This week I spent some time looking for an early graduate of The Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing. An email about the alumna, Nancy Morris, said she graduated from the School in the late 1890s. As I scanned the class lists trying to find the exact year of her graduation, I found many names that seem distinctly old-fashioned, but no simple Nancys. There was a Josepha, many Adas and Idas, an Alphasine, a few Mauds and Daisys, a Mehitable, an Igogereth, quite a few Minnies and Mabels, a Mynolia, and some Florences. It was 1905 – 24 years into the School’s history – before I found the first Nancy, and they were few and far between for quite some time after this.
Just as an FYI, the most common name in our School of Nursing up until 1910 was Mary. This did not even make the top 50 girls’ names in 2013, according to Parents magazine.