Samuel Pettengill was a former congressman and head of the Transportation Association of America.
139 East 35th Street
New York City
June 13, 1943
Mr. Samuel B. Pettengill
Transportation Association of America
105 West Adams Street
Dear Mr. Pettengill:
I received your letter with the copy of your column referring to me, and on the same day I got a clipping of your column from the Hartford, Conn. Times. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I am very grateful to you, not only in a personal, but in a wider sense: it was encouraging to see a prominent figure of our side willing to help a new fighter. The indifference of most of our conservative national leaders to young beginners who wish to serve our cause, has ruined us and delivered the whole intellectual field to the Reds. A new “conservative” writer, these days, is left in the position of having his throat cut by an organized Red gang, while the leaders of his side look on, faintly bored, or turn away. That is what drives all the young intellectuals to Communism. Thank you for being an exception.
Incidentally, I thought your column was excellent. It is time someone stopped all that nonsense about Soviet Russia’s “achievements.” What achievements?
Thank you also for your little leaflet “The Welfare State,” which you enclosed. I have given it to a few friends. It works.
I am very sorry that you have not received THE FOUNTAINHEAD, and that you have been put to so much trouble tracing it. I had autographed a copy and it was mailed out by my publishers, with an accompanying letter. The letter came back to us, but not the parcel. Tomorrow, Monday, I shall have them send you another copy of the book, and we’ll try to trace the first one here. Somebody must have signed for it at the Barclay Hotel, so we shall probably find it.
I shall be eager to hear your opinion of THE FOUNTAINHEAD. It is actually an illustrated message, in fiction form, of my Individualist Manifesto. I have taken the basic principles of the Manifesto and shown them in concrete action and in human terms, how they work, what they do to people, what are their psychological roots and their practical consequences. If you liked the
Manifesto, I think you will like and understand the book. I know, however, that it is a very long book. If you find yourself pressed for time, I would like to call your attention to two passages: Roark’s speech (it starts on page 736) which is a complete statement of the moral philosophy of our side—and Toohey’s speech (it starts on page 689) which is an exposition of the collectivist mind and of the humanitarian “world of the future.” This is not to say, of course, that I am not anxious to have you read the whole novel. But these two passages will give you an idea of the nature of the book.
I think that the book can be of value to us in 1944. I am getting letters from readers who say that the book aroused them to fury against the “humanitarians” and made them want to “get the Tooheys out of Washington.”
I shall be looking forward to seeing you when you are next in New York. With my best regards,