In Pollock’s previous letter, he wrote that Anthem was “obvious” and “artificial” and that “you are bigger than your book—and you can do better.” The edition he read was the 1938 British edition, not the rewritten (and current) edition published in 1946.
June 23, 1941
Mr. Channing Pollock
Shoreham, Long Island
Dear Mr. Pollock:
No, I have no desire to kill you. I am sorry, of course, that you did not care for “Anthem”, but I appreciate your honesty in stating your opinion.
Last Thursday, when I received your wire, I telephoned at once to Dr. Ruth Alexander and saw her the same day. We had a most interesting conversation. She was quite enthusiastic about our project, and she said that she will join us—but on one condition: that our organization remain as direct and uncompromising in its “ideology” as I outlined it to her. She explained that she will not belong to any group which evades or pussy-foots on major issues, such as the issue of defending capitalism. I assured her that this was precisely our own attitude.
Last Wednesday I saw Mr. John C. Gall of the National Association of Manufacturers. He was most sympathetic to the idea of an organization such as we are planning—and he volunteered the suggestion that he knew several men who would be interested in giving us financial backing. I wrote about this to Mr. Emery—he had told me that he would take care of the financial arrangements.
Mr. Gall would like very much to meet you, and asked me whether you and I would have lunch with him at your convenience. He said that he needs but a short notice—and could arrange to be free on any day when you are to be in New York.
I have finished reading “The Adventures of a Happy Man”—and enjoyed it tremendously. It is such a bright and cheerful book. I agreed with almost everything in it—except the chapter on faith.[*] That is because I think that there is nothing on earth more important than knowledge. Someday, when you have the time, I should like to have a nice long argument with you about that.
Please forgive me for my slight delay in reporting to you on all these events—an extra heavy load of long novels to read was the reason.
With best regards,
*In her biographical interviews, AR was asked about “important people” she had met during the Willkie campaign: “Well, the most important one that I met at that time was Channing Pollock. Now, he was a very distinguished writer… He had an enormous reputation; he was a famous playwright. Of a very bad kind in one sense. He was crazy about God. You know, all his plays were about religion, or people redeemed by religion. He was a professional religionist. The only good thing about him was that he was a free-enterpriser… And he didn’t mix the religion into it.”