From about 1870 to 1900, America was in the throes of its “Gilded Age” – a term we’ve been hearing a lot about thanks to the success of HBO Max’s The Gilded Age. Basically, thanks to the rapid economic growth of the era, the upper class had more money than it knew what to do with. Vast fortunes were made and lost; in fact, the top 4 richest Americans ever — John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and William Henry Vanderbilt — were Gilded Age tycoons. Opulence was the hallmark of the times, and this period is associated with an abundance of elegance and wealth (well, for the upper classes, anyway!).
So what were the wealthy elites of the Gilded Age naming their babies during this period? Well according to the Social Security Administration, which has records of the most popular baby names dating back to 1880, some of the biggest names during the Gilded Age period were some of the biggest names of all time (that are still popular today): John, James, William, and George; Mary, Anna, Emma, and Elizabeth. And those are all solid, classic choices, but if you want a Gilded Age baby name that’s slightly less common, take a look at some of our favorites — plucked right from the actual 1000 most popular names of the era.
Gilded Age Girl Names
What do these gilded age girl names have in common? With the exception of Pearl, they all end in an A or an E! And many of them are decidedly less-stuffy nicknames for longer, more traditional names: Bessie instead of Elizabeth, for example, or Lottie instead of Charlotte.
Gilded Age Boy Names
These boy names are dashing and dapper, with plenty of vintage charm — but not so old-fashioned that they won’t be perfect for a modern-day baby!
Gender-Neutral Names from the Gilded Age
Some of these names have only become considered “gender-neutral” in the last few decades — but some of them, such as Jess, Ollie, and Marion, were in both the boys’ and girls’ top 1000 baby names during the Gilded Age.