To Ross Baker [Letter 182]

Item Reference Code: 092_08x_005_001

Date(s) of creation

December 2, 1945


Ross Baker


[Page 1]
10,000 Tampa Avenue
Chatsworth, California

December 2, 1945

Mr. Ross G. Baker
The Bobbs-Merrill Company
468 Fourth Avenue
New York City

Dear Ross:

When you write me a letter containing a sentence such as “and further paper has been ordered beyond the 90,000 planned for,” you may be sure that I’ll be a good girl and that everything’s right with the world for me.

So look at the enclosed pamphlet. I’ve accepted all the cuts you made and have even made a few more for you. I see by the cuts that you didn’t want the pamphlet to be more political than the book itself. You’re right—though not for the reasons you mention in your letter. I’ve made some more cuts because some of the things you left in lost all punch out of the full context. So they’re better out entirely.

On page 3—please give Roark’s lines in full. It’s my favorite passage in the book.[*] Since I’ve made other cuts, this won’t take too much space.

Page 4—the reader’s statement must be given here, in order that my answer make sense. Are you afraid it sounds like adverse criticism? I’m not.

Page 6—“Not by the public as an organized collective”—that, you must let me say. First, in justice to our readers. Second, if I don’t make the distinction clear, every pink punk will be justified in yelping: Look, the collective made you successful!

In regard to the facsimile of my signature—you’re right.  Omit it.

You must have forgotten, since we spoke over the telephone, that you did not say you wanted 1500 words. You said 2500. You might remember that I gasped slightly and said: “That much?” And you said: “Well, we might cut it later.” I don’t mind having it shorter now—I even think it’s better—but please don’t think I got carried away by the sheer pleasure of talking about myself. It would have saved me a lot of work if I’d known that 1500 words would do.

[Page 2]

Please don’t make other changes without letting me know. If this version is all right with you—please send me a proof of it before the final printing.

Thank you for the ad in Publishers’ Weekly. It’s very good. When you run the big ad you mentioned in the N. Y. Times, please send me a copy, too. I mean, after the fact, if you don’t have time to do it before. As a suggestion, do include something in that ad that would indicate something of the nature of the book and make it interesting or exciting; I do think it would help. I hope, when you get the space, that you will run some individual ads for the book. It’s earned them, hasn’t it?

Would you send me—this is just personal curiosity, not business—a copy of that fancy Literary Guild ad which you showed me in your file? I didn’t have a chance to read it—and the memory of it sort of haunts me.

Wait till you see the Kings Features condensation with the drawings. I’ve seen the advance proofs of the first week. It’s excellent. They’ll start running it in the papers on December 24th. Nice Christmas present for us.

I am, of course, extremely glad that you are now getting the paper for more books beyond the 90,000 copies. It is not too soon. I am counting on you to see, well in advance, that no breaks in the supply of books occur again. Los Angeles was completely out of books for three to four weeks—while the demand was growing. It was horrible. The shipments didn’t arrive here until last week, November 23 to be exact. So you see why I was and am so concerned. Even though you’ve done your best to get the books out early in November, we still lost the month of November—due to the shipping time involved. PLEASE do not let this happen again. Please plan your printings enough in advance to allow for shipping and delivery.

In fairness to you I must say that I am very happy about the situation of the book now, when it’s in print, and I am counting on you not to let me down. Thank you for the 90,000+, (and I hope many more +’s).

With my best regards,



Ayn Rand


*The passage in Roark’s speech to which AR is referring: “I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.”