September 10, 1941
Mr. DeWitt Emery
National Small Business Men’s Association
Dear Mr. Emery:
No, I didn’t think you had deserted me—that would have been doubting your good taste. (How’s that?)
I was quite simply thrilled to hear that you had spoken about me to Henry Ford and read to him parts of my Manifesto. I am a natural-born hero worshipper, but I find damn few heroes to worship—and he’s one of my last few, because he is a symbol of the capitalist system at its best. Did you read to him the last part of the Manifesto—the part about the collectives of capitalists that destroy capitalism? I think that’s the part that should appeal to him and that he, above all people, would understand.
Is there any possible way for me to see him? Could you arrange that perhaps? If it were possible, I’d travel to Dearborn or to the bottom of hell. I am perfectly certain that if I could speak to him for half an hour (uninterrupted), I could get him to back us and we wouldn’t need anything or anybody else. I may be wrong and too sure of myself, but I don’t think so. I would not be so certain of my ability to convince any other man, but I am certain about Ford, if he is what I think he is, judging by his public record.
If you cannot arrange this, could you arrange to have him read a letter I’d write? I think I could make it brief and convincing—but I won’t bother if it has to go through half a dozen secretaries. If we could get it to him personally and if he would give us just the attention necessary to read it—we might be able to accomplish a lot.
My congratulations on the birth of Pratt & Emery. You know that I wish the firm all the success possible—and plenty of it.
As to my working for P & E—I’d be delighted, if I can really go ahead with the cause. No, I’m not going to
get “damned mad” about being offered a salary. I told you that I had to have a salary if I were to give the work my full time, and I won’t be any good unless I give it my full time. The job I have now takes more than eight hours a day—sometimes it’s twelve and more—so I couldn’t do any real work until I quit this. If I were a capitalist, I’d much rather work for the cause as a volunteer—but, unfortunately, I am only a proletarian defender of Capitalism, than which there is no worse thing to be. If I were a defender of Communism, I’d be a Hollywood millionaire-writer by now, with a swimming pool and a private orchestra to play the Internationale. As it is, I have to work for my living. So I’m quite definitely for sale—all of me above the neck—to anyone on our side who really intends to work for our side. This is the best way I know to say “thank you.” Seriously, though, I’d be very happy to work for you—and I hope you will really start soon on the kind of campaign we need.
I called Judge Tiffany Monday, when I received your letter. He said he had read the Manifesto and liked it very much, but he was just leaving New York, so I won’t be able to meet him until he comes back.
I sent a copy of the Manifesto to Dr. Ruth Alexander—you may remember my mentioning her, she is a very prominent lecturer and an extremely brilliant woman. I had approached her some time ago to serve on our Committee—and she said she would, if we took an uncompromising position on the defense of Capitalism. I sent her the Manifesto Monday—and this morning I received a telegram from her. I’ll quote it here in full—excuse the boasting, but I thought it was very nice of her, and it shows the kind of response we need and will get if we don’t pussyfoot and compromise:
“BRAVO ON YOUR MAGNIFICENT MANIFESTO. IT SUMMARIZES ALL THE MATERIAL I HAVE BEEN HAMMERING HOME IN MY LECTURES FOR THREE YEARS. IF YOU CAN AND WILL RETAIN THIS PLATFORM WITHOUT MODIFICATION, COUNT ME IN ON IT. HOPE TO SEE YOU LATTER PART OF MONTH BEST WISHES AND CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN
Nice, isn’t it?
I spoke to Mr. Gall on the phone—he said that he has sent the Manifesto to the Vice-President of the N.A.M.—for his okay on arranging to finance us. I wish you could help me there—I don’t know just how one goes about pushing people for financing, and I think the N.A.M. crowd could be made to finance us, but they need pressure and
They seem terribly slow, at least about this—and yet they still profess great interest and desire to help us.
Well, I think this is enough for one letter, so—my best wishes until the next one.
There is no evidence of either a meeting with or letter to Henry Ford.