Girls called Sheila in the 30s were at the height of fashion -- the Madisons of their generation -- but fame is a fickle mistress and often, the faster they rise, the harder they fall. Now Sheila is decidedly out of fashion. It is seen as a "dated" name precisely because it was so popular in previous decades. It has, in short, become a victim of its own success and is now associated with a specific era.
It is a fate that has befallen many names. Think of any decade and the first name that springs to mind that fits that time is most probably now considered old, dated or just unfashionable.
Let's have a look at all these former Top 100 icons from 1904-1994 which are now below the top 1000.
Clifford- This had been a big hit at the end of the twentieth century. In 1904 it ranked at #43, #45 in 1914 and #48 in 1924. It was down to #60 in 1934, #68 in 1944 and, finally, #81 in 1954 . The name did not rank at all in 2009.
Clive - Entered the top 100 at #70 in 1934. It had risen to #50 in 1944 and reached a peak in 1954 when it ranked #44. The name fell to #58 in 1964 and was out of the top 100 by the 70s. Four boys (#3744) were named Clive in 2009.
Keith - A longstanding favourite which managed to span seven decades in the top 100. We find it first in 1924 where it ranked #86. It shot up to #36 in 1934 and reached its peak in 1944 at #14. It dropped slightly to #18 in 1954, to #33 in 1964, to #53 in 1974 and down to #88 in 1984. Twenty-three boys (#1099) were named Keith in 2009.
Leslie - Sat at #24 in 1904 and was up to # 17 in 1914. It reached its peak in 1924 at #15 and slipped down slightly to #31 in 1934, #35 in 1944, and #42 in 1954. By 1964 it had fallen down to #76. It was all downhill from there and in 2009 it ranked #2126 with only nine boys being given the name.
Trevor- Trevor reached #100 in 1914, had climbed to #79 in 1924 and in 1934 it ranked #59. By 1944 it had risen to #33 and was #30 in 1954. It fell to #38 in 1964 and was last seen at #76 in 1974. Fourteen boys (#1568) were given the name in 2009.
Doris - Sat solidly at #3 in 1904 and 1914, and was #7 in 1924. It slipped down to, the still very respectable, #33 in 1934 when alternative Doreen superseded it, but by 1944 it had fallen down to #99. It was all downhill from there and in 2009 it ranked #5556 with only three girls being given the name.
Gertrude - This had been a big hit at the end of the twentieth century. In 1904 it was sitting happily at #33. It dropped to #46 in 1914 and was down to #78 in 1924, never to return again. The name did not rank at all in 2009.
Irene - One of the longest running of our former icons, Irene managed to span six decades in the top 100. It starts at #39 in 1904, rises to #21 in 1914, and reached its peak in 1924 at #8. It dropped to #24 in 1934, #34 in 1944 and down to #66 in 1954. Fourteen girls (#1837) were named Irene in 2009.
Marjorie / Margery - In 1904 Marjorie ranked #27 and Margery #98. In 1914 Marjorie rose to #18 whereas Margery was at #88 and then dropped out. Marjorie reached #13 in 1924, #31 in 1934 and #61 in 1944, after which it dropped out. Neither spelling ranks at all in 2009.
Jacqueline - Entered the top 100 at #93 in 1934. It shot up to #25 in 1944 and rose to #13 in 1954. Its peak was in 1964 when it reached #4 but fell to #50 in 1974 and then to #95 in 1984. Sixteen girls (#1668) were named Jacqueline in 2009.
Pamela - Was #60 in 1924 and rose to #20 1934, and #17 in 1944. It moved a little way down to #21 in 1954 and then further, to #67, in 1964. In 2009 eleven girls (#2148) were named Pamela.
Shirley- Rocketed into the top 100 in the 1930s, most likely due to actresses Shirley Temple and Shirley Booth. In 1934 it ranked #10, fell to #39 in 1944 and #40 in 1954. In 1964 it ranked #78, after which it fell out of the top 100. Six girls were named Shirley in 2009 (#3422).
Winifred - Reached #12 in 1904, #10 in 1911 and #19 in 1924. It began to fall in 1934 when it ranked #48 and has never been in the top 100 since. In 2009 it ranked #1837 with fourteen births.
What is the fate of all these former starlets? Well, there is still hope of renewed glory. Ivy had dropped all the way down to #2165 by 1998 -- from its previous top 100 glory up until the 1940s -- and yet, in 2009 we can see it is now on an upward curve at #281. So, with a little more time and distance from the "old" or "dated" labels they could possibly have their time in the sun again. Only time will tell.