August 6, 1946
I want to ask you to do me a very big favor. As you have probably heard, it is now permitted to send food packages to Russia. I am afraid to write to my family, but would like to send them a food package in the hope that they will then write to us, if they are now permitted to send letters to America.
Because I am so well known here for my political views, I am afraid that if I send them the packages from myself, it might prove embarrassing to them; so I would like you to do it for me. I have seen a Gimbels ad from a New York paper, which lists the type of parcel that Gimbels undertake to deliver to Russia. What I would like you to do is as follows: please order two parcels, listed as #126 at Gimbels. They are supposed to contain the following: 1½ pounds roast beef, 1½ pounds bacon, pound rice, pound roasted coffee, ½ pound cheese, ½ pound tea, ½ pound powdered milk, 2 tins sardines (3¼ ounces each), 2 tins powdered whole eggs (equivalent one dozen), 3 packages dehydrated soup, 2 bars of soap (5 ounces each bar).
I am enclosing a check for $20 to cover the expense. (Gimbels list the packages at $8.13 each) Have them send one package to my sister, Nora, and the other one to our cousin, Nina. I enclose their addresses on a separate page. If they have moved, I hope one or the other of the two packages will reach one of the two families, and they will probably communicate with each other.
PLEASE PUT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON THE PACKAGES, AS THAT OF THE SENDER, AND DO NOT MENTION MY NAME TO ANYONE ANYWHERE IN CONNECTION WITH THESE PACKAGES. I want them to come from you as the sender. Do not give my check to Gimbels, cash it yourself at your own bank.
If it is possible, ask Gimbels to send you back a receipt personally signed by the persons to whom the packages are sent. This is most important if it is possible. If there is any extra charge for such a service, please pay it. If Gimbels cannot get a personal receipt, but have to deliver the packages to the Russian postal authorities, send them anyway, and we’ll hope that we’ll get a personal letter from one of the girls or both.
I do not know the address of your family, but I suppose that you have already sent something to them. If you haven’t, and would like to, let me know, and I will be glad to pay the cost of another package.
I am told that mail is now allowed to come through from Russia, but you can understand why I am afraid to write to them. If you have written to your family and heard any news, please let me know.
Please keep this confidential between just the two of us, and burn this letter after you are through with it. If you write to your family, DON’T REFER TO ME AT ALL EXCEPT to say (if you wish) that you have seen cousin Alice, and that she is well. Above all don’t tell them anything about my success as a writer, don’t refer to my writing career, don’t mention where I live, and don’t ever use the name Ayn Rand.
If you receive a letter from Nora or Nina in answer to the packages, please send it to me air mail registered. Don’t answer them until you have heard from me. My hope is that if they write you, you will write to them, and I will send you a note from me to put in your letter, so that they will hear from me, but I won’t have to give my name or address.
I think this would be the safest plan to communicate with them without causing them any embarrassment. But if for any reason you find that you cannot do it, let me know, and I will try to arrange something else.
Please write to me as soon as you can, and tell me what you hear from Gimbels about the situation and about the chances of the package being received. Ask them for any information that they can give you.
If you can help with this, I would appreciate it very, very much.
Love from both of us,