To Robert Fuoss, executive editor at the Saturday Evening Post [Letter 477]

Item Reference Code: 045_09x_003_001

Date(s) of creation

August 4, 1961


Robert Fuoss


[Page 1]
36 East 36th Street
New York 16, N.Y.
August 4, 1961

Mr. Robert Fuoss
Executive Editor
The Saturday Evening Post
Curtis Publishing Company
Independence Square
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Dear Mr. Fuoss:

The writing of this letter is a most painful experience, however the facts set forth below will demonstrate why I feel it is necessary to write you directly concerning an article that Mr. John Kobler is preparing for future publication in The Saturday Evening Post. 

Several months ago Mr. Kobler telephoned me and requested an interview for the article which he explained was to deal with me and the growing public influence of my philosophy, or the Objectivist movement. He assured me that the article would be objective, factual and reportorial, after I pointed out that I had no desire to cooperate in an undertaking which might result in a personal attack on me or a misrepresentation of my philosophy. He further agreed, as a condition for my cooperation, that he would submit to me all passages in the article dealing with my philosophy and would correct any inaccuracies. I in turn agreed that he need not show me passages dealing with his personal views or opinion.

Subsequently I met Mr. Kobler for the first time on June 13, 1961 at a lecture given by Mr. Nathaniel Branden, who is a psychologist and head of Nathaniel Branden Lectures (NBL), an organization that gives lecture courses on my philosophy in New York, Philadelphia and other major cities. After the lecture Mr. Branden, myself and others conferred with Mr. Kobler and set up the procedure under which we would cooperate with him.

Mr. Kobler agreed without reservation to all of the following:

  1. that his article would be objective, factual and reportorial;
  2. that the article would be serious, particularly in his treatment of my philosophy;
  3. that all passages of his article dealing with my philosophy, quotations from my works and/or summaries of my ideas, and all statements attributed to me and

[Page 2]
Mr. Robert Fuoss
August 4, 1961
Page 2

placed in quotes would be shown to me, including their relevant context, and that he would accept such corrections as I found necessary to assure accuracy;

  1. that he would show me on the same conditions, all passages dealing with facts and factual information about me;
  2. that he would show to Mr. Branden, for the same purpose and on the same conditions all passages of the article dealing with his ideas, quotations from his lectures, statements attributed to him and facts and factual information about him and NBL;
  3. that if he used quotations from reviews of my books, he would balance a quotation from an unfavorable review with another from a favorable one;
  4. that he need not show us such passages of his article dealing with his own personal opinions or comments on factual material, since he had assured us he was capable of separating opinions from facts.

Based on the foregoing understanding and agreement, and based on the standing and reputation of The Saturday Evening Post, Mr. Kobler was granted lengthy interviews by me at my home on June 14, June 15 and June 22. During this period he also interviewed Mr. Branden and his wife at their office.

Last week, Mr. Kobler telephoned me, stated that he had finished his article and made an appointment to see me on Monday, August 1, at my home.

During the entire course of the meeting on that date, which lasted from 1:30 P.M. until 7:30 A.M. of the morning of August 2, my husband was present and can substantiate all that follows.

Mr. Kobler, at first, made the corrections that I suggested, however as we progressed he became antagonistic, offensive, belligerent and finally abusive. Several times he got up to leave, and when no attempt was made to stop him, he remained and continued in this vein.

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Mr. Robert Fuoss
August 4, 1961
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The cause of our difficulty was gradually apparent. Mr. Kobler had no concept of my philosophy, had not read all of my books nor did he seem interested in my exposition of the central points of my concepts.

As we went further into his article it developed that the personal references to me were of a nature that clearly indicated that he had no objective purpose in writing the article but rather was more interested in smearing my reputation and person. Several of the references I believe to be clearly libelous.

As the meeting progressed Mr. Kobler became most offensive, and only by exercise of great restraint could my husband and I continue. It was quite clear that Mr. Kobler wished us to order him to leave so that he could feel free of his agreement with us.

Despite the lengthy time devoted to our meeting, I never did see all of the so-called “factual or philosophical material” that his article contained.

Earlier that morning Mr. Kobler met with Mr. and Mrs. Branden and they have authorized me to state that their experience with him was similar and that some of the passages he showed them were false, misleading and libelous and clearly indicated that Mr. Kobler had violated his agreement with them as well.

As of the date of this writing we have neither seen nor heard from Mr. Kobler nor do we wish to have any further dealings with him.

One other person whom I know Mr. Kobler interviewed in connection with this article was my agent, Alan C. Collins, of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Mr. Collins tells me that Mr. Kobler stated to him that the original idea of writing an article about me was Mr. Kobler’s and did not originate with another member of The Saturday Evening Post’s editorial staff. Perhaps this fact sheds further light on Mr. Kobler’s approach to his subject matter.

In view of the above, it seems quite clear that both Mr. Branden and myself have been imposed upon and it would seem to us that a magazine of the standing and reputation of The Saturday Evening Post would not want to lend itself to the publication of an article that contains material which was obtained under such conditions and further, which

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Mr. Robert Fuoss
August 4, 1961
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by the innuendos that Mr. Kobler has injected, appears to both Mr. Branden and myself to be libelous.

I shall be most happy to answer any and all questions you may have, dealing with this most unfortunate incident.

Very truly yours,


Ayn Rand



Fuoss answered on August 9, saying that “we find the article to be a fair report on you and your philosophy.” In its November 11, 1961, issue, The Saturday Evening Post published an article entitled “The Curious Cult of Ayn Rand.” There is no record of a lawsuit.