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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1932, Ayn's writing career finally started gaining momentum with her works, "Red Pawn" and "Night of January 16th". Her first novel, "We the Living" was completed in 1934, but wasn't published until 1936.
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.
She started writing her best-known novel, "The Fountainhead" in 1935, and would be published after multiple publisher rejections, in 1943. Ayn would go on to write a screenplay based on the novel, and then work on one of her other well-known novels, "Atlas Shrugged", which focused largely on her version of Objectivism, and would be published in 1957. She would spend her life discussing, lecturing, and writing about her philosophy.
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