Celebrity Names Blog

Well Stated? Ethan Hawke Names Daughter Indiana

Well Stated? Ethan Hawke Names Daughter Indiana
ANG/Fame Pictures

New York City fixture Ethan Hawke has long called the Big Apple home, but he looked to another state for inspiration when it came to naming his fourth child.

The Academy Award-nominated actor and his wife, Ryan Shawhughes, welcomed their second daughter, Indiana Hawke, several weeks ago, reports Us Magazine. There was no fancy birth announcement for the notoriously private star of Training Day, Dead Poets Society and Before Sunrise; his statement to the press was simply getting photographed walking with his new bundle of joy in Manhattan this week. Indiana joins her 3-year-old sister Clementine Jane Hawke and Ethan’s two children from his marriage to Uma Thurman: daughter Maya Ray Thurman Hawke, 13, and son Levon Roan Thurman Hawke, 9.

It’s interesting that an actor so associated with New York City — his body of work includes NYC film tributes Brooklyn’s Finest, Staten Island, Chelsea Walls and New York, I Love You — looked to a Midwest state for name inspiration. But Indiana — the 19th state, also known as the Hoosier State, has all the makings of a popular place name like Dakota, Montana, Alabama and even the more traditional Georgia.

When you hear that someone is named Indiana — a gender neutral name meaning “land of the Indians” — you think that he or she must have a sense of adventure thanks to good ole Indiana Jones, the big screen archaeologist brought to life by Harrison Ford in the popular movie series. Of course, Indiana was only a nickname for the character — his full name was Henry Walton Jones, Jr., which is certainly not as sexy for an action hero as Indiana or Indy is.

While the name Indiana isn’t on the Top-1000 popular name list currently, it actually was in the late 1800s. Four times between 1881 and 1893 the female name Indiana ranked at the bottom of list – never making it higher than No. 876. It's had some popularity more recently: In 2004, actor Casey Affleck and his wife, Summer Phoenix, selected the name Indiana August Affleck for their son. There is also an up-and-coming Australian actress named Indiana Rose Evans who just turned 21.

In addition to writing screenplays, Ethan Hawke is also a published author, so his new daughter's name could also have been inspired by Amandine Aurore Dupin's first novel, published under the pseudonym George Sand, named Indiana. It's the story of a young woman who, at the age of 16, marries a much older man and soon realizes they're not a good match. At the time the book was published in 1831, it was viewed as denouncement of marriage and was controversial for the time.

Other names similar to Indiana are India and Indi. India, also a place name honoring the country, has a more exotic feel than Indiana. India peaked in popularity in 2001 when it was No. 297 and it’s now at risk of dropping off the list as it sits at No. 977. Then there’s Indi — which is town in the state of Karnataka in South West India. It’s also the name of female soccer sensation Indi Armstrong Cowie. The daughter of Scottish parents, Indi lives in North Carolina and is known for her freestyle footwork.

Back to Indiana Hawke, the pairing of Indiana with Hawke does make us momentarily think of a breed of birds — like the Red-tailed hawk or Broad-winged hawk — but that's because of the surname. Hawke isn't as easy a name to pair with as common last names like Davis or Taylor. But with Hawke being one syllable, it does allow for bigger, multisyllabic first names. Clearly Ethan and his wife took advantage of that with both Indiana and Clementine.

What do you think of the name Indiana Hawke? Does it work in a sibset with Clementine Hawke? How does it compare to state names Montana, Dakota, Alabama and Georgia? 



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August 6, 2011 2:21 PM
By Lane

As someone from Indiana, I still find it sort of odd to see it on a person. It does have some hot sounds, though.

August 6, 2011 2:24 PM
By Suzy

I like it. In researching, I found a lot of people who, like you, were like: I'm from Indiana so it's a "no." To me it's like Montana, which I like.

August 6, 2011 8:33 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm an Indiana resident- and I think it's cute, but wouldn't use it since I live here! I l.o.v.e. Clementine!!

August 6, 2011 10:49 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I like it. I think both names have a prairie Americana-type feel.

August 7, 2011 2:47 PM
By Angela (not verified)

Since I promised my husband that our first boy would be Gunnar the Fourth, I had planned on nicknaming him "Indy" after Indiana Jones...I had no idea it was gaining popularity as a girl's name!

I'll probably still use Indy as his nickname though. I think the Indiana Jones association is strong enough for it to be cool on a little boy.

August 7, 2011 10:52 PM
By Charly (not verified)

My brother's name is Gunnar . . . and I can't picture him as an Indy. He's had the nicknames Gunny, Gun, G, but nothing even close to Indiana!

August 8, 2011 12:57 AM
By Chaya (not verified)

Indiana Rose Evans definitely isn't eleven years old...she's twenty-one.

August 8, 2011 9:03 AM
By LeAnna (not verified)

I named a daughter Indiana Kate in February of this year. She was named after my gr gr gr grandma, who was born in a covered wagon as her family was passing thru Indiana Territory. I love the name. We call our Indiana Indie for short. Her Uncles call her Jonesy. :)

August 8, 2011 2:23 PM
By Cassandra (not verified)

Clementine is absolutely beautiful and even though I'm not a huge fan of Indiana, I think that the two names flow well together. And I do think Indiana is the best out of all state names!

August 9, 2011 12:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I prefer India for a girl, and Indy for a boy...really like both of those a lot, but not Indiana for either...reminds me of the state (which is fine if you have a particular connection to there, but otherwise, don't see it...). I don't like Clementine at all. And I think siblings should have the same number of middle names!

August 9, 2011 1:46 PM
By Indiana (not verified)

My birth name is Indiana Muse, I am 34 years old and I love my name and want to keep it all for me just me :) I was named after George Sands novel Indiana as mentioned above.
I get Indiana Jones, were you conceived in Indiana, all of it but I love my name and would hate to see it become popular. No more Indiana's please :)

August 9, 2011 4:44 PM
By Nick Hentschel (not verified)

I always thought that, "Indiana" would make even more sense as a girl's name, thanks to its feminine ending; it could be shorted to "Ana," or the like, very easily. But then, "Marion" was a boys' name, too, once: just ask Marion Morrison, aka John Wayne.

August 9, 2011 6:02 PM
By Lane

Chaya, thanks for the catch.

September 4, 2011 8:01 PM
By Den (not verified)

Casey Affleck welcomed a SON named Indiana, not a girl, which its kinda implied in this article.

May 29, 2012 11:42 PM
By Arthur van der Vant (not verified)

If you feel left out or need some attention, tell your mom or dad. Also be sure to tell a parent if you're having trouble getting your homework done or you're not getting enough sleep.

November 15, 2012 9:55 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It’s interesting that an actor so associated with New York City — his body of work includes NYC film tributes Brooklyn’s Finest, Staten Island, Chelsea Walls and New York, I Love You — looked to a Midwest state for name inspiration. But Indiana — the 19th state, also known as the Hoosier State, has all the makings of a popular place name like Dakota, Montana, Alabama and even the more traditional Georgia.

March 31, 2013 3:30 AM
By Jimmie Allison (not verified)

I was drafting a research report and gathering info regarding this area. Your post is the considerably better that I read. Thank you for putting these details into one specific space.

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