The month of May is abloom with flowers, new life, and great names! May is home to several holidays, including Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, and Victoria Day. A month rich with history, let’s find May baby name inspiration from these great namesakes with ties to the month of May.
On May 20, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, making her a legendary pioneer in aviation. Amelia is a German name with global appeal that is on the rise. Currently at Number 15, Amelia is a Nameberry favorite, ranking at Number 2 here amongst us name enthusiasts. Amelia is a Top 10 name in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Poland and Scotland and is also a frequently used literary name, recognized from the series Amelia Bedelia, Harry Potter, and Amelia’s Notebook.
Omar Khayyam, one of the most influential scientists of the Middle Ages, was born on May 18, 1048. Widely known for his scientific and poetic writings, he wrote extensively on philosophy, mechanics, geography, and astronomy. Ranking at 214 in popularity, Omar is familiar though not overly used. Omar is an Arabic name meaning eloquent, and a biblical appellation appearing in the book of Genesis. Omar may also remind you of WW2 General Omar Bradley, or actors Omar Sharif and Omar Epps.
Florence Nightingale, considered the founder of modern nursing, was born on May 12, 1820. Nightingale helped formalize nursing education and her writings were influential in the reform of healthcare worldwide. Florence is a Latin name meaning flourishing and prosperous. It peaked in 1902, when it was the seventh most popular name for girls. Though Florence hasn’t appeared in the Top 1,000 since 1981, it’s a vintage choice prime for a comeback. Perhaps fun old-timey nicknames such as Flossie and Flory could help to make Florence feel more wearable.
On May 30, 1922, the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was dedicated. This national monument was designed by architect Henry Bacon in honor of the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is an English name meaning town by the pool. Currently ranked at Number 87, it is more popular now, 151 years after the assassination, than it has ever been. Bill Murray used the name Lincoln for his son in 2001, and Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard named their first daughter Lincoln Bell in 2014.
(Angela) Isadora Duncan was born on May 26th or 27th, 1878. Duncan was a dancer and choreographer whose innovative free-form style helped to revolutionize modern dance. If you are looking for an attractive alternative to Isabella, you may want to take a closer look at Isadora, which is derived from a Greek name meaning gift of Isis. Isadora is so rare that it only appeared in the Top 1,000 once, in the year 1900 . Isadora would be an exotic yet usable choice that lends itself easily to the cute and familiar nickname, Izzy.
Pediatrician and author Benjamin Spock, (shown), born May 2, 1902, became a household name with his 1946 book Baby and Child Care, which remains one of the best-selling books of all time. Benjamin has long been a popular name, never dipping below Number 155. Currently Number 12, Benjamin is now the most popular it has ever been. Benjamin is a Hebrew name meaning son of the right hand. If you enjoy Ben names, you may also like Bennett, Benedict, or Benson.
Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize on May 3, 1937 for her epic novel, Gone with the Wind— her first novel and an immediate best-seller. Margaret is a classic Greek name meaning pearl. A popular name in the early 1900s, Margaret, with its numerous attractive variations and nicknames, is still well-loved and used, currently ranked at Number 169. Actors Maggie Smith, Marlo Thomas, and Meg Ryan all share the first name Margaret. Another fun nickname is Daisy; the French form of Margaret is Marguerite, the French word for the daisy.
Archibald MacLeish, a poet and Librarian of Congress was born May 7, 1892. MacLeish received three Pulitzer Prizes for his work. Archibald is a German name meaning genuine and bold. Dashing actor Cary Grant’s birth name was Archibald Alexander Leach. The nickname Archie has seen more popularity than Archibald, which has never been in the Top 1,000. Comedian’s Amy Poehler and Will Arnett used the name Archie for one of their sons. Another cool choice for modern parents would be Archer.
Pioneering investigative journalist Nellie Bly, was born Elizabeth Cochran Seaman on May 5, 1864. A human rights activist, Bly was renowned for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days. Nellie is a diminutive of the name Eleanor via Nell, meaning bright and shining, and has a sweet old-timey feel. Peaking in 1901, Nellie was last ranked in the Top 1,000 in 1979. There are several television ties to the name Nellie, from Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie to Nellie Bertram on The Office.
On May 28, 1961 The London Observer published lawyer Peter Benenson’s article “The Forgotten Prisoners,” launching an appeal for amnesty. Benenson article inspired him to form the human rights organization, Amnesty International, just a few months later. Peter is a classic Greek name meaning rock. It peaked in 1955, though it is still readily used, currently ranked at Number 204. In the New Testament, Jesus gives the name Peter to his apostle Simon. There are many childhood literary associations to Peter, from Peter Pan, to Peter Rabbit, to Spider-man Peter Parker.