Queen Victoria reigned in Britain, not America. That’s hardly news, but when we talk about Victorian style — in architecture, or in baby names — we tend to let geography slide. In fact, some of the names that we associate with the “Victorian period,” like Cora and Pearl, were mostly American hits.
What was the unique baby name style of Victorian England? Can we capture the world that encompassed Charles Dickens, the Crystal Palace, Jack the Ripper and Oscar Wilde in names? Down to the statistics mines we go!
I’ve identified a group of names that were significantly more popular in England than the United States in the latter half of the 19th Century. Today we’ll focus on the boys’ side. (Girls’ names to come!)
The distinctive styles of English male names included surnames like Hartley and Wright; echoes of a much earlier England in names like Lancelot and Ethelbert; and a distinctly British formality in names like Algernon and Eustace. Reading through the list you’ll also notice Biblical names of every stripe, including Dickensian choices like Uriah and Ebenezer.
Take them altogether and I think you’ll feel both their time and their place: the land of Her Majesty Victoria, long may she reign.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
VICTORIAN BOYS’ NAMES
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