Baby Girl Names Inspired by Historical Figures

Think your daughter is destined for greatness? Name her after a woman who is known for her remarkable achievements.
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Elizabeth I
(1533-1603)

England's legendary Virgin Queen was crowned with a strong, biblical name that's perfectly timeless -- and suits the current occupant of the English throne as well. Elizabeth offers dozens of nickname options, from Eliza to Bess (as Elizabeth I was sometimes known), making it a versatile option.

Elizabeth: Names for Girls
Elizabeth: Names for Girls

Susan B. Anthony
(1820-1906)

The first name of the most famous suffragist reached its heyday in the 1960s; despite its beautiful meaning (it's "lily" in Hebrew) and its famous namesake, it's less common today.

Harriet Tubman
(1820-1913)

The former slave who helped guide dozens of slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad and later fought for women's suffrage went by her middle name. The name hasn't cracked the top 1,000 since the 1970s, but it's strong and works well for parents who want to go off the grid.

Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

The grande dame of 18th century romance has a name that's classic as her novels -- but even though it has seen a surge in popularity in recent years (currently in the low 300s), it's likely your daughter will be the only Jane in her class.

Rosa Parks
(1913-2005)

The first lady of the American civil rights movement was given a pretty variation of the more common name Rose. It's a sweet substitute for the more popular floral monikers, Lily and Violet.

Clara Barton
(1821-1912)

Born as Clarissa Harlowe Barton, this Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross preferred to be called Clara. (Her nickname means "bright and famous.") Clara currently ranks in the top 200, but is still rare enough to stand out.

Margaret Mead
(1901-1978)

This gem of a name means "pearl," an appropriate choice for Margaret Mead, a brilliant cultural anthropologist. This traditional name, currently in the top 200, lends itself to tons of nicknames: Meg, Maggie, Margie, and Marge, to name a few.

Gloria Steinem
(1934-)

Feminist and journalist Gloria Steinem has fronted the women's liberation movement since the 1960s, fighting for women to have marriage and pay equality, and reproductive rights. Her name, which means "glory," has remained in the top 500 in recent years, which makes it ripe for a comeback.

Louisa May Alcott
(1832-1888)

Alcott's classic novel Little Women remains popular, but her name is anything but -- it hasn't cracked the top 1,000 since the 1970s. But this beautiful name, which means "fame," deserves another moment in the sun.

Emily Dickinson
(1830-1886)

This beloved 19th century poet has a name that's equally popular these days -- Emily has ranked as the top name for girls for the past several years.

Emily Names for Girls
Emily Names for Girls

Amelia Earhart
(1897-disappeared in 1937)

Consider naming your daughter after one of the most famous women adventurers -- and modern mysteries, after she disappeared over the Pacific during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe. Although it's currently in the top 100 names, it's a nice alternative to chart-topping Emily and Emma.

Amelia: Names for Girls
Amelia: Names for Girls

Coco Chanel
(1883-1971)

Talk about a couture name -- this nickname used by the fabled fashion icon was also the pick of Courteney Cox and David Arquette for their daughter. It hasn't yet cracked the top 1,000, so odds are your daughter will stand out.

Beatrix Potter
(1866-1943)

The name of the creator of the beloved Peter Rabbit series is a variation on Beatrice. It still hasn't cracked the top 1,000 names (though Beatrice is nearing 800), making it a great choice for parents who want a distinctive take on a classic name.

Zora Neale Hurston
(1891-1960)

This Harlem Renaissance author (her claim to fame is the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God) had a relatively popular name back when she was born, but Zora has since dropped out of the top 1,000. Consider Zora, which means "sunrise," in lieu of Zoe.

Ella Fitzgerald
(1917-1996)

The storied singer's name means "bright light," indicating someone destined to be a star. The name has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity and currently ranks in the top 20.

Sandra Day O'Connor
(1930-)

The nation's first female Supreme Court Justice has a name truly worthy of her post: Sandra means "defending men." Although the name reached its peak around the time O'Connor was born, it still ranks a relatively popular 500.

Frida Kahlo
(1907-1954)

The contributions of brilliant Mexican artist Frida Kahlo weren't recognized until decades after her death -- and the same can be said for her name, a German one that means "peace." It didn't crack the top 1,000 until the 1990s, and still remains near the 1,000 mark, making it a more unusual choice for parents who like Fiona or Olivia.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

 

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