I have no idea why Pamela Redmond Satran spends so much time and energy recommending and promoting clunky, old names that are rarely used for very good reasons. I’m referring to boys’ names like Randolph, Archibald, Dashiell, Benedict, Finian, Wolfgang, and Horace, (to list just seven names from Satran’s most recent posts). One thing is for certain: calling out-of-date names stylish doesn’t magically make them stylish. Ralph Lauren loves to study old fashions, but instead of stitch-for-stitch replication of fashions, say, from the 1890s, 1920s or 1940s, or 1960s, he updates those fashions to give them a more contemporary look–so people will enjoy, and look good, wearing them.
Of course, that takes time, effort, inspiration and a desire to be of service to one’s customers (which, switching back to baby names, would be readers). In a previous post I labeled some of Satran’s least usable recommendations odd, old-fashioned, off-putting and ancient. Seems to me an interest in unusable old names could be put to good use by simply refreshing or updating those “dinosaurs.”
Presenting: 11 Contemporary Options to Old-fashioned or Ancient Names for Boys
Randolph Fictional Namesake: Randolph Duke, old-fashioned, bow-tie-wearing Wall Street tycoon in “Trading Places” (1983) as portrayed by Ralph Bellamy.
Instead of Randolph, consider Randall.
Mortimer Fictional Namesake: Mortimer Duke, old-fashioned, bow-tie-wearing Wall Street Tycoon in the 1980s in “Trading Places” (1983) as played by Don Ameche.
Instead of Mortimer, consider Morgan.
Archibald Namesake: Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) Poet, Playwright and Librarian of Congress in the1940s, ’50s and ’60s
Instead of Archibald, consider Archer.
Cornelius Namesake: Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1807) American steamboat steamship and railroad magnate in the 1830s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s)
Instead of Cornelius, consider Connor.
Benedict Namesake: Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) was an American hero in the battle for Fort Ticonderoga in the 1775 who was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress. In 1780 he was given command of West Point and, in an act of treason, he tried to turn West Point over to British. Later he served as Brigadier General for the British and eventually moved to Britain.
Instead of Benedict, consider Bennett.
Wolfgang Namesake: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was one of all-time great classical composers and musicians who composed more than 600 works.
Instead of Wofgang, consider Wolf.
Phileas Fictional Namesake: Phileas Fogg, protagonist in the 1873 Jules Verne novel, Around the World in Eighty Days.
Instead of Phileas, consider Phillip or Phil.
Dashiell Namesake: Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961) author of hard-boiled detective novels and screenplays, including The Maltese Falcon, and The Thin Man.
Instead of Dashiell, consider Dash.
Finian Fictional Namesake: Finian, the protagonist of Broadway Musical, Finian’s Rainbow (1947) who moves from Ireland to Missitucky to bury a pot of gold in the hope that it will grow.
Instead of Finian, consider Finn.
Valdemar and Waldemar Namesakes: Fifteen Kings of Denmark, Sweden and Prussia from the 1141 to 1945.
Instead of Valdemar, Waldemar and Waldo, consider Walden.
Horace Namesake:Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC to 8 BC) was known to the world as Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.
Instead of Horace, consider Horst.