In September we celebrate Labor Day, Grandparents Day, and the transition from summer to fall. Let’s look back to past Septembers and pull names from activists, explorers, and athletes. With names ranging from Hudson to Narcissa, we’ve got a list of notable namesake names to inspire you.
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery on September 3, 1838 by boarding a Baltimore train disguised as a sailor. Douglass was one of the most prominent social justice leaders of the 19th century. Frederick is a German name with the fitting meaning peaceful ruler. Frederick has been a beloved name in literature; from Jane Austen’s Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion, to Shakespeare’s Duke Frederick in As You Like it. Actors Mayim Bialik and Chris Klein each chose this classic name for their sons.
Alexandra Kollontai (shown) made history as one of the first female national ambassador on September 8, 1924. Kollontai was a Russian revolutionary, best remembered for improving the lives of working class women. Alexandra is the Greek feminine form of Alexander, meaning defender of men. Alexandra peaked in the mid-1990s and now sits just outside of the Top 100 at spot Number 101. A few beautiful variations of Alexandra include Alessandra, Alejandra, and Alexandrina.
On September 12, 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson sailed into the Hudson River, giving it its name. The Hudson River begins in the Adirondack Mountains, flowing through the Hudson Valley, draining into the Atlantic Ocean. Hudson is an English surname meaning son of Hudd, which was once a popular nickname for Hugh. Hudson is a name on the rise, peaking last year at Number 65. Skater Tony Hawk and musician Drew Lachey each have sons named Hudson.
Jane Addams, a pioneer in social work and a leader in women’s suffrage, was born on September 6, 1860. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, Addams co-founded Hull House in Chicago, one of the first US social settlements. Modern parents are once again taking note of this timeless classic which has shed its “plain Jane” stigma. Jane is currently Number 288 in popularity, the highest it has ranked in over 40 years. Jane Goodall and Jane Austen are just two of the countless remarkable women who share this name.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses (shown), was born on September 7, 1860. A renowned outsider folk artist, Grandma Moses’ paintings portrayed rural New England life. The prophet Moses is a major Old Testament figure who led the Jews out of Captivity into the Promised Land. Fittingly Moses means delivered from water. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin helped bring this name back into our awareness when they used it for their son born in 2006. Moses is currently Number 471 in popularity.
On September 1, 1836 Narcissa Whitman became one of the first Anglo women to settle west of the Rocky Mountains. A missionary, Whitman arrived in what is now Walla Walla, Washington. Narcissa is a Greek name meaning daffodil. You may also recognize Narcissa as the name of Draco Malfoy’s mother in the Harry Potter series. If you can get past the association with narcissism, Narcissa could be a fresh alternative to similar ending names like Melissa and Alyssa.
Boxer Rocky Marciano, born Rocco Francis Marchegiano, was born on September 1, 1923. Marciano is widely considered one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time. Another notable bearer of this name is Saint Rocco, the patron saint of the sick. Rocco is Italian from a German name meaning rest. Rocco ranked at Number 316 in 1923 when Marciano was born. Today Rocco comes in at Number 463. Madonna and Guy Ritchie chose the name Rocco for their son born in 2000, followed by several other celebs, including Donald Faison, Lita Ford and Jillian Barberie.
Historian and newspaper columnist, Delilah Leontium Beasley, was born on September 9, 1867. A writer for for the Oakland Tribune, she was the first African-American woman to be regularly published in a major newspaper. In the Old Testament Delilah is a temptress who betrays her lover Samson by cutting off his hair. Delilah is quickly rising in popularity and at Number 116 is currently the highest it has ever ranked. Several celebrities have daughters named Delilah including Benicio del Toro and Kimberly Stewart, Laurence Fishburne, and Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin.
Arnold Palmer, who blows out his birthday candles on September 10th, is regarded as one of the greatest professional golf players of all time. Palmer is an English surname meaning pilgrim, coming from the Latin word palma, meaning palm tree. Early pilgrims brought palms back as evidence of their journey. Palmer would fit in well with trending surname names like Parker or Carter. Palmer was only given to 137 baby boys as a first name last year, making it a distinctive choice.
On September 17, 1849 abolitionist Harriet Tubman first escaped from slavery. Tubman, born Araminta Ross, went on to lead hundreds of people to freedom through the route of the Underground Railroad. Harriet is an English form of Henriette, meaning estate ruler. Harriet hasn’t been in the Top 1,000 since 1970 and was only given to 179 baby girls last year. The name has an old-fashioned vibe and may feel more usable with a charming old-timey nickname like Hattie, Hetty, or even Etta. Harriet Welsch is the main character in the beloved children’s novel Harriet the Spy.
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