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363 For many years, scholars have sought to understand Ayn Rand’s early education in an attempt to identify possible influences on her intellectual development. Regrettably, very little information has been available on one important phase of that education: her studies at the University of Leningrad in the years 1921 to 1924. Having recovered Rand’s college transcript, I am now in a position to shed greater light on this subject.1 I have investigated the nature and significance of the courses that it lists, and the orientation of the professors who probably taught those courses. This essay provides a brief discussion of the transcript’s contents and concludes with some reflections on one important pattern that I see in Rand’s studies. The official transcript copy is signed by the Director of the Central State Archive of St. Petersburg, T. Z. Zernova (30 October 1998).2 The transcript reports that Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, born in 1905, entered the ­ university on 2 October 1921 and graduated from the Social Pedagogical Division of the Faculty (or College) of the Social Sciences of Leningrad State University. This three-year course of the obshchestvenno-­ pedagogicheskoe otdelenie (Department of Social Pedagogy) was part of the new social science curriculum at the university, which had united the ­ existing schools of history, philology, and law. The integration of the­ historical and philosophical disciplines sought to prepare students for­ careers as social science educators. The transcript confirms all of those facts that I had previously uncovered in the official Rosenbaum dossier, dated 6 August 1992, as part of my research for Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical (1995a). It also provides an additional piece of information: that Rosenbaum received her Certificate of Graduation (Diploma No. 1552) on 13 October 1924. Most importantly, it tells us that during her period of study, Rosenbaum passed—or “received credit for” or “fulfilled the requirements of”—twenty-six courses. These are important qualifications, for no grades are recorded therein. Rand’s claim to Barbara Branden (1986, 54) that she had “graduated from the university appendix i the rand transcript (1999) This essay first appeared in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 1, no. 1 (1999): 1–26. 364 ayn rand with the highest honors” remains unconfirmed. In fact, during this period, Rand may have done well on her exams, but academic performance was assessed simply as pass or fail, with a “retake” option for those students who received failing grades (Konecny 1994, 201). As I indicate in my Liberty article (Sciabarra 1999b) detailing the relentless search for the Rosenbaum transcript, it was the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) that first discovered the document. When I had been in negotiations with the ARI to secure a copy of the transcript—a negotiation that eventually failed—its officials had noted that the signatures on the transcript were illegible. That fact was confirmed by the university archivists, who were unable to decipher any of the signatures on the document. However , the ARI officials had insisted that they could not detect the signature of Nicholas Onufrievich Lossky. Its presence, they believed, would have­ confirmed, once and for all, that he was, indeed, one of Rand’s teachers—a question raised by my own work in Russian Radical. At the time, neither I nor the ARI officials were aware that the signatures next to each listed course were not necessarily or ordinarily those of the teacher. In most, if not all, cases, the signatures were of the rector, or the vice-rector, or the dean of the social sciences, or the department chair. (During the period in question, the school moved to unite the social sciences and the humanities.3 Prior to 1922, the rector was V. M. Shimkevich, while the dean of the social sciences was N. S. Derzhavin. There were many other officials who would have acted as official signatories on the document.) Given this fact, even legible signatures, analyzed by handwriting experts, would not necessarily yield more information on the specific teacher of each course. Nevertheless, a more detailed examination of the university archives might reveal additional information both about the courses offered and the professors who taught them. That investigation awaits the attention of future scholars. At this stage of our inquiry, we can identify the following twenty-six courses, listed chronologically, and taken by Rand between the Fall of 1921 and the Spring of 1924:4 1. General Theory of the State and the State Structure in the RSFSR­ (Russian Soviet Federated Socialist...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780271061214
Related ISBN
9780271062273
MARC Record
OCLC
860712160
Pages
496
Launched on MUSE
2013-11-04
Language
English
Open Access
No
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