She was one of the fastest rising names in 2011, and could be the perfect name for a baby girl born tomorrow.
Thanks to Leitia for requesting June as our Baby Name of the Day.
June’s origins are probably tied up with the Roman goddess Juno, just like March belongs to Mars and January to Janus. Plenty of months have become names, and June has been in use since the nineteenth century. It’s also possible that June relates to to the Latin iuvenis, young – which fits right in with our ideas about the lovely month of June.
There are plenty of reasons June sounds so fresh in 2012. The first is timing: June was a Top 100 name from 1915 through 1941, at her most popular in the 1920s. After a long hibernation, June has slowly been creeping back into use, charting at #869 in 2008, and bounding up to #470 in 2011. That’s not exactly Emma, but she’s gaining attention, and fast.
A handful of characters in recent children’s shows have answered to the name. There’s the stylish quartet in Disney’s The Little Einsteins: Leo, Quincy, Annie, and June. There’s Junie B. Jones – short for Juniper Beatrice, the heroine of a long-running series of children’s books, first published in the 1990s. Nickelodeon’s cartoon variety show, KaBlam!, was co-hosted by characters called Henry and June.
Her retro charm is considerable. Think of:
- June Carter Cash, born Valerie June in 1929, the wife of Johnny Cash and his collaborator on a long string of creative projects. Reese Witherspoon took home a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of June C.C. in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line, likely helping to bolster interest in the name. Cash has caught on for boys in the same time frame, suggesting that the legendary couple are inspiring plenty of today’s parents.
- There’s also jazz singer June Christy, a contemporary of Carter Cash, but working in a very different genre.
- Heading to Hollywood, there’s June Allyson, an MGM contract player in the 1940s who went on to host a television series.
- June Lockhart had a long television career, appearing in Lassie and Petticoat Junction.
- Speaking of television, do you remember Leave it to Beaver? Beaver’s mom was June Cleaver.
- Fear this is all much too goody two shoes? There’s a racy June in the past, too – June Miller, wife of the writer Henry Miller, and part of a passionate and ill-fated love triangle with writer Anaïs Nin. Nin recorded the stories in her diaries, which were published in 1986 and adapted for a 1990 movie.
June feels gently old-fashioned, but her sound is vibrant, too. She’d fit right in with nature names for girls, and her sound is in step with Lucy and Ruby and Luna. Interest in Johnny and June isn’t slowing down, either. A Lifetime biopic of June herself is in the works, with Jewel on board to play the title role.
She manages to be straightforward and frills-free while remaining romantic and perfectly feminine – the perfect compromise between Sloane and Julianna, and a lovely name for a daughter.