• Birth name Alisa Rosenbaum “Turned twenty-one during her voyage to America, and also changed her name, in part to protect her family back in Soviet Russia. "Ayn" (rhymes with "mine") came from a Finnish author. The exact origin of her last name is uncertain; however, in 1936, she told the New York Evening Post that 'Rand is an abbreviation of my Russian surname.' An oft-repeated story claims that Ayn Rand took her last name from her Remington Rand typewriter while she was living in Chicago in 1926, but this is not true because the Remington and Rand companies did not merge until 1927; 'Rand' did not appear on their (or any) typewriters until the early 1930s. She kept her initials A.R.; explaining later "Two kinds of people keep their initials when they change their names - criminals and writers," to her protegé Nathaniel Branden (himself born Nathan Blumenthal).”
  • Ayn Rand is far snappier and not manifestly Jewish. Could be why.
  • Pretty much the same reason other people in show business and the arts have done so ... and because her family members were still locked behind the Iron Curtain. The story was she used a Remington-Rand typewriter and took the "Rand" from it. The answer above, however, discounts the typewriter story and sounds likely. (In fact, the answerer, Alatea, is obviously a bright person.) I forget where "Ayn" came from, but "Ayn Rand" allowed her to keep her own initials.

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