August is a month full of warm summer days, ripe fruit, and back-to-school preparations. There are many great names tied to notable August birthdays and events. This month we’ll pull inspiration for August baby names from performers, athletes, and a delightful chef.
Wild West performer and sharpshooter Annie Oakley was born on August 13, 1860. Born Phoebe Ann Mosey, she starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for 17 years. Oakley first entered the Top 1000 for girls in 2013; it currently ranks at Number 611 for girls and Number 567 for boys, the highest it has ever rated for either sex. An English name meaning oak clearing, Oakley could be the next Bailey or Riley. It’s also the name of a popular brand of sunglasses.
On August 9, 1939 Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal, becoming the first American to win four gold medals in one Olympics. Born James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens, he was a remarkable track and field athlete. A Hebrew name meaning gift, Jesse has both a sporty and a western vibe. In the Old Testament Jesse is the father of King David. The name peaked in popularity in the early 1980s and currently ranks at Number 178; it may bring to mind John Stamos’s character Uncle Jesse from the show Full House or the legendary outlaw Jesse James.
Actress Tuesday Weld, born Susan Ker Weld, was born on August 27, 1943, legally changing her first name to Tuesday in 1959. She began acting as a child and won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Female Newcomer in 1960. Musician Beck Hansen and actress Marissa Ribisi have a daughter named Tuesday. 53% of name enthusiasts here on Nameberry currently prefer the name Tuesday to Wednesday. What’s your favorite weekday name? Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban chose Sunday Rose for their daughter and Mike Myers is father to Sunday Molly.
On August 2, 1962 musician Robert Zimmerman legally changed his name to Bob Dylan. There are several theories surrounding Dylan’s name change, most prominent that poet Dylan Thomas influenced his surname choice. A Welsh name meaning son of the sea, Dylan has been in the Top 30 for nearly 20 years, currently ranking at Number 27. Several celebrities from Catherine Zeta–Jones and Michael Douglas to Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson have used the name for their sons.
Celebrity chef Julia Child, born on August 15, 1912, helped introduce French cuisine to American households through her debut cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and subsequent television programs. A Latin name meaning youthful, Julia currently ranks at Number 89. A timeless appelation wearable on a woman of any age, Julia has never dipped below Number 141 in popularity. There are several contemporary actresses named Julia including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Roberts, Julia Ormond, and Julia Stiles.
On August 28, 1898 inventor-pharmacist Caleb Bradham renamed his carbonated soft drink Pepsi-Cola. Originally called “Brad’s Drink,” it’s hard to imagine Pepsi now by any other name. Caleb has been ranked in the Top 50 for the past 20 years, and is currently at Number 37 in. Bill Murray, Julianne Moore, and Jack Nicholson all have sons named Caleb. A biblical name, Caleb was one of the twelve Israelites in the Old Testament sent by Moses to explore the Promised Land.
Althea Gibson made history on August 22, 1950 as the first African-American player to compete in a US National tennis competition. Nicknamed the “Jackie Robinson of Tennis,” Gibson went on to be first African-American to win Wimbledon in 1957. Gibson also has an August birthday, born August 25, 1927. A mystical sounding name, Althea has Greek roots meaning healing. In Greek mythology Althea was the mother of Meleager. Althea is not currently in the Top 1,000 though it ranks at Number 329 here amongst Berries. Althea can easily be shortened to the delightful nickname Thea.
Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th U.S. President, was born on August 27, 1908, ascending to the presidency in 1963 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Lyndon is an English surname name meaning linden tree hill; it peaked in popularity in 1964 while Johnson was in office. Lyndon has since declined and was only given to 153 baby boys born last year. Lyndon is a character name on the TV shows Finding Carter and Pretty Little Liars. Additional spelling include Linden, Lindon, and Lynden.
Actress Vera Miles, born on August 23, is perhaps best known for her role as Lila Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Vera peaked in popularity about 100 years ago, but has been rising steadily in recent years. Currently ranked at Number 312, Vera hasn’t been this popular since the late 1950s. A Russian name meaning faithful, Vera feels sophisticated and fresh again in part due to designer Vera Wang and actress Vera Farmiga. Designer Vern Yip chose the name Vera Lillian Beatrix for his daughter born in 2011.
On August 22, 1980, Nolan Ryan became the first pitcher in major league baseball to register 5,000 strikeouts. Born Lynn Nolan Ryan, he is also famous for pitching seven no-hitters. Fittingly, Nolan means champion. Nolan is one of the many attractive Irish names that has been climbing the charts, peaking in popularity last year at Number 71. Comic actress Molly Shannon used the name Nolan for her son born in 2005.