Ayn Rand was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter.
Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum was born 2 February 1905 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire to Zinovy Zakharovich "Fronz" Rosenbaum and Anna Borisovna nee Kaplan, one of three daughters in the Jewish household. Her father, Fronz, was a pharmacist.
Ayn was inspired to write from a young age, and was a fan of Victor Hugo.
By her high school years, living in communist Russia, she grew to abhor the system, which would later greatly inspire her writing, and joined the Kerensky Revolution. To escape the violence in the area, her family moved to Crimea, where she would finish high school. Here she was introduced to the history of the United States, which inspired her eventual departure from Russia, especially so after her family had suffered in poverty following the seizure of her father's pharmacy by the communist regime.
The family left Crimea, and Ayn went on to study and graduate from the University of Petrograd in 1924. Around this time, she adopted the name Ayn Rand.
She went on to briefly attend the State Institute for Cinema Arts, and in 1925 was granted a visa to the United States to visit relatives in Chicago, Illinois, landing first in New York. She decided then to never return to Russia.
She eventually made it to California, where she worked with Cecil B. DeMille and met her future husband, Frank O'Connor.
Ayn Rand and Charles Francis ("Frank") O'Connor were married 15 April 1929 in Los Angeles, California, United States. Frank was from Ohio, and Ayn from Russia, but both had been residing in Hollywood for around five years.
On their marriage record, Ayn's parents are listed as Fronz Rosenbaum and Anna Kaplan, and Frank's parents are listed as Dennis O'Connor and Mary Cecil. Despite multiple attempts, she was never able to help her family emigrate to the United States.
The 1930 US Census has the O'Connors living in Los Angeles, California in the Moraine Apartments, on 823 North Gower Street. They were renting the place for $52 a month. They are both listed as working as actors in motion pictures. Ayn, listed here as Alice, gives her native language as Russian.
Ayn and Frank were living in an apartment at 160 89th St, Manhattan, New York in 1940. Their rent was $105 a month. Frank is working as a theatrical actor and by this time, Ayn is calling herself a writer, both for novels and plays. Frank showed no income the previous year, while Ayn had made $3000.
Through her writing, Ayn discussed her philosophy of "Objectivism," which she referred to as "a philosophy for living on earth".
↑ 3.03.1 "United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JBWM-953 : 20 May 2014), Ayn Rand, Mar 1982; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
↑ 4.04.14.24.3 "California, County Marriages, 1850-1952," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K8NP-PP2 : 28 November 2014), Charles Francis O'Conor and Alice Rosebaum, 15 Apr 1929; citing Los Angeles, California, United States, county courthouses, California; FHL microfilm 2,074,758.
↑ 6.06.16.26.3 "United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCJY-F5H : accessed 20 January 2017), Alice O'Connor in household of Charles F O'Connor, Los Angeles (Districts 0001-0250), Los Angeles, California, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 34, sheet 11A, line 9, family 330, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 133; FHL microfilm 2,339,868.
↑ 7.07.17.27.3 "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KQTN-D6R : accessed 18 January 2017), Ayn O'Connor in household of Frank C O'Connor, Assembly District 16, Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 31-1431, sheet 4B, line 58, family 95, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2658.