David_Hayes

That disproven story of the Remington Rand typewriter

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As Objectivists, most of the readership of this Forum should have come across several factually-based reports which tell what can be known with certainty of how Ayn Rand came to have that name (changing it from her birth name of Alissa Rosenbaum), reports which debunk the story of her having choosen her new surname from a Remington Rand typewriter. Still, the false story has turned up repeatedly in profiles of Ayn Rand, even after the published stories had made available the facts that make it clear to any researcher that the name-by-typewriter theory couldn't possibly be true.

With that being the case, I have created a new web page which places at one convenient URL a documentation-filled (and illustration-filled) resource which should convince all but the most impossible-to-educate proponents of the name-by-typewriter theory. My page is Did a Remington Rand typewriter give Ayn Rand her name? Please be my guest in linking it on any web pages or in any message exchanges where you think it will reach people who would appreciate the facts -- or reach people who won't appreciate the facts but need to doubt what they thought they knew.

--

David Hayes

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Thanks, David. I haven't had to deal with that issue in awhile, but it's a well-written, interesting account.

Now, if she'd chosen Ayn Corona, that would have been a different story.

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Still, the false story has turned up repeatedly in profiles of Ayn Rand, even after the published stories had made available the facts that make it clear to any researcher that the name-by-typewriter theory couldn't possibly be true.

And that's not the only false story about Ayn Rand that is still being circulated.

As Winston Churchill observed "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

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Thanks for your well-researched essay! The subject might appear relatively trivial to some, but I recommend Mr. Hayes' essay to everyone, since it makes some revealing points about alleged scholars who don't bother to check their facts:

... persons not affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute who complain that they do not receive the respect sometimes accorded to scholars who are affiliated with ARI. Such authors who complain might turn their heads to look into mirrors long enough to notice that they haven’t accorded ARI scholars even the modicum of attention it would take to look at their work long enough to spot corrections to errors that pop into their own work.

One of these self-styled "scholars" also claims in her book that the 1914 story I translated, La vallee mysterieuse, was written by a writer born in 1936. Even a glance at the title page of my book (The Mysterious Valley, Atlantean Press, 1994) would have disabused her of this careless error.

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Strange how this story keeps turning up like a bad penny.

But, having read that Rand chose her new name before leaving Russia, I wonder if she'd come across that name and liked the sound of it, just as she later came across "Ayn" and liked the sound of that. Is there documentation from her for the alternative theory that "Rand" was a play on the Cyrillic letters in "Rosenbaum?"

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