160 East 89th Street
New York City
November 7, 1938
Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright
Dear Mr. Wright,
It is quite likely that you do not remember my name, so may I re-introduce myself by reminding you that I am the writer who was introduced to you by Ely Jacques Kahn at the dinner of the National Association of Real Estate Boards in New York, where you were the speaker. I told you at that time about the novel on architecture which I am writing, and you were kind enough to say that you would give me an interview in New York where you expected to be in November, on your way to England.
Forgive me for taking advantage of an after-dinner introduction, I know how stupid such occasions must seem to you, only you see, it’s much more difficult for me, because I have been trying desperately for a year to get in touch with you in some way. The novel I am writing is not about you, but it is the life story of a great architect who defies all traditions. I am afraid that the public will connect your name with it, whether you and I intend it or not. That is why I am anxious to discuss it with you before publication, in order to make certain that you will not disapprove of the things I may say in it; and because I feel that you must be informed of a book that comes as close to you as this one will, I believe.
I do not seek any help from you in any literary or financial sense, nor do I want to put you to any effort or inconvenience. But I should like, most eagerly, to have one interview with you—only to tell you about it and to ask you a few questions. If your time in New York shall be too limited and you will find this impossible, I am prepared to go to Taliesin for an interview with you, at any time that you will find convenient.
I am taking the liberty of sending to you my first novel “WE THE LIVING”, which was published
two years ago, and also the first three chapters of my novel on architecture, which is contracted for and to be published by Knopf. These, I think, will be the best references that I can offer you. If you will glance through them, you will be able to decide whether I am a writer good enough to deserve any further consideration from you. I think the script of these first three chapters will give you an idea of what I am driving at in my architectural novel. If you find then that it interests you and if you see why I am anxious to speak to you—please let me know when you could give me an interview. If you do not approve at all—please let me know that, because then I’ll stop torturing myself with attempts to reach you and I will have to proceed on the novel without the thing I would like to have—your blessing on my undertaking.
Wright answered on November 18: “No man named ‘Roark’ with ‘flaming red hair’ could be a genius that could lick the contracting confraternity. Both items obtrude themselves disagreeably on the imagination, and he is not very convincing anyway. Will try to sometime see you in New York and say why if you want me to do so.”