To William B. Duce [Letter 406]

Item Reference Code: 147_R1x_009_001

Date(s) of creation

October 1, 1949


William B. Duce


William Duce was a tax attorney with the law firm of Rainey and Blum. 

[Page 1]
October 1, 1949

Mr. William B. Duce
Rainey and Blum
139 S. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, Calif.

Dear Mr. Duce:

In answer to your letter of September 13, here is the detailed account of my trip to New York in the year 1947.

The main purpose of my trip was certain research which I needed for my new novel. There were also a number of literary business matters which I had to handle in New York. Since I was subpoenaed to Washington [by the House Un-American Activities Committee*], I attended to all these matters in New York at the same time rather than take the time and expense of another trip East, as I would have had to do by spring of 1948.

My new novel, which I hope to complete next year, deals with heavy industry, mainly with railroads and steel. The research I needed in New York was firsthand information and background material on eastern railroads. The appointments I had in this connection were as follows:

Inspection tour of Grand Central Terminal, particularly the underground track systems, under the guidance of F. W. Bingman of N. Y. Central

Trip to Little Falls, N. Y., for the opening of the Little Falls Project (construction of new rail curve) with the executives of the N. Y. Central Railroad—and interview with A. H. Wright, then Vice President in charge of Operation

Interviews with C. R. Dugan, Manager, Public Relations, of N. Y. Central, Raymond F. Blosser, Manager, Press Bureau, Henry Doherty of Press Bureau

Showing of special educational films produced by N. Y. Central on the subjects of: railroad engines, track, signals, freight yards

[Page 2]
Mr. William B. Duce     -2-     October 1, 1949

Interview with K. A. Borntrager, Manager, Freight Transportation, N. Y. Central.

On my way from New York to Chicago, I obtained permission to ride in the cab of the train’s engine—an electric engine from New York to Harmon, then a Diesel engine from Harmon to Albany. This gave me a view of the engine ride at night—then the following morning I rode in the engine by daylight, from Elkhart, Indiana, to Chicago. The N. Y. Central sent a Road Foreman of Engines to accompany me in the cab, to answer my questions and to take me through the motor units of the Diesel while in motion.

I stopped in Chicago for an inspection tour through the mills of Inland Steel at Indiana Harbor, where I had a luncheon-interview with Mr. Fred Gillies, then General Manager, and with the head operating executives of the mills.

The other literary matters to which I attended in New York were:

Conferences with Archibald G. Ogden about the first draft of the first six chapters of my new novel which I brought for him to read. Mr. Ogden, was my editor on THE FOUNTAINHEAD, when he was editor at Bobbs-Merrill.

Conferences with my publishers, Bobbs-Merrill, about the sales of THE FOUNTAINHEAD and about my new novel.

Conferences with Alan C. Collins, of Curtis Brown, Ltd., my literary agent, about the above matters and all my current literary business.

Conferences with Ann Watkins, my former literary agent, who handles the rights to my earlier works.

Interviews with Sam Rapport of Appleton-Century, and Denver Lindley of Holt’s—both in connection with their interest in my next novel, in case I should decide to change to another publisher.

Two interviews with John Chamberlain of Life Magazine: (1) for an article on THE FOUNTAINHEAD which he was then writing, but has not yet published; (2) about an article on “Purpose and the Novel” which he commissioned me to write for a new Luce magazine then being planned.

Interview with Burt MacBride of The Reader’s Digest, in regard to an article which he wanted me to write for the Digest.

[Page 3]
Mr. William B. Duce     -3-     October 1, 1949

Interview with Kathleen Bourne of Cosmopolitan Magazine in regard to the serial rights of my new novel and to a special story which she wanted me to write for them.

Interviews with Isaac Don Levine of Plain Talk Magazine in regard to articles and the possibility of my writing a column for them.

Interviews with executives of Superfilm Distributing Corporation (representing Italian film producers) in regard to the Italian movie of my novel WE THE LIVING which was pirated by Scalera Films during the war—and a showing of the movie in their offices.

Interviews with John C. Gall, my attorney, in regard to the above matter.

Meeting of the American Writers Association Board of Directors, of which I am a member.

These were the main business matters covered in New York. There were other, lesser ones, since my chief professional interests are in the literary-publication field rather than in the movie field, and there are a great number of New York contacts which I have to keep up.

My husband accompanied me on the trip, because he acts as my editorial and research adviser on all my literary works. Since I was not born in this country, I need his assistance in all matters of authenticity of background and style of expression pertaining to the American scene.

Sincerely yours,


Ayn Rand



*For a transcript and discussion of AR’s HUAC testimony on October 20, 1947, see Ayn Rand and “Song of Russia.”