11 Classic But Underused Names From Anne Of Green Gables

Our 11 favourite classic name choices from the Anne Shirley series that deserve a comeback

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne Shirley series is a childhood classic. While the series itself might be something you save to read to your kids when they’re older, if you’re pregnant, it might be worth reading on your own. The books are chock-full of wonderful characters with the kind of great, old-fashioned yet elegant names that are currently popular. In case you don’t have the time to read eight books in the next few months, I’ve made a list of some of my favourites here. 

Phillippa (Anne’s college friend) - This is one of those names that I am surprised is not more popular already, because it is bang-on trend. Old-fashioned? Check. Ends on a vowel? Check. Soft “ell” sound? Check. Unisex nickname possibility (“Phil”)? Check. Seriously this name is perfect; what are you waiting for?

Frederick (Anne’s best friend’s husband) - Technically I’m cheating here, because Anne’s best friend Diana’s husband was just plain “Fred.” However, while I am not crazy about “Fred,” both the full name and its other diminutive are quite lovely: Frederick is surprisingly strong and stalwart and Freddie for a little boy is just irresistible. 

Una (Anne’s children’s friend) - It’s not for the faint of heart, but Una is singular, refined and gorgeous, managing to be etherial without being too hippy-dippy. It would make a perfect pairing for the trendy, equally-celestial “Stella.” 

Gilbert and Walter  (Anne’s husband and son, respectively) - I paired these names together because both have the same kind of sound and appeal: classic, sterling and crisp. Both share that “old timey” aesthetic, beloved by the likes of Amy Poehler (mom to sons Archie and Abel), without being too trendy or overused. These two would make great sibling names, like for twins. 

Valentine (Anne’s neighbour) - You’re probably thinking, really? Like the Hallmark holiday? But try for a moment to strip away the candy-heart associations and think about the sound of the name; immediately the Roman origins presents themselves. Valentine is regal and elegant; a lot more purple and gold than pink and white. If you’re looking for a name with versatility, consider that Valentine offers the bright, chummy “Val” as a nickname.

"Jem," short for James (Anne’s son) - “James” is a perennial name for a reason - it’s both soft and strong; it is never something your son will be embarrassed to put on his future resume, and it offers a wealth of nickname potential. Jem, in my opinion, is the best among them. It sounds warm and affectionate, and of course the associations - something valuable and precious - could not be more perfect.

Marilla and its short form, “Rilla” (Anne’s guardian and her daughter, respectively) - Feminine and elegant, Marilla is a great, underused choice for those that love the sound of classic names like “Ava” and “Lillian”, but are looking for something less ubiquitous.

Carlyle (Anne’s children’s friend) - I’m cheating again, because Carlyle is technically the middle name of Thomas Meredith, the Blythe kids’ friend. Last names as first names are another popular trend for boys’ names (think Foster, Mason, Bennett). Carlyle is snappy, stylish and unusual, while still falling within a trend. 

Cordelia (Anne’s dream name) - It’s no wonder that starry-eyed young Anne Shirley wanted to change her name: Cordelia is grand, romantic and stylish. Like Phillippa, it feels like it “fits” with some of the current name trends, and like Valentine, it presents a peppy nickaname (“Cordy.”) for variety.

Blythe (Anne’s married name) - Blythe is a great last name, but it also makes a great first name for a little girl (think Gwenyth Paltrow’s mother, patrician actress Blythe Danner). And if names’ meanings are important to you, you couldn't do better - the word “blithe” means happy, cheerful and unworried. 

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