To Carolyn Riley [Letter 539]

Item Reference Code: 002_05C_006_001

Date(s) of creation

February 26, 1966


Carolyn Riley


[Page 1]
February 26, 1966

Mrs. Carolyn Riley
Assistant Editor
Gale Research Company
The Book Tower, 22nd Floor
Detroit 26, Michigan

Dear Mrs. Riley:

This is in reply to your letter of February 17, 1966.

In consideration of your promise, as stated in your letter, I have corrected the biographical sketch you sent me, and am enclosing the corrected copy. I am also enclosing a biographical summary.

I must explain that I do not give out my maiden name nor the names of my parents, in order not to endanger any relatives I might still have in Russia. Also, I cannot give out my home address, because I must protect my privacy from strangers—“fans” and otherwise.

You asked me for comments on the sketch. I assume that you are acting in good faith, but I must say that I am at a loss to explain the motives of your researcher. He, or she, has apparently failed to read anything I have written, and has relied on press interviews for his summary of my ideas—interviews over whose accuracy I had no control—which is not the place to look for philosophical definitions.

Since, presumably, biographical sketches are intended to be and purport to be objective, I am puzzled by what seems to come close to deliberate malice in the researcher’s selection of reviews: he has selected the kind of smears which no civilized publication should care to repeat and which include the opinions of two men who, selfadmittedly, have not read my works. On the other hand, he has omitted any mention of favorable reviews, even though they appeared in such prominent publications as The New York Sunday Times Book Review (review of The Fountainhead) and Newsweek (review of Atlas Shrugged).

Personally, I prefer to omit reviews altogether from any biographical sketch of me—for the following reasons: a. I do not care to give free commercials to my enemies, nor to let them ride on my reputation; b. I do not regard smears and misrepresentations as a mere difference of opinion; c. I do not care to have the public value of my name be used as a means for the further spread of mud-slinging. Therefore, to avoid so-called one-sidedness, I am willing to forego quotations from favorable reviews as well.

[Page 2]
Mrs. Carolyn Riley     – 2 –     February 26, 1966

Since the corrected copy of the sketch is quite messy typographically, please send me a clean copy of your final version or, preferably, a copy of the galleys—in order to avoid the danger of serious errors.

If you have further questions, please telephone me at MU 5-4843. (This is an unlisted number; please keep it confidential.)

Sincerely yours,


Ayn Rand

Encl. (2)