August 4, 1947
Mr. J. J. P. Oud
Dear Mr. Oud:
Thank you for your wonderful letter. I am very happy that you liked THE FOUNTAINHEAD. A reaction such as yours means a great deal to me.
When I was writing the book, I intended it to be, among other things, a tribute to the leaders of modern architecture, and it has made me very happy that the great names among modern architects have accepted it as that. I am proud to add your name to my list. Of course, the Classicists, the eclectics, and some of the mediocrities of the architectural profession have hated THE FOUNTAINHEAD and attacked it in every way they could, which was to be expected and did not do them much good.
I am particularly proud that you said “I am more than astonished to see how deeply you penetrated into the essence of architecture and architects: especially in the sense of modern architecture.” Frank Lloyd Wright said almost exactly the same thing. I suppose I was able to do it because I love and admire your profession.
No, of course I could not describe Roark’s buildings in detail. To devise the complete, specific plan and appearance of one of his buildings, I would have had to be an architectural genius myself. I would not attempt that and no writer should ever do it.
I was interested to hear the story of your encounter with a pastor about your design for a modern church.[*] My compliments to you for the
stand you took. If I had known of this story when I was writing my book, I would have probably asked your permission to use it.
I am now writing my next novel, which will have the same basic theme as THE FOUNTAINHEAD—that is, Individualism—but it will deal with industrialists, not architects. It will not be ready for publication for at least another year, but I shall be glad to send you a copy of it, as you requested, when it comes out. You asked me to tell you what you could send me in return from Holland. There is something which I would like to have very much—I would like a photograph of the building which you consider your best, autographed to me. If you can send it, it would make me very happy.
I do not know whether I will ever come to Europe, but I would like to meet you in person, if I do. In the meantime, I am enclosing a printed letter about myself, which my publishers had me write in order to answer questions about THE FOUNTAINHEAD and me. It will give you some idea of what I am like.
With my best regards to yourself and your wife,
*Oud’s story was of a pastor unable to accept the lack of “embroidery” in Oud’s design for his church. Oud asked the pastor if he were willing to die for his faith. The pastor said he was, and Oud replied he was willing to die for his design, whereupon the pastor told Oud to build the church the way he designed it.