Ayn Rand’s letter below was in response to a December 10, 1963, handwritten letter from a “Justice Emery.” In that letter, Emery requested “an authentic autographed picture of you” for his grandson, thus fulfilling his grandson’s “dying wish.”
This letter was previously published only in the Winter 2017–18 issue of The Objective Standard.
36 East 36th Street
New York 16, New York
December 28, 1963
The Hon. George L. Emery
Post Office Drawer 109
Catasauqua, Pa. 18032
Dear Justice Emery:
Thank you for your letter and your Christmas greeting. Please accept my deepest sympathy for your tragic situation.
I don’t know your grandson, but since he likes my work, I feel a bond between us, and I must tell you frankly that what I feel is heartbreaking. This makes me able to understand and share your feeling, at least to some small extent.
I am enclosing the photograph for your grandson. The quotation on it is from Atlas Shrugged. I hope that it will be appropriate. No, I have never written poems.
Does your grandson know the truth about his condition? If he does, please tell him that I would like to help him bear it and to give him encouragement, in any way I can. In any case, give him my warmest personal wishes.
And, if I may ask you to, please let me know what happens.
With profound sympathy,
Research online indicates that “Justice Emery” was a pseudonym for Marshall Emery Bean, an autograph dealer who sent similar requests to many famous authors in order to obtain autographed books to sell. Miss Rand was far from the only victim of this scam who honored Emery’s request; “gifts” to Bean from other victims can often be purchased from autograph and used-book dealers. There is no evidence that “Justice Emery” responded to Rand’s letter.