Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum
Guest YuceMajeste

The Story Behind Ayn Rand's name change

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Guest YuceMajeste

Does anyone know the story behind Ms.Ayn Rand's changing her name?I mean, why Ayn Rand?

Regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember exactly why she changed it and how she derived the name Ayn Rand. However, I do know for a fact that it is mentioned in her video biography, Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Teresa

'Ayn Rand' is not her birth name, but it is the name she used most of her life. She adopted that name when she left the Soviet Union.

Rand's Russian birth name can be transliterated into English as 'Alisa Zinovievna Rosenbaum.' (The first name is also sometimes transliterated as 'Alissa' or 'Alyssa,' or translated into 'Alice.')

[*] In a letter to a fan, Rand wrote that "'Ayn' is both a real name and an invention. The original of it is a Finnish feminine name." This Finnish name is pronounced "I-na" and would be written as 'Aina' in English. Rand shortened this to the single syllable 'Ayn'.

[*]

How she came to choose 'Rand' as a last name is less clear, partly because of the many contradictory speculations about it:

Barbara Branden repeats a story from a cousin of Rand's, who claimed that Rand took the name from a Remington-Rand typewriter while living with relatives in Chicago in 1926. Although widely repeated, this story contains an impossible anachronism: Remington Typewriter did not merge with Rand Kardex until 1927, so Rand could not possibly have owned a "Remington-Rand" typewriter in 1926. Nor could it have been a Rand Kardex typewriter, because that company did not make typewriters. Also, evidence has been found that Rand's relatives in Russia knew of her new name prior to her arrival in the US.

[*]

Jeff Walker suggests that she chose 'Rand' because of its association with South African gold currency ('The Rand'). Like the story Branden tells, this suggestion is also an anachronism: that name for the currency was adopted years after Rand chose her new name. In 1926 the South African currency was denominated in "pounds" and "shillings." (Walker also dismisses Rand's own account of the origin of her first name as a "flimsy legend," although he provides no evidence for this claim.)

[*]

Researchers at the Ayn Rand Institute's archives have pointed out that characters from Rand's original name, when written in the Cyrillic characters used for Russian, resemble the letters of 'Rand' when it is written in English. David Hayes provides a discussion of this idea with an illustration of the characters.

This last seems the most likely explanation, because it is consistent with statements in media profiles that Rand's American name was a version of her Russian surname. Unfortunately, without some firmer confirmation, this suggestion remains somewhat speculative. It has, however, been given a tentative endorsement by the Ayn Rand Institute in its newsletter and on its website.

After her marriage, Rand also used the names "Ayn Rand O'Connor" or "Mrs. Frank O'Connor" in some settings.

[*]

Above excerpted from http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/biofaq.html#Q2.5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the typewriter story can't be true, I can believe that Rand told it to BB among others. She was solicitous of her family's political security in the USSR, and the Remington-Rand explanation would have kept people from prying further and finding out her birth name. The Cyrillic story, while probably true, would have given the secret away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Can you elaborate?

Lol...yes and no, Doug. I  can elaborate on what I know, or found out, when this theory was presented to me. I can't elaborate on its truth because the person, or persons, who presented it to me couldn't substantiate it. They claimed this was all revealed in a magazine interview of Frank O'Connor some months before he died.They never produced the article and the internet was in it's infancy when I encountered this person/persons. The access to information was a tiny fraction of what it is today.  Frank died in 1979...which predates the internet by about 12-15 years. It certainly isn't something you can Google, unless its been archived electronically in the past 20 years.

First, the acronym...AYN RAND: America You Need Reason And Not...Death...or Destruction, they weren't real clear about the D.

Before you go thinking I'm a crackpot, I dismissed this theory due to the lack of physical proof. They never produced a photocopy of the article and I stopped looking years ago. Also, the person/persons were one of many who patrolled Objectivist BBS's and forums during the mid-1990's claiming answers to questions nobody was asking...because they were crackpot questions. There was a brief attempt by a number of these actors to de-secularize Objectivism, that is, to turn it into a religion. Some of them involved extra-terrestrials, ancient scripts, etc. These people were liars claiming knowledge that they couldn't have, but a lot of young "converts" bought into them. I suspect most of these people became Scientologists, or Mormons...or something.

Anyway, I never believed it due to the lack of evidence, and because I had no background in religion or mysticism - I've never been much of a believer - taking their word on faith never entered my mind.

Liars come in two variations, I have found: those claiming knowledge that they don't have, and those claiming knowledge that they can't have.  This person/people proved to be both.

During the search for this mysterious article I learned more about Ayn's early years as a writer. I think she first wrote under the name right about the time she met Frank O'Connor. If I'm right, she probably chose the name before they met, or before they became more intimate, when she decided to write for a living. I stopped looking because the claim was that Frank helped her with the name...the acronym. I surmised that the timeline for the acronym theory was wrong and that the person/people putting forth this theory were liars claiming knowledge that they couldn't have.

Reidy is probably closer to the truth about why she chose a pseudonym to write and publish under. She still had family in Russia and she was very aware of what treatment they would receive if she published under her real name. As to why Alisa chose Ayn Rand, I don't know. It stands to reason that she chose it deliberately...but having studied her and other Objectivists over the past 30+ years, I'm not sure why it would be important to know why.

Every so often I troll Objectivist forums to see if any of the crackpots are still around. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/6/2003 at 5:39 AM, Guest Teresa said:

Researchers at the Ayn Rand Institute's archives have pointed out that characters from Rand's original name, when written in the Cyrillic characters used for Russian, resemble the letters of 'Rand' when it is written in English. David Hayes provides a discussion of this idea with an illustration of the characters.

I'm guessing this refers to cursive characters, not print ones.  Can you provide a link or other way of seeing David Hayes's illustration?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2019 at 2:02 PM, Ἀριστοτέλης said:

"Ayn Rand" doesn't represent anything that exists in the real world, it's a message Alisa wanted to get out to America...and to the world.

 

On 8/24/2019 at 4:58 PM, Ἀριστοτέλης said:

Before you go thinking I'm a crackpot, I dismissed this theory due to the lack of physical proof.

 

On 8/24/2019 at 4:58 PM, Ἀριστοτέλης said:

Every so often I troll Objectivist forums to see if any of the crackpots are still around. :)

Wow, that is an odd ritual. Why do you reveal that you're trolling? I think that defeats the purpose of pretending to be a crackpot in the first place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...