180 Hallowed Historical Baby Names

180 Hallowed Historical Baby Names

Looking for historical baby names? We’ve got you covered. Who knows? Your baby might just follow in the footsteps of these famous people from the past.
The history books are full of incredible people who made a difference in the world—so no wonder you’re turning to the past for naming inspiration, mama!

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry.

Our list of historical baby names is here to help.

We’ve divided them into handy categories: activists and politicians, writers, musicians, and scientists.

We’ve even included a special section on the Golden Age of Hollywood, where names like Rex, Rock, Yul, Ginger, Loretta, and Mae conjure the magic of those early films, often in just a snappy syllable or two.

First, let’s take a look at a few names that stand out from the rest.

In this article: 📝

  • What is the most old-fashioned name?
  • What are some extremely rare names?
  • Great historical boy names
  • Powerful historical girl names

What is the most old-fashioned name?

Tough question!

It’s hard to pick just one, but if we were to choose an old-fashioned boy’s name and an old-fashioned girl’s name still popular today, our top picks would be Olivette and Orlando.

What are some extremely rare names?

We love this question—so much that we put together a whole list of cool and rare names.

The names that came out tops? Aleph, Audio Science, and Bear Blaze.

And while these names may not have a historical ring to them now, they may just find themselves on a list of historical names in the years to come.

Great historical boy names

OK, let’s get started with some of the most famous boy names in history.

Activists and politicians

  1. Booker (T. Washington), American educator and adviser
  2. Cesar (Chavez), American labor leader and civil rights activist
  3. Desmond (Tutu), South African Anglican bishop and human rights activist
  4. Elie (Wiesel), Romanian-American writer, political activist, and Holocaust survivor
  5. Frederick (Douglass), American social reformer and abolitionist
  6. George (Washington), the first president of the US
  7. Geronimo, a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Ndendahe Apache people
  8. Harvey (Milk), American politician and civil rights activist
  9. Jesse (Jackson), American political activist
  10. Malcolm (X), American minister and human rights activist
  11. Martin (Luther King), American minister and activist
  12. Nelson (Mandela), South African anti-apartheid activist and the country’s first democratically-elected president
  13. Theodore (Roosevelt), American statesman and 26th president of the US

Actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood

  1. Anthony (Quinn)
  2. Burt (Lancaster)
  3. Cary (Grant)
  4. Charles (Laughton)
  5. Charlton (Heston)
  6. Clark (Gable)
  7. Errol (Flynn)
  8. Frank (Sinatra)
  9. Fred (Astaire)
  10. Gary (Cooper)
  11. Gene (Kelly)
  12. Glenn (Ford)
  13. Henry (Fonda)
  14. Humphrey (Bogart)
  15. James (Dean)
  16. Joseph (Cotten)
  17. Kirk (Douglas)
  18. Marlon (Brando)
  19. Melvyn (Douglas)
  20. Montgomery (Clift)
  21. Orson (Welles)
  22. Peter (Ustinov)
  23. Rex (Harrison)
  24. Richard (Burton)
  25. Robert (Mitchum)
  26. Rock (Hudson)
  27. Sidney (Poitier)
  28. Spencer (Tracy)
  29. Tyrone (Power)
  30. William (Holden)
  31. Yul (Brynner)

Writers, artists, and musicians

  1. Albert (Einstein), German theoretical physicist
  2. Ansel (Adams), American photographer and environmentalist
  3. Arthur (Miller), American playwright
  4. Claude (Monet), French painter
  5. Diego (Rivera), Mexican painter
  6. Edgar (Allen Poe), American writer and poet
  7. Ernest (Hemingway), American novelist and short-story writer
  8. Francis (Bacon), British painter
  9. Fyodor (Dostoevsky), Russian novelist
  10. Henri (Matisse), French visual artist
  11. Homer, legendary author of the Odyssey and the Iliad
  12. Jacob (Lawrence), American painter
  13. James (Joyce), Irish novelist
  14. Johann (Sebastian Bach), German composer
  15. Johnny (Cash), American singer-songwriter
  16. Langston (Hughes), American poet
  17. Louis (Armstrong), American trumpeter
  18. Mark (Twain), American writer
  19. Merle (Haggard), American singer-songwriter
  20. Miles (Davis), American jazz musician
  21. Oscar (Wilde), Irish poet and playwright
  22. Pablo (Picasso), Spanish painter and sculptor
  23. Paul (McCartney), founding member of The Beatles
  24. Ralph (Waldo Emerson), American essayist and philosopher
  25. Robert (Frost), American poet
  26. Samuel (Beckett), Irish novelist and playwright
  27. Walt (Whitman), American poet
  28. Wolfgang (Amadeus Mozart), Austrian composer


  1. Charles (Darwin), English naturalist and biologist
  2. Thomas (Edison), American inventor and businessman
  3. George (Washington Carver), American agricultural scientist
  4. Isaac (Newton), English mathematician, physicist, astronomer
  5. Neil (Armstrong), American astronaut
  6. Nicolaus (Copernicus), Renaissance mathematician and astronomer
  7. Stephen (Hawking), English theoretical physicist and cosmologist
  8. Henry (David Thoreau), American naturalist and essayist

Powerful historical girl names

And for your little girl?

Activists and politicians

  1. Alice (Paul), American suffragist and feminist
  2. Angela (Davis), American political activist
  3. Betsy (Ross), American upholsterer who made the first official US flag
  4. Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe during the Roman occupation of Britain
  5. Cleopatra, final ruler of Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty
  6. Diana (Princess of Wales), member of the British royal family
  7. Eleanor (Roosevelt), American political figure and activist
  8. Emmeline (Pankhurst), English political activist
  9. Indira (Gandhi), third prime minister of India
  10. Joan (of Arc), patron saint of France
  11. Josephine (Butler), women’s rights activist
  12. Lola (Hendrics), American activist
  13. Margaret (Thatcher), first female prime minister of Britain
  14. Rosa (Parks), American activist
  15. Ruby (Bridges), American activist
  16. Susan (B. Anthony), American social reformer and women’s rights activist
  17. Vera (Atkins), British intelligence officer
  18. (Queen) Victoria, former Queen of England
  19. Viola (Desmond), Canadian civil and women’s rights activist

Actresses from the Golden Age of Hollywood

  1. Ava (Gardner)
  2. Audrey (Hepburn)
  3. Bette (Davis)
  4. Claudette (Colbert)
  5. Dolores (del Rio)
  6. Elizabeth (Taylor)
  7. Fay (Wray)
  8. Ginger (Rogers)
  9. Grace (Kelly)
  10. Greta (Garbo)
  11. Ingrid (Bergman)
  12. Jean (Harlow)
  13. Judy (Garland)
  14. Katharine (Hepburn)
  15. Lauren (Bacall)
  16. Lena (Horne)
  17. Loretta (Young)
  18. Lucille (Ball)
  19. Mae (West)
  20. Marlene (Dietrich)
  21. Maureen (O’Hara)
  22. Miriam (Hopkins)
  23. Myrna (Loy)
  24. Olivia (de Havilland)
  25. Rhonda (Fleming)
  26. Rita (Hayworth)
  27. Shirley (Temple)
  28. Sylvia (Sidney)
  29. Veronica (Lake)
  30. Vivien (Leigh)

Writers, artists, and musicians

  1. Ada (Lovelace), English mathematician and writer
  2. Agatha (Christie), English writer
  3. Anne (Frank), German diarist
  4. Aretha (Franklin), American singer-songwriter
  5. Billie (Holiday), American singer
  6. Clara (Schumann), German pianist
  7. Celia (Cruz), Cuban-American singer
  8. Coretta (Scott King), American author
  9. Dorothea (Lange), American photographer
  10. Ella (Fitzgerald), American singer
  11. Edith (Piaf), French singer
  12. Emily (Dickinson), American poet
  13. Frida (Khalo), Mexican painter
  14. Georgia (O’Keeffe), American artist
  15. Gertrude (Stein), American novelist
  16. Harriet (Beecher Stowe), American author
  17. Jane (Austen), English novelist
  18. Mary (Wollstonecraft), English writer and philosopher
  19. Mildred (Bailey), American singer
  20. Maude (Gillette Phillips), American author
  21. Octavia (Butler), American science-fiction writer
  22. Simone (de Beauvoir), French philosopher
  23. Sylvia (Plath), American poet
  24. Virginia (Woolf), English writer
  25. Vivian (Maier), American photographer
  26. Willa (Cather), American writer


  1. Ada (Lovelace), first computer programmer
  2. Amelia (Earhart), American aviation pioneer
  3. Barbara (McClintock), genetic scientist
  4. Beatrice (Shilling), mechanical engineer (also known as Tilly)
  5. Caroline (Herschel), first woman to discover a comet
  6. Cecilia (Payne-Gaposchkin), astronomer, first person to discover the composition of stars
  7. Dorothy (Hodhkin), chemist who built the first model of insulin
  8. Elsie (Widdowson), British dietician and nutritionist, responsible for the addition of vitamins to rationed food in Britain during WW2
  9. Florence (Nightingale), English statistician
  10. Hedy (Lamarr), actress and co-inventor of a radio signaling device
  11. Helen (Gwynne-Vaughan), botanist
  12. Hypatia, the first known female mathematician
  13. Inge (Lehmann), seismologist who discovered the composition of Earth’s core
  14. Janet (Taylor), maritime scientist and inventor
  15. Jennifer (Doudna), genetic scientist and professor
  16. Katherine (Freese), dark matter scientist and theoretical astrophysicist
  17. Lilian (Bland), first woman to design, build, and fly and aircraft
  18. Lise (Meitner), nuclear scientist who helped with the discovery of nuclear fission
  19. Maria (Goeppert Mayer), chemical physics and Nobel Prize winner
  20. Marie (Curie), Polish physicist and chemist
  21. Rachel (Carson), environmental scientist
  22. Rosalind (Franklin), British chemist
  23. Sau (Lan Wu), particle physicist from Hong Kong who helped discover the Higgs-Boson particle
  24. Sophia (Louisa Jex-Blake), pioneer for female doctors and physicians
  25. Valentina (Tereshkova), astronaut and first woman in space

And if you’re looking to continue your search, head on over to our dedicated list of vintage names.

Or check out our list of over 350 old-fashioned names.

Happy naming, mama!

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