Robert Campbell

Ayn Rand to the Reverend Dudley, October 23, 1943

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The letter is really a quite remarkable glimpse into Rand's thinking at that point in time.

Her description of Christianity is far more generous than I would have expected the author of The Fountainhead to give, and her connection to the concept to God and free will is remarkable as well.

I am half tempted to get off my duff and start a new thread on this particular subject. Anybody interested?

Yes...I'm in...

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Just noticed a related passage from Rand's "classic" period. In "Man's Rights," she said

The Declaration of Independence stated that men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Whether one believes that man is the product of a Creator or of nature, the issue of man’s origin does not alter the fact that he is an entity of a specific kind—a rational being—that he cannot function successfully under coercion, and that rights are a necessary condition of his particular mode of survival.

This is reminiscent of what is in the Dudley letter: both her theory (she wasn't calling it "Objectivism" in 1943) and individualist theism lead to the same conclusion.

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ND,

Thank you for the virtual legwork on this one.

The Dudley letter was in the Ayn Rand Archives the whole time...

I may be able to get Jennifer Burns' dissertation for less than $37. Have to be on campus, however, to see about it, and that may take a day or two.

Robert Campbell

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The Dudley letter was in the Ayn Rand Archives the whole time...

I may be able to get Jennifer Burns' dissertation for less than $37.

She didn't quote from the interesting parts, at least not in the preview that Google provides.

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ND,

Thank you for the virtual legwork on this one.

The Dudley letter was in the Ayn Rand Archives the whole time...

I may be able to get Jennifer Burns' dissertation for less than $37. Have to be on campus, however, to see about it, and that may take a day or two.

Robert Campbell

Waiting for the snowplow.

--Brant

South Carolina is a strange state

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Waiting for the snowplow.

--Brant

No need for a snowplow (although a few inches of snow will shut this region down).

It's just Labor Day weekend, and UMI dissertations are available, via the Clemson University library, only through computers that are physically located on campus.

Robert Campbell

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She didn't quote from the interesting parts, at least not in the preview that Google provides.

ND,

We've seen the whole letter, so we don't need to consult a secondary source to find out which parts are interesting.

The potential value of the original dissertation consists of

(1) Confirming that a copy of the Dudley letter was in the Ayn Rand Archives all along.

(2) Any other details not carried over into Jennifer Burns' 2009 book.

Robert Campbell

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Sure enough, the dissertation is available to me through ProQuest without the $37 fee. I just had to be on campus to download it.

Like most such dissertations, it's a huge raw slab of scanned pages. Google must have run a bunch of OCR on it to allow the searches you can carry out there.

But a quick check does suggest that the letter to Reverend Dudley is mentioned just once. The reference "AR to Reverend Dudley, 12/23/43 [39-7-01D]" includes, in the square brackets, the box and folder numbers within the Ayn Rand Archives. So that's where Jennifer Burns saw it. (She mistranscribed the date, but that's no big deal.)

A comparison with the book may prove interesting, though the dissertation is already 382 pages long and a number of passages that I skimmed look similar to what ended up being published.

Robert Campbell

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