April 21, 2003 Collection of Handwritten Ayn Rand Essays Donated to Library of Congress
Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Collection of Handwritten Ayn Rand Essays Donated to Library of Congress A collection of 72 handwritten essays by novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982), a major portion of her entire nonfiction output, was recently donated to the Library by collector Stuart Rose. The papers came from the collection of Robert Hessen, who was Rand's personal secretary for many years. The collection comprises 1281 pages and includes all of the nonfiction Rand wrote between 1971 and 1974 for the "Ayn Rand Letter."
These original manuscripts are on light blue paper, with extensive corrections in red and black pen and pencil. Subjects include Watergate, the Supreme Court, economics and inflation, among other topics. The papers are an important addition to the complete manuscripts and typescripts of Rand's four novels, which her literary heir donated to the Library in 1992.
Said literary scholar Michelle Marder Kamhi, "It is good to know that these papers will be accessible to independent-minded scholars."
Various pages from "The Fountainhead" have been on display in the Library's "American Treasures" exhibition, including the first and last pages, which were turned over to the Library only last year.
Rand, a Russian emigree, fled the Soviet Union in 1926 and quickly established herself in Hollywood as a script writer. Born Alice Rosenbaum, she took her pen name from her typewriter brand and from a Finnish name she liked. Rand was an outspoken supporter of capitalism and was famous for wearing a gold brooch in the shape of a dollar sign. Her "Objectivist" philosophy championed self over group, reason over belief, and human and individual good over ideal and collective moral precepts.
Like her fiction manuscripts, Rand's nonfiction drafts will be of interest to textual scholars and researchers looking into her principles of authorship and aesthetics. The new collection of Rand papers will be available to readers in the Manuscript Reading Room once they have been processed. Readers who have an immediate need to use the collection may request access through the chief of the Manuscript Division.