About Ayn Rand!

About Ayn Rand

Short timeline

1869: Father, Zinovy Zacharovich Rosenbaum, born in Breslitovsk, Russia (November 18)

1880: Mother, Anna Borisovna Kaplan, born in St. Petersburg (October 15)

1904: Parents married (May 3)

1905: Born in St. Petersburg (February 2; i.e., January 20 on the Julian calendar)

1912: Family moves to an apartment on Nevsky Prospekt at Znamenskaya Square

1946: First U.S. edition of Anthem published (circa July)

1976: Publishes last article in The Ayn Rand Letter (January—February) Attends White House dinner honoring Malcolm Fraser (July 27)

1982: Writes her last page of “Atlas Shrugged” teleplay (January 1) Dies in New York City (March 6)

Early Life

After the Russian Revolution, universities were opened to women, allowing Rand to be in the first group of women to enroll at Petrograd State University, where, at the age of only 16, she began her studies in the department of social pedagogy, majoring in history. At the university she was introduced to the writings of Aristotle and Plato, who would be her greatest influence and counter-influence, respectively. A third figure whose philosophical works she studied heavily was Friedrich NietzscheAble to read French, German and Russian, Rand also discovered the writers Fyodor Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo, Edmond Rostand, and Friedrich Schiller, who became her perennial favorites.

Ayn Rand First Interview 1959 (Full)

Ayn Rand First Interview 1959 (Full)

High school

During her high school years, she was eyewitness to both the Kerensky Revolution, which she supported, and—in 1917—the Bolshevik Revolution, which she denounced from the outset. In order to escape the fighting, her family went to the Crimea, where she finished high school. The final communist victory brought the confiscation of her father’s pharmacy and periods of near-starvation. When introduced to American history in her last year of high school, she immediately took America as her model of what a nation of free men could be.

major life events

Rand's first major success as a writer came with The Fountainhead in 1943, a romantic and philosophical novel that she wrote over a period of seven years. The novel centers on an uncompromising young architect named Howard Roark and his struggle against what Rand described as "second-handers"—those who attempt to live through others, placing others above themselves. It was rejected by twelve publishers before finally being accepted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company on the insistence of editor Archibald Ogden, who threatened to quit if his employer did not publish it.

her personal philosophy


Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, begins by embracing the basic fact that existence exists. Reality is, and in the quest to live we must discover reality’s nature and learn to act successfully in it.

To exist is to be something, to possess a specific identity. This is the Law of Identity: A is A. Facts are facts, independent of any consciousness. No amount of passionate wishing, desperate longing or hopeful pleading can alter the facts. Nor will ignoring or evading the facts erase them: the facts remain, immutable.

In Rand’s philosophy, reality is not to be rewritten or escaped, but, solemnly and proudly, faced. One of her favorite sayings is Francis Bacon’s: “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

Reality — that which exists — has no alternatives, no competitors, nothing “transcending” it. To embrace existence is to reject all notions of the supernatural and the mystical, including God.


Non-fiction Books Published in Rand's Lifetime