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JASKN

Taggart, named after an Ohio ice cream shop?

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Although I did find this forum thread

http://forum.objectivismonline.com/?showtopic=11691

which has an anecdote about Rand not naming her characters after real people, I suppose a business isn't a person. So...

I grew up in Canton, OH, which is home to an old ice cream parlor named "Taggart's." (Home made, it is delicious. Real banana ice cream.) When I discovered Rand, of course I thought of this business which I had frequented so many times before the name held extra significance for me. I figured it was just a coincidence, and forgot it.

But, a little while back I stumbled upon a buried Internet comment about these two Taggarts. As the comment went, (now lost, but my googling at the time unearthed nothing), Rand did pull the Taggart name from this very same ice cream place! Legendary actress Lillian Gish, who was born and raised in Massilon, OH, which is just 15 minutes or so west of Canton, and Taggart's, was apparently friends with Rand. The commenter said that Rand would visit Gish in Ohio, and that the two loved to dine at Taggart's. To add weight to this, in 1922 Frank O'Connor acted in "Orphans of the Storm," starring Lillian Gish. Rand also published a glowing review in The Objectivist of Gish's "The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me."

There is just enough truth here for it to seem plausible, with the timeline and relative obscurity of the name in general. But, the Internet reveals nothing. Has anyone heard of this story before? Does anyone know what inspired Rand to use the name "Taggart"?

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I found this on Dine.com

July 9, 2000

Sfalio L. Canton/Akron , Ohio

Been around since the 20s. Taggart's (which inspired the character Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand) is a great, lively place to go hang out with friends or have a fun time with a date before or after a movie. Highly recommended! 

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I doubt it.  Rand and Gish were both quite famous.  If they'd known each other their biographers would have picked up on it by now, as they've picked up on her friendships with Janet Gaynor and Gloria Swanson.

 

Rand once reviewed (i.e. ghosted a review that appeared in her husband's name) Gish's autobiography, with no mention of either of them having ever met Gish, much less gotten to know her.  Bit players and extras (who probably numbered in the hundreds for a movie of this scale) don't usually make friends with the stars.

 

Her husband was born in Lorain, west of Cleveland, and they visited the family from time to time, but this isn't enough to connect them to a town some 60 miles away.

 

Did the poster you mention give any documentation?  Anybody can say anything online, and people often do.  "Taggart" isn't especially rare; Bing finds 2,740,000 hits.  Rand liked names that were heavy on consonants, and they were almost always of English, Scottish or Irish origin.  Where she came across this one is probably lost forever.

 

The 2008 thread you link to, full of farfetched, mutually inconsistent and entirely unsupported guesses, is a reminder of how easy this is to do.  Suitable evidence might be an on-the-record statement, a diary, a letter or a well-corroborated eyewitness account.  Another possibility is a photo of Rand (with or without Gish) at Taggart's.  Some examples of meeting the standard are her statements to Barbara Branden that she modeled Galt's Gulch on Ouray CO and that Leo in We the Living is modeled on a man named Leo whom she loved and lost in Russia.  With no such evidence one can draw no such conclusion.

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Yes, good points. I thought it would be so ridiculous for it to be true, for me personally, I thought I'd give it a shot on a site full of her fans to see if any such evidence popped up.

And dream_weaver, I do remember finding that site. But, I didn't think it was very substantial all by itself.

Edited by JASKN

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So, I emailed Leonard Peikoff about this, and last week he replied. He said he'd never heard the story, that he didn't know why Rand chose the name "Taggart," but that he could say that Frank O'Connor was born in Ohio and had worked with Lillian Gish on some silent movies.

Unfortunately, googling those two people to search for more information brings up this very thread as just the 10th result. So, for now, it's a dead end until I can either discover a link to Lillian Gish, or find the reason Rand chose "Taggart."

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Here's an interesting find. 

 

Taggart Family Crest and Name History

 

Motto

 

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to oor or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

 

Motto: Ratione non vi
Motto Translation: By reason, not by force.

Edited by dream_weaver

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From the same site, using first name history for "Dagny" and "James"

 

Dagny First Name History

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A person's name is a constant throughout his or her life, a sign that continually gains meaning from personal experiences and deeds. Within many cultures the name of a certain individual in a family becomes so cherished that the name is bestowed upon the next generation, with the hope that they will carry on in their ancestors' footsteps.

From the German and Danish "dag" and "tag", meaning "brightness, day", plus "mar". Akin to the Old English "maere", meaning "splendid". The name is also from the Danish, meaning "glory of the day".

Many names are carried through the toils of history because of the great accomplishments of a single individual. Although not all names gain renown, it is possible for all names to achieve when possessed by the right individual. Names are, therefore, not only markers of a person's heritage, they are also vehicles of individuality and affirmations of possibility.

Other variations of this name include:German: Dagmar; Danish: Dagmar; Nordic: Dagmar; Teutonic: Dagmar, Dagna; Estonian: Daggi, Dagi, Daggey, Daggie; African: Tarana; Norweigian: Dagny, Dagnye, Dagnie, Dagney.

Those who have been given the name Dagney bear a proud and noble name distinguished throughout history.

 

==================================================

 

James First Name History

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A personal name is a marker of both individuality and heritage. As such, names are an element of central importance to one's life for they announce both 'who I am' and 'who I was'.

The English form of the Hebrew name of Jacob, meaning "being held by the heel, one who holds back another". From the Hebrew, meaning "supplanter".

A name is the focal point around which we organize our self-identity. Scientists have observed that when you hear your own name spoken, even when you are asleep, your brain waves become twice as active as when you hear someone else's name. In so many ways, we are our names.

Many names come from the origin. Other variations of this name include:English: James; Scottish: Jamie; Irish: Seumus; Spanish: Diego, Dago, Jaime; Hebrew: James; Russian: Jasha.
 

Edited by dream_weaver

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That is interesting. It's hard to imagine that she hadn't researched and was not aware of these meanings, knowing her and seeing how appropriate they are for the novel's characters.

On the downside, as a "James" my chances of aspiring to be a Randian hero appear to be lower than I thought. ;)

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It's hard to imagine that she hadn't researched and was not aware of these meanings, knowing her and seeing how appropriate they are for the novel's characters.

 

 

I find few tasks easier.  These are interesting coincidences but, without the kind of particulars #3 mentions, nothing more.  Rand's published journals show that she worked quite hard to research technical details, but they evince no interest in these questions.  (How often do people make up names or mottos that don't reflect well on themselves?)

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I did say *imagine*... :P

Part of the reason I posted the thread was to see if anyone knew why Rand chose her names. If you don't remember anything from her journals, I guess your imagination is as good as mine.

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That is interesting. It's hard to imagine that she hadn't researched and was not aware of these meanings, knowing her and seeing how appropriate they are for the novel's characters.

On the downside, as a "James" my chances of aspiring to be a Randian hero appear to be lower than I thought. ;)

On the upside, you probably recognize that the use or misuse of your cognitive faculty, not your namesake, determines your choice of values, which determine your emotions and your character, and in this sense, you are a being of self-made soul.

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