The Objectivist Family Tree


Kat

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I think it would be an interesting project to create an org/timeline chart of the Objectivist movement starting with Ayn Rand and the collective. I'd like to show the relationships between the people who have been involved in the movement and their relationships to others in the movement. I need some help with the research for this from all of you who can give me the who's who in Objectivism.

I'll start...Ayn Rand meets Nathaniel who introduces Barbara. Nathaniel brings in his cousin Allen Blumenthal and Barbara brings in her cousin, Leonard Peikoff. And so on.

Here's more (from an article by Murray Rothbard)

... relatives of either Nathan or Barbara Branden. There was, for example, Nathan’s sister Elaine Kalberman; his brother-in-law, Harry Kalberman; his first cousin, Dr. Allan Blumenthal, who assumed the mantle of leading Objectivist Psychotherapist after Branden’s expulsion; Barbara’s first cousin, Leonard Piekoff; and Joan Mitchell, wife of Allan Blumenthal. Alan Greenspan’s familial relation was more tenuous, being the former husband of Joan Mitchell. The only non-relative in the class of '43 was Mary Ann Rukovina, who made the top rank after being the college roommate of Joan Mitchell.

Small world isn't it... It would be interesting to see how it goes from there to where Objectivism is today.

Any takers?

Kat the chartmonkey

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I think John Hospers, former chair of the philosophy department of USC and writer of excellent textbooks which quote Rand a lot, did much to further Rand's career. He may not have been part of the inner circle, but he was a friend of Rand's and spoke and corresponded with her until a disagreement with her on egoism got him into trouble.

Another USC professor, from the school of education, William F. O'Neill, wrote a critical analysis of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and this actually honored her by making her important enough to criticize. Many professors were trying not to even mention her.

Now, of course, there are several PhD's who have written about her, to include David Kelly. I've seen a list which didn't include the two names above, so I thought I'd mention them here. I'm sure others here can add the other names.

bis bald,

Nick

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Let me see if I can supply some information. Charles Sures who was an attorney in Washington DC attended NBI lectures in NYC and met Miss Rand. Miss Rand introduced to Charles to Mary Ann Sures.(Rukavina) Mary Ann and Charles were married on Jan 16, 1963. Charles was NBI rep in DC. In 1966 when I took Basic Charles had an assistant Dr. Edwin Locke. Dr Locke later became NBI rep in DC. Dr Locke is regular lecturer at ARI events. Dr Blumenthal's practice became very large and he recommend two other pyschrists Dr Richard Nickerson and Dr Lonnie Leonard. Dr Nickerson had to close his practice because he was using Primal Scream techniques and was attacked by prominent Objectivists causing him to lose his patients. Dr Leonard had to give up his practice because he was sexually abusing some of his female patients. This is outlined in the book Terapist. Dr Locke started a pratice in the DC area. Dr Edith Packer who later married George Riesman had a practice also. Riesman was a friend of Murry Rothbard and Robert Hessen. Rothbard may have introduced Riesman and Hessen to Ayn Rand. If I think of other items I will record them. People who are interested in my sources may contact me at my e-mail address.

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Kat, you asked for a presentation of the relationships among early Objectivists. Here it is, as best I can reconstruct it off the top of my head.

Los Angeles, 1950-51:

Ayn Rand & Frank O’Connor meet Nathan Blumenthal (later Nathaniel Branden), who is studying psychology at UCLA,

Nathaniel introduces Barbara Weidman, (later Barbara Branden), whom he had met when he spent a year in Winnipeg and who is studying philosophy at UCLA.

Barbara introduces Joan Mitchell, her closest friend, also from Winnipeg, with whom Barbara was living while they both attended UCLA; Joan was an art student.

Barbara introduces Leonard Peikoff, her cousin and a pre-med student in Winnipeg, to whom she had given a copy of The Fountainhead and who was visiting her in Los Angeles. (I’m aware that this is not quite the story Peikoff tells, but it is the fact.)

Nathaniel introduces Elayne Blumenthal, his sister, a surgical nurse living in Los Angeles..

New York: from 1951-57:

Joan Mitchell and later Leonard Peikoff move to New York to attend school. Elayne Blumenthal also moves ro New York to continue her work.

Nathaniel and Barbara introduce economist Alan Greenspan, boy friend and later husband of Joan Mitchell.

Elayne introduces businessman Harry Kalberman, later her husband. (Barbara and Joan had met Harry in Los Angeles, where they had many political discussions; in New York, Joan introduced Elayne and Harry.)

Nathaniel introduces medical student Allan Blumenthal, his cousin, later to marry Joan Mitchell.

Joan introduces Mary Ann Rukavina, whom she had met in her classes in art history.

These people – Ayn and Frank, Nathaniel and Barbara, Joan and Allan B, Alan Greenspan, Elayne and Harry, Mary Ann Rukavina, and Leonard -- constitute what Nathaniel jokingly named “The Collective,” and whom Rand often referred to as “the class of ’43,” meaning that they had met her as a result of reading The Fountainhead. And only they were allowed to read Atlas in manuscript.

From this period on, most of the people with whom the Collective became friendly became interested in Rand’s ideas after and because of the publication of Atlas Shrugged.

A very small sample of such people includes:

John Hospers, professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College, met Rand when she gave a speech there.

Edith Efron, a journalist working for Mike Wallace on his television show, met Rand while doing research on her for an upcoming show on which Rand was to appear.

George Reisman and Robert Hessen were introduced to Rand by their friend Murray Rothbard, who met Rand as a result of a fan letter he wrote to her after the publication of Atlas. When Rand broke with Rothbard – who was never a close friend despite his allegations to the contrary, but whom Rand met with only a handful of times – they chose to remain with Rand rather than Rothbard. George was to meet his wife, Edith Packer, through NBI, where she was a student; and Robert met Bee, his first wife (since deceased) in the same way.

Robert Efron, Edith’s brother, a scientist, met Rand through Edith.

Attorneys Henry and Erika Holzer met Rand through an introduction by Henry Hazlitt.

Attorney Charles Sures met Rand through Mary Ann, who had been introduced to him by Barbara. Mary Ann and Charles were later married.

Wilfred Schwartz, a businessman and close friend of Barbara’s from Winnipeg, was introduced by Barbara when he moved to New York.

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Kat, you quote Rothbard’s statement that Mary Ann was the college roommate of Joan Blumenthal. This is incorrect. They were friends, but not roommates.

Nick, you wrote that Rand broke with John Hospers over a disagreement on egoism. No, it was because of what she interpreted as public criticisms of her theory of esthetics, which she presented in a speech on which he had been asked to comment.

Chris, in the years up to and including 1968, Rand did not know

Ed Locke. Nor did she know Ralph Nickerson or Lonnie Leonard in those years nor, to the best of my knowledge, afterward.

I grant that the relationship and inter-relationships of these people can be confusing, and I don’t doubt that I’ve omitted some of them.

If you wish, please ask me about anyone else’s relationship with Rand and/or other members of the Collective that interest you.

Barbara

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Barbara; Thanks for all your information. One correction the name is Richard Nickerson. I was also given the impression that Dr. Nickerson's wife may have taken one of Ayn Rand's writing courses. I sorry to say I don't know her maiden or first name. I was also told that following the NBI tour to Europe in 1967 Mary Ann Sures and Dr. Locke visited the O'Connor's apartment suggesting that Miss Rand had met Dr. Locke. Some of my information is second hand in that it comes from patients of Dr. Nickerson who lived in DC and were friends of mine. Thank you again for all your information What about Alan Gotthaulf? I hope I spelled the name right.

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Barbara, in the 1951-57 section, what was the year you and NB moved to New York, and when did AR follow?

Re:

Nathaniel and Barbara introduce economist Alan Greenspan, boy friend and later husband of Joan Mitchell.

Where and when did NB and BB introduce AG to AR? Did one or the other or both meet Alan Greenspan at NYU?

And about that marriage between Joan and AG, I've always heard -- and I think I've also read, maybe in PAR -- that the marriage was annulled. Is this correct? (Of course I'd love to know further details if you have time to say, on-list or off-.)

Rand did not know [...] Ralph Nickerson or Lonnie Leonard in ["the years up to and including 1968"] nor, to the best of my knowledge, afterward.

Lonnie only arrived in NYC circa '68-'69. (I don't know anything about Nickerson.)

When did lectures start being given? My understanding is that Nathaniel started with a small group of contacts from NYU whom he gave an introductory course to at his and your, or at AR's, apartment. I believe that Reisman, Hessen, Burt Trick (sp?) and Ralph Epstien (a friend of Reisman's) were attending (and maybe others). Is this right?

And what's become of the Kalbermans? (I liked both of them a lot.) Is one or the other, or are both still alive?

Ellen

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Sorry, Chris, yes, it’s RICHARD Nickerson; I do remember him from when he was taking courses at Nathaniel Branden Institute. I’m struggling to recall the name of his wife, which I did know, but it’s gone for the moment.

It’s possible that Ed Locke did meet Rand, as you suggested. I should have said that she didn’t KNOW him, that he wasn’t a friend at least during the years of my friendship with Rand. Of course, she met many of NBI’s students at the many lectures she attended. And there was what we called “The Junior Collective,” a group of younger students who stood out as especially active and intelligent young people; some of them were occasionally invited to our get-togethers.

Allan Gotthelf was an NBI student. That’s about all I knew about him. except that he was an usher at one of our courses. We operated on the barter system; that is, one could be an usher, a ticket-taker, etc., at a lecture series in return for attending.

Ellen, you asked when Nathaniel and I moved to New York and when Rand followed. Nathaniel and I left Los Angeles in the early summer of 1951. Nathaniel spent the summer in Toronto, I, in Winnipeg, and we moved to New York in September to attend NYU. I believe it was in late October, possibly November, of that year that Ayn and Frank followed us to New York.

No, we did not meet Alan Greenspan at NYU. It was in 1952, not long before their marriage, that Joan introduced Nathaniel and me to Alan Greenspan. We liked him, and Nathaniel thought Rand would find him interesting and so we brought him to her apartment one evening.

You wrote: “And about that marriage between Joan and AG, I've always heard -- and I think I've also read, maybe in PAR -- that the marriage was annulled.” Yes, it was, after about a year. An annullment made it possible to avoid the horrible divorce laws of the time, under which one had to prove adultery, complete with motel rooms, private detectives, and photographs.

You asked: “When did lectures start being given? My understanding is that Nathaniel started with a small group of contacts from NYU whom he gave an introductory course to at his and your, or at AR's, apartment.”

The first course, a series of twenty lectures entitled “Basic Principles of Objectivism,” was created and presented by Nathaniel in a small hotel room, to twenty-eight students, in January of 1958, a few months after the publication of Atlas. Rand was already receiving an incredible amount of fan mail, and we had announced the upcoming course to people in the New York area whose letters were particularly interesting and intelligent. After this first course, we began advertising the lectures and I soon began preparing my course on “Principles of Efficient Thinking,” Within the next few years, as students began asking for courses on still other aspects of Objectivism, NBI arranged for members of the Collective to join the Institute as associate lecturers. Alan Greenspan began presenting a course on “The Economics of a Free Society – Leonard Peikoff offered “A Critical History of Philosophy – Mary Ann Rukavina gave a series on “The Esthetics of the Visual Arts” – and Nathaniel added new courses on “Basic Principles of Objectivist Psychology” and “A Critical Analysis of Contemporary Psychology.” As time passed, still other courses were added.

You said:” I believe that Reisman, Hessen, Burt Trick (sp?) and Ralph Epstien (a friend of Reisman's) were attending (and maybe others). Is this right?”

Yes, George Reisman, Robert Hessen – and Murray Rothbard – did attend the first lecture course. I don’t recognize the other two names.

The Kalbermans moved to Florida sometime in the 90’s, when Harry retired. Sadly,he later died. Elayne still lives there.

Barbara

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Dragonfly your spelling is correct. I met Ralph Epstein in DC when he was an MD at National Institutes of Health. He was at NIH in lieu of being in the military because of the draft. He was the only president of the DC Ayn Rand Society which broke up because of the Split. He once told some of us that in the first Basic lecture series that you had to attend every lecture because the location was changed. Barbara, I have read your story about the Polaris submarine and I suspect that there was a fair number of military types attending NBI courses. Is this true? Kat thanks again for this thread.

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Wow, thank you everyone for your input on this!

In the early years it looks like we have three distinctive groups:

- the class of '43

- the junior collective

- visitors (such as Murray Rothbard)

I will code these by color, of course. I can see this becoming a visual history of Objectivism. Very cool.

Thanks again!

Kat

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Shouldn't that be "Ralph Epstein"?

Yes. There are such occurrences as typos.

Ralph had moved back to NYC by the early '70s, which is when Larry and I met him. He became a good friend of ours. In addition to being a participant in that first "Basic Principles" course, he was also one of the two (non-psychiatrist) medical doctors who attended the course for people professionally interested in psychology given by Allan Blumenthal in late '70 - '71. (Edie Langer, who for a time was married to Lonnie Leonard, was the other.)

Ellen

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I think it would be an interesting project to create an org/timeline chart of the Objectivist movement starting with Ayn Rand and the collective.

If you start then, that would leave out somebody like Isabel Paterson, though, wouldn't it? Maybe she belongs, maybe she doesn't, (I'll leave that to wiser heads than mine) but I'm a bit surprised nobody else even seems to think her worthy of consideration for inclusion.

Patrick

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Kat Thanks again for the tread. When did Harry'the enforcer' Schwartz come on the scene. Barbara; one of the things is that you and Nathan are being airbrushed out by the ARI crowd. This was done in Ayn Rand A Sense of Life as we know.

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If you start then, that would leave out somebody like Isabel Paterson, though, wouldn't it? Maybe she belongs, maybe she doesn't, (I'll leave that to wiser heads than mine) but I'm a bit surprised nobody else even seems to think her worthy of consideration for inclusion.

I think what Kat is going after doesn't pertain to influences on Rand. Isabel Paterson was an important influence.

Kat's talking about the line of descent of the specifically Objectivist movement, that is, the movement developing from Rand's particular ideas.

Ellen

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When did Harry'the enforcer' Schwartz come on the scene.

It's Harry Binswanger and Peter Schwartz, two people.

Harry was already an usher at NBI, and already having that snooty attitude at latest by the mid-60s.

As it happens, last night -- or precisely during the early hours of the morning, over dinner in a local all-night diner -- my husband and I had a long reminiscence conversation about NBI days and related memories. I was amused upon coming home and checking this list to see the thread Kat had started.

Larry learned of Ayn Rand in fall of '64, read Who Is Ayn Rand?, then all her novels, then started on the non-fiction and began enrolling in NBI courses, some of which, such as the Basic Principles course, he attended several times. (He was living in Manhattan in those years, working at the American Institute of Physics.)

He says Harry was always like that, from the time he first encountered Harry. One group of our Objectivist friends (this was after I'd moved to New York) took to referring to Harry as "the Storm Trooper of Objectivism."

I'm not sure, though, just how early Harry enlisted, as it were. Barbara, does he go all the way back to the first course? Or to one of the earliest ones? And I don't know when Peter Schwartz converted to Objectivism (I've heard tell -- do you know, Barbara, if this is accurate or if it's "O'ist urban legend"? -- that he was formerly an orthodox rabi). Whenever Peter came along, Harry and Peter saw each other as kindred spirits.

Ellen

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Ellen: "I'm not sure, though, just how early Harry enlisted, as it were. Barbara, does he go all the way back to the first course? Or to one of the earliest ones? And I don't know when Peter Schwartz converted to Objectivism (I've heard tell -- do you know, Barbara, if this is accurate or if it's "O'ist urban legend"? -- that he was formerly an orthodox rabi)."

I don't recall exactly when Binswanger first began taking NBI courses, but it was sometime in the early sixties. He didn't take the first course. As for Schwartz, I've never met him, so I don't believe he ever took NBI courses, at least not in New York.

I've heard that Schwartz once was a rabbinical student, but I don't know if he ever officially became a rabbi, orthodox or otherwise. However, he did of course become an orthodox Objectivist.

Barbara

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Ellen; I encountered Harry a few times when I attended NBI lectures in NYC. This was the spring of 1966. I was at a Navy Hospital in Philadelphia waiting to get out of the Navy. I was at one lecture where Nataniel called on Mr Binswanger to see he and Miss Rand after class. I had the feeling he was being chewed out. I still don't recall hearing about Peter Schwartz until the late 70ths. While Duncan Scott is interviewing big names in Objectivism I'm hoping that students will share their memories of NBI.

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Chris: "Barbara; one of the things is that you and Nathan are being airbrushed out by the ARI crowd. This was done in Ayn Rand A Sense of Life as we know."

Have you seen Michael Kelly's article on this airbrushing on Objectivist Living? I had known it was being done, but until Michael researched it, I hadn't known the shocking extent of it. I wonder what happened to the virtues of justice and honesty. Not to mention simple decency.

Barbara

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Chris G,

I don't know whether Edwin Locke was ever in private practice as a clinician.

He is best known for his work as an academic researcher in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. He taught for years at the University of Maryland, and is now a professor emeritus.

Locke was recently honored by the American Psychological Society for his work. See Adam Reed's note at

http://www.solopassion.com/node/900

Robert Campbell

PS. The last time I taught graduate History of Psychology one of my students did her presentation on Locke and his work on goal-setting theory. I asked her afterwards if any of the articles she had read (either by Locke or by others) mentioned Locke's connection with Ayn Rand. She had been quite thorough but hadn't come across any references to Rand or Objectivism. Another indication that Rand is normally not on the radar screen in psychology...

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This is some really good info. There are a couple of connections I am unsure of.

Was Charles Sures part of the original collective or was it only Mary Ann?

Was the Atlas Shrugged gang the same as the junior collective and if not, who comprised the junior collective? It sounds like there was a group that came in as a result of reading Atlas and another group that came in through NBI, but I'm guessing.

How did Murray Rothbard become involved? David Kelley? Others?

Who came in through NBI's lectures and classes as opposed to being brought in by others in the inner circle?

Oh, and I almost forgot the most important question of all...

"Who is John Galt?!?" :D

Thanks again!

Kat

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I don't know whether Edwin Locke was ever in private practice as a clinician.

He was among those taking Allan Blumenthal's '70-'71 course for persons with professional interest in psychology. He was already teaching and I think with some published work to his credit by then. I overheard a couple of exchanged remarks between Edith Packer and Allan saying that they thought Ed was "ready," that is, to see clients. And I think Edith did refer a few clients to him. But I am not sure of that. I doubt that he did much in the way of private practice if he started doing it at all. Where would he have gotten the time around his academic workload?

Ellen

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I was one of Dr. Locke's patients. I saw him as a patient from 1973- 1975. I would rather not discuss anymore about my years as a patient. Many of us in DC Objectivist's circles did not know the full extent of Dr. Locke's work in psycholgy. A correction Charles and Mary Anne Sures were married in 1965 not 1963. One person who took NBI courses was Martin Anderson who had written The Federal Bulldozer. He later worked for Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

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