This decade ushered in a dramatic new century. New modes of transportation appeared and set the stage for worldwide changes.
In 1900, the first zeppelin launched in Germany. Just three years later, the Wright brothers flew their plane at Kitty Hawk, NC. Automobiles, while still somewhat unusual, became more popular.
In spite of these bold events, little changed among the 20 most popular names from the 1900s.
Traditional baby name sources, such as the Bible and British royalty, were still common sources for 1900s names. John and Mary, both biblical names, remained the most popular names for babies.
1900s Girl Names
Opal and Violet were new to the list in this decade, showing that flowers and gemstones continued to provide inspiration for girl names. Names such as Rose, Hazel and Myrtle refer to specific plants, while Florence simply means “blossom” or “flower.”
Pearl and Ruby were popular ways to name girls after precious stones.
Velma and Bernice were among the newly popular 1900s girl names.
The women's suffrage movement was growing at this time. Possibly because of this, Mildred, which means “gentle strength”, zoomed up this list from 42 to 10.
Gladys climbed from 43 to 14 due in part to several characters by that name in late-18th-century novels.
Top 100 Baby Girl Names From the 1900s
1900s Boy Names
The 1900s names for boys remained fairly stable. The top five, which were all names of past British kings, went unchanged.
There also was little movement in the rest of the list. Clarence and Walter remained near the top of the list of boy names, while Victor and Allen remained near the bottom.
There were some exceptions to this rule. Johnnie made an appearance at number 87 while Ira disappeared from the most popular 1900s baby names.
As in the past, boy names often expressed virtues such as strength, courage or nobility. Roy, which means “king”, and Earl are literal expressions of royalty.
Walter, which is new to the list, and Harold both mean “army leader.” Newly popular Ralph means “fearless advisor.”
Famous figures also influenced name popularity.
In 1901, US President McKinley was assassinated. The vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, stepped into the role of President and was re-elected in 1904.
Roosevelt's popularity is the most likely reason that Theodore soared from 89 to 38 on the 1900s boys names list.
While the vast majority of names are seen as either masculine or feminine, Jessie was a common name for both boys and girls.
Top 100 Baby Boy Names From the 1900s
Top 100 Baby Names by Decade