Mildred (6th)
  • Myrtle (58th)
  • Nellie (61st)
  • Norma (111th)
  • Olive (132nd)
  • Ormi (4,982nd)
  • Pauline (33rd)
  • Pearl (57th)
  • Ruth (5th)
  • Viola (59th)
  • Violet (83rd)
  • Vivian (77th)
  • Wanda (138th)

Which of the names above do you like best?

Source: Moriarty Playing Cards (1916) – The Public Domain Review

2 thoughts on “Famous female names from 1916

  1. I have several (now long gone) relatives with these names, I also have several friends (mormons so at least 5 kids lol) with daughters who have these names.
    A few of them are from relatives, folks I dealt with, or characters in books or movies, that the names have a negative match for me. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly lol
    I love many of them and could see even now 2021 naming a daughter, perhaps because of my age, idk.
    Anna, Bessie, Ella, Fannie (although in British English this is a vulgar word), Grace, Lillian, Myrtle, Pearl, Ruth, Viola, Violet, Vivian. I like Olivia instead of Olive. Olivia De Havilland.
    I’ve got to say I do like the name Ormi. Why? My Great Grandfather was Ormond (Bulus Keemer) His nickname though was OB (but sounding like a full word ‘Ohbie’)
    The loss of all those silent films… makes about as sick as the loss of the Libraries of Alexandria and Constantinople! Which is to say, pretty ill! I’d sit on the weekends with my Gramma and watch them on cable (I think) I was pretty young 6 to 8 maybe. Then we got into all the John Wayne movies LOL
    Amazing amount of info in this, thanks so much!!

  2. I have relatives who were born in and around 1916 who were named Bessie (Elizabeth), Dolores, Dorothy, Grace, Mary, Mildred, Pearl, and Ruth.
    Other relatives’ names not on the 1916 list are: Ada, Audrey, Erna, Evelyn, Irene, Jesse (Jay), Lora, Millicent, Octava (Tay), and Wilma. Tay and Jay were sisters.

    I would consider naming a daughter: Grace, Julia (but not really, because I have three close relatives named Julia/Julie), Lillian, Olive, Ruth (probably as a middle name), Viola, or Vivian.

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