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Born on the Fourth of July

Yes, July 4th is the birthday of America, but it’s also an occasion to salute some of the notable people who share that date—and of course featuring those with the more interesting names. It makes for quite a diverse little birthday party—from Nathaniel Hawthorne, born in 1804, to First Daughter Malia Obama, born in 1998. But we won’t be including three who erroneously claimed the date as their own—composer George M. ‘born on the Fourth of July’ Cohan, MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and Louis Armstrong, whose real date of birth was August 4th.

Phineas

Phineas Taylor Barnum was, of course, the American showman who founded the circus that became the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Phineas feels much less fusty than it once did, thanks to the lovable nickname Finn. Julia Roberts spelled her son’s name Phinnaeus—but he too goes by Finn.

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