Barbara Branden, Robert Hessen and the 1998 Rand Auction

Michael Stuart Kelly

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Barbara Branden, Robert Hessen and the 1998 Rand Auction

by Michael Stuart Kelly

I received a gift from Barbara Branden a while back when I was looking for some quotes on how she and Nathaniel Branden exerted a disciple-like influence on Ayn Rand as a writer. She sent me the Butterfield & Butterfield catalogue for the auction she, Robert Hessen and some others held of Rand’s papers and memorabilia on November 18, 1998. She said there were some quotes in it that might interest me. It sure did. This catalogue is a small treasure of historical images and texts. When I received it, I immediately wanted to share some of the interesting things in it with Rand admirers other than myself.

This material is unavailable elsewhere, including the fascinating opening speeches by Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen. I asked them for permission to publish these speeches and they both graciously agreed. As I was preparing them, it became evident that providing some context would be very interesting—so would providing a peek inside the catalogue.

I had occasionally read of trouble with the auction—that it almost did not take place because of a clash with Rand’s heir, Sylvan Leonard Peikoff, and that it threatened to become a lawsuit instead of an auction. I decided to look into this in more detail. The story has been told before and the events are well documented on the Internet and elsewhere, but the details are either scarce or disperse. I saw that the story was well worth retelling.

So in presenting information from these two basic sources (the catalogue and the trouble), plus some lesser sources, here is what you will find below, which is more compilation than article proper: the opening speeches, which give a poignant introduction and background; information on the catalogue and the auction; the pre-auction trouble over ownership, including examination of pertinent documents, a close look at twenty of the catalogue entries, including information on Rand currently unavailable elsewhere; the auction’s results; and a list of the catalogue’s lot entries.

Some of the items stray off on a small tangent, as is their nature. These were items that I encountered that were too charming or dramatic to skip over. I think of them like a stroll on a path through the mountains: there is the main path and you keep your destination in mind, but sometimes you see something so interesting that you can’t help but stop and look.

This makes for more length than normal. My final intention was to provide a document for easy research and there was much to include. Actually and lamentably, much more was left out than I really wanted, but I tried to keep it to a reasonable size. In addition to quotes and images, I have provided a number of links to pertinent material and contact information for some sources.

One of the fascinating aspects of putting all this together, one that became clear to me as I was doing it, is that it provided a small microcosmic window to an event that contained the essentials of Ayn Rand and her impact on the world—her personal life, the greatness of her vision, the commercial worth of what she produced, and bitter conflicts. All of these have become her historical progeny.

Opening speech by Barbara Branden

Memories and Memorabilia

Ayn Rand was my teacher, my mentor, my colleague, and my beloved friend for nineteen years—and then for a tragic time my enemy, and still later, only six months before her death, for one enchanted afternoon my friend again. As I review the material I am sending to auction, I find myself stopping on certain items, and remembering…

Here is my copy of Atlas Shrugged, presented to me by a radiant Ayn before its publication, with the inscription: “To Barbara—For that sense of life which is mine and yours—For starting with the same values and accepting nothing less—To carry on my battle, my universe and all my values—Ayn.” The memory is bittersweet, bringing a mixture of happy gratitude and agony—agony because “all my values” was intended to include my young husband…

I pick up a photograph of Ayn’s ranch in California, and suddenly I am reliving the golden days that she and I spent wandering through its paths as she searched for the colorful stones she so eagerly collected and we talked about her life and mine, about the things we loved, the experiences we had had, the reactions we shared. There was a gentleness about her in those early days of our friendship, a warmth and empathy that I shall always treasure…

My prized possession is the manuscript pages of Atlas Shrugged, written in Ayn’s strong, angular hand—a gift I have treasured for 40 years. Touching these pages sweeps me back to the years of reading the manuscript as Ayn was writing it—the excitement of being carried into a saner universe than the one I knew—the joy of discovering the answers to so many questions that had seemed to have no answer—the ecstatic sense of encountering, on each page, a mind of such power and range that I knew I would never find its equal again. I think of my sense, through those years, that her fictional heroes, John Galt and Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden and Francisco d’Anconia, were becoming intimate and well-loved friends, almost as real as my other friends, almost as real as Ayn Rand…

I see the piles of tapes of the interviews I conducted as research for my biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, research that occupied two-and-a-half of the most fascinating years of my life. Those years led me to create a unique oral history of Ayn’s life that can never be repeated or superseded. The people whose voices one hears on these tapes, some famous and others unknown, delineated Ayn’s remarkable life from her early years in Soviet Russia to a last conversation with her the night before her death in 1982…

Here is an unpublished manuscript entitled “Consciousness, Purpose and Happiness” that Ayn wrote in preparation for Galt’s speech, the climactic exposition in Atlas Shrugged of her philosophy, Objectivism. I remember the two years of excruciating effort she spent on that speech—a lifetime of effort, in fact, since she began tending the seeds of her philosophy in early childhood. “Writing Galt’s speech,” she often said, “was the hardest work I have ever done.” And I think with sadness of the terrible cost to her of those years and all the years of working on Atlas—her growing bitterness, despair, and rage at a world that did not match the ecstatic vision she had put on paper…

I gaze at the photograph I took of an elated Ayn as she stood with her hand on the just completed manuscript of Atlas. I remember that evening with an overwhelming immediacy; I feel again Ayn’s excitement and mine and that of our friends who had gathered in her apartment. We believed that we were present at a turning point in man’s intellectual history—and, much later, as Ayn’s fame and influence came to circle the globe, I knew that we had indeed been witness to history…

I turn the pages of an unpublished manuscript entitled “The Moral Authority Premise.” It is one of the many papers Ayn wrote over a span of four years in her desperate attempt to understand why her lover, Nathaniel Branden, had grown distant and remote. I ache for her as I recall the dogged conscientiousness of her struggle, and that she did not know, she could not know, that Nathaniel had fallen in love with another woman and was unwilling to tell or so…

I shake my head in a disbelief that has never left me as I read again the issue of The Objectivist in which Ayn announced her break with Nathaniel and with me—accusing him of a host of moral breaches of which he was not guilty, and never mentioning the real cause of her break with him: that he no longer loved her. I remember their final, terrible confrontation, when an enraged Ayn lashed out at him with words as ugly as the lies with which he had tormented her…

I hold a brochure announcing a lecture at the Nathaniel Branden Institute. The NBI era (1958-1968) was the wonder years, as the institute that Nathaniel and I established to teach and spread the philosophy of Ayn Rand grew, in a decade, from twenty lectures given to a handful of students in a small New York hotel room, to fifteen lecture courses presented in eighty cities across the United States and Canada—and even to the crew and captain of a Polaris submarine somewhere under the Atlantic Ocean. I had looked at this announcement a number of years earlier, and had thought, with a touch of amusement, how young and naïve we were, we who worked at NBI: we believed we were changing the world. Now, as I look once more at the announcement—as I think of the millions of copies of Ayn’s books that have been sold—as I think of the courageous men and women in what were then the Iron Curtain countries secretly typing five copies of We the Living, then The Fountainhead, then Atlas Shrugged, and distributing them, at the risk of their lives, to others who would also copy and distribute them—as I think of the distinguished industrialists, financiers, scientists, artists, writers, engineers, economists, architects, teachers, and philosophers who have told me that their lives were changed for the better by Ayn Rand’s works—as I think that her books are now required reading in many high schools and universities of this country—as I think of the flood of books about Objectivism spilling from both university and mainstream presses in ever-growing numbers—as I think that the freedom she spent her life defending is now sweeping across the world… then I know that we were not naïve. We were indeed helping Ayn to change the world.

Here, in this catalogue you are holding, are the stories of my memorabilia.

Here is in an inestimable treasure: the life of Ayn Rand.

Barbara Branden

Author, The Passion of Ayn Rand

Opening speech by Robert Hessen

The genesis of a great gift

I began to work as Ayn’s personal Secretary in the fall of 1959.

When I saw her study, where she finished writing Atlas Shrugged, I was appalled at how small and crowded it was—a tiny second bedroom in an expensive apartment across from the J.P. Morgan Library, a half block in from glamorous Park Avenue. A single bulb lit the dark room; her old wooden desk was cluttered with cherished objects and photographs, and her working surface for writing was barely 24 by 36 inches.

Under the desk she kept an ancient manual typewriter, perhaps a Remington Rand from which she had years before chosen her new American name. But she wrote entirely in longhand, using cheap blue ballpoint pens, usually on blue paper to reduce the glare and because blue was the closest match to her favorite color, blue-green.

I keenly recall the first time, after eighteen months of typing letters, that she asked me to type a short article she had written. I brought the pages into her study and she compared her draft with my version. After making some corrections, she started to tear the original in half. I screamed: “Stop! What are you doing?” She said: “I’m throwing it away, of course.” I said: “How would you feel if one of Aristotle’s manuscripts had survived and you were able to see it?” She smiled.

“But I have no need for drafts of every article I ever write,” she said. “Well, then if you’re going to throw them away, you can give them to me.” “What for?” she asked, “what will you do with them?” “Frankly, I don’t know,” I said, “but someday they may be valuable.” “O.K., Bob, but I do not want anyone to see my editing. I will have to rewrite these pages, so no one will see that I changed words or crossed out sentences.” “No, no, Ayn, don’t do that. I promise never to show them to anyone during your lifetime.” She handed me back that first article, and continued to give me articles for the next fourteen years, until 1976. It was the first of nearly 200 manuscripts that she gave me. Over the next 20 years we never again discussed her gift to me.

My late wife, Bea, and I saw Ayn frequently. Virtually every time we saw Ayn, she handed me a small brown carton marked “For Bob” and these contained manuscripts of articles, essays, and speeches she had recently written. I took them home, piling each new one atop the earlier ones, but never opening the cartons. I was unaware of how conscientious Ayn was in saving her manuscripts for me. She was confident that I would always cherish her gift, and I did.

When Bea and I left New York in August 1974 for my new job at Stanford University, we carried Ayn’s manuscripts in suitcases on the airplane. They went into a corner of my office and were forgotten.

There they remained—unnoticed and undisturbed—until Barbara Branden phoned me in July to tell me that Butterfield & Butterfield was interested in auctioning her Ayn Rand memorabilia. Barbara did not recall that Ayn had given me her non-fiction manuscripts, so she asked if I had kept anything from that period of my life. “Of course,” I replied. “I never throw anything away, but I don’t remember exactly what I have. I’ll have to look and call you back.”

Robert Hessen

Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

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The auction and the catalogue

The auction, Fine Books & Manuscripts: The Papers of Ayn Rand, was held at Butterfield & Butterfield, Sale No. 6865Z, simultaneously in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, and Elgin, IL on Wednesday, November 18, 1998 at 2:00 pm. Lots 5850-5930 were offered.

Previews were held as follows:

In Elgin: October 23-25, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

In San Francisco: November 7-9, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

In Los Angeles: November 14-16, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

There also was a preview party the night before the auction. A photograph and text are given on Barbara Branden’s website.


At the preview party on the eve of Butterfield & Butterfield's auction of Ayn Rand memorabilia, a guest realized that—thirty-one years later—eight people from NBI days were present at the party, and photographs were taken. From left to right: Gerald Rafferty, Robert Hessen, Wilfred Schwartz, Barbara Branden, Erika Holzer, Hank Holzer, Nathaniel Branden, John Hospers

The bulk of the material offered came from the Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen collections, but some material was included in the auction from others: Daryn Kent-Duncan, Jim Peron, Joan Blumenthal, Henry Holzer, Barbara Efron, Paul Eisen, and Ryan York.

Below is a part covering the auction in the interview conducted by Karen Reedstrom that appeared in the September/October 1998 issue of Full Context (now defunct). This interview is on Barbara Branden’s website:

Q: You very recently closed a deal to auction your Rand collection. Can you tell us about this, the kinds of things you have, who can bid and where, when it will happen, and if anyone can submit their mementos for sale with yours? Also, how can people who want to submit their items contact you and when is the cut off date for their submissions?

Barbara: Let me first tell you how the auction came about. It's a remarkable story. I had been thinking of selling my memorabilia because I'd learned something I had not known: that photocopies of documents, manuscripts and so on are considered as important as the originals for archival purposes. I had always wanted to create an archive of my material, and I now realized that I could do so and also sell much of it.

I was at first thinking of setting up an auction on the Internet, but that seemed very cumbersome and an enormous amount of work. While I was thinking about what to do, I had lunch with two men who are acquaintances of mine, one of whom is an Objectivist. I was talking to them about my memorabilia and my problems figuring out how to go about auctioning it and what starting prices to ask for, and as I was speaking, I saw that they'd begun to smile. I asked, "What's funny?"—and the Objectivist pulled out their business card. It read: "Estate Appraisers."

Q: You're leading a charmed life, don't you know!

Barbara: It seems that way. I've told friends that the universe appears to be engaged in a giant conspiracy to make my life wonderful! In any event, the two men came back to my home and looked through part of one box of my memorabilia—and I kept hearing "Oh, my god!" from my study.

Within two days, they arranged for Gregory Shaw, who is in charge of Books and Manuscripts at the Butterfield & Butterfield auction house, to come to Santa Fe to look through my things and to talk contract with my friend and attorney, Henry Mark Holzer, and me. The negotiations moved like lightning, and within a week all necessary arrangements were completed.

After that, I contacted friends whom I thought might have memorabilia they would wish to sell. I struck gold. Contacting Robert Hessen, I discovered that he has the handwritten manuscript of almost every article Ayn ever wrote! And other friends are submitting items—such as a short film of Ayn and Frank, which probably is the only film she ever allowed to be made, and a postcard from Ayn, who was in Colorado at the time, which begins "Hello from Galt's Gulch."

Q: Wow!

Barbara: Precisely. Many years ago, Bob Hessen was typing for Ayn—and when he finished typing an article, he saw her toss the manuscript into a wastebasket. Bob is an historian, and knew that her manuscripts were of great historical value. He asked if he might have them. She said yes, and each time she wrote an article, she gave the manuscript to Bob.

Q: Good man!

Barbara: He has, and will be auctioning, almost five thousand pages of manuscript. The story of the short film is also interesting. A good friend and NBI's former representative in San Francisco, Paul Eisen, spent the day with Ayn and Frank in 1966 when they were in San Francisco with Nathan and me.

Paul took Ayn and Frank to a beach, at her request, so that she could look for the semi-precious stones she loved to collect and Frank could sketch. By some miracle—Ayn hated to have her picture taken—she allowed Paul to film this scene and a later one when he took Ayn and Frank to the University of California at Berkeley. Incredible!

Q: Can Paul convert the film to video to preserve it? Film doesn't last long.

Barbara: It has been and will continue to be very carefully preserved.

Q: What sort of things do you have?

Barbara: I have letters, I have a substantial amount of Ayn's "thinking aloud on paper," I have photos and mementos and documents and a good deal of her writing on psychology which she did to clarify her thinking and manuscripts of unpublished material that she gave me and —

Q: Manuscripts, you mean articles?

Barbara: Yes, and materials from her journals. For instance, she wrote a paper she called "Consciousness, Purpose, and Self-Esteem" as a preparation for writing Galt's speech. She gave me the manuscript. It is truly a treasure. And I have about thirty of the penultimate pages of Atlas which, like the articles Bob Hessen has, would have ended up in her wastebasket had I not asked for them. The next version and final version of these pages that she wrote is pretty much what appeared in the book. But my pages, the version next to last, shows her editing. One is able to see the workings of her mind, and it's fascinating.

Q: What other things do you have for the auction? Ashtrays and such?

Barbara: I have gifts Ayn gave, personal letters, letters she wrote to my mother and to others, first editions of her books with wonderful inscriptions, many candid photographs that have never been seen because I took them myself.

Q: Do you have any intention of publishing your photos someday?

Barbara: I hadn't thought of it, but I probably should do it eventually.

Q: That would be fun! When and where is the auction?

Barbara: It will be held at Butterfield and Butterfield in Los Angeles, on November 18. If anyone looks for me, I'll be the woman gulping tranquilizers. There will be bidding by closed circuit television in Chicago and San Francisco, and banks of phones available for bidding in New York and abroad in Geneva, London and Hong Kong.

Q: If anyone is interested in submitting material for the auction, who would they submit it to?

Barbara: They should contact me at and I'll pass the information along to the auction house. My web site is now up, and I give further information about the auction there. The URL is

Q: Will there be a booklet of the items for sale with photos? If so, how can one obtain one?

Barbara: There will be a four-color catalogue which Laissez Faire Books will make available.

Well, despite not being four-color, the catalogue is magnificent. The cover (front and back is green with writing in darkish yellow and white. Here is the front.


The inside is printed in gray scale on glossy paper. Not including the wraps cover and inside pages of the cover, there are 52 pages of images and text and it is sewn bound. Here is the inside of the front cover.


For the record the gentlemen who produced such a marvelous catalogue are: Digital photographs: Dustin Jack, Andrew Glover and Casey Brown; Digital imaging production: Matthew Fertel and Paul Mueller; and Catalogue production: Rodney Resella.

In the Butterfield & Butterfield catalogues, it is Volume: Z24.

If anyone wishes to purchase one, it is an outstanding research investment.

In the catalogue itself, you are advised that you can order one from the website. This link longer goes to the old Butterfield website. Now it will take you automatically to the new Bonhams & Butterfields site. As given there, you can order a catalogue by e-mail at or telephone at the Catalogue Subscriptions department: +1 800 223 2854 ext. 3550. No price is given on the website, but it is $ 28.50 (including shipping) in The Papers of Ayn Rand catalogue. As this was printed in 1998, the price might have gone up.

Currently (November 2006), there are two other places to order the catalogue:

Price: $35.00, without shipping. No information is given on whether the catalogue is new or used, but presumably it is new.

Price: $182.80, including shipping. It is advertised as new.

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The trouble

There was trouble before the auction. The long and short of it is that Sylvan Leonard Peikoff, heir to Ayn Rand, tried to take Rand’s gifts to Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen from them and impede the auction. He did not succeed. The auction ended up taking place as planned and was a resounding success.

Peikoff alleged that neither Branden nor Hessen were the rightful owners of Rand’s manuscripts and hired a lawyer, Marcia B. Paul from Kay Collyer & Boose, LLP (in New York City), to send intimidating letters not only to Branden and Hessen, but also to the Butterfield & Butterfield auction house. The first letter, dated September 25, 1998, was to Branden and Hessen. They retained Henry Holzer to respond to Ms. Paul and sent a request around the Objectivist and libertarian world for donations for a litigation fund as preparation for legal action. A settlement was reached before the auction date without the matter going to court. Peikoff no longer contested the legal ownership of the papers and each side was allowed to make one archival copy of Rand’s papers for scholarship purposes.

This affair has been documented online since 1998 at a site set up specifically for that purpose (including the litigation fund) called OLDFOP, and it was written up as an article in the libertarian magazine, Liberty. Neither the site nor the article is presently available on active Internet sites. OLDFOP (formerly at has not been continued and the Liberty archives on its recently renovated site extend back only to January 2002 as of this moment.

Some of this story has been put online by Chris Wolf, which is found on the Jefferson Technology Press site. Wolf’s section is called FAQ—What's REALLY Wrong With Objectivism?. Three of the OLDFOP documents referenced below are hosted there (with mention and links given in the appropriate discussion). I mention this because Wolf’s online material has been one of the major sources of documentation for problems with the auction (and other issues critical of Peikoff and ARI) for years.

As to the unavailable material, there is a wonderful resource called the Internet Archive Wayback Machine that archives defunct sites. Most of the links below go to material archived there. Thus all the original documents can be read by linking to them in addition to my comments here.

1. “Fighting Over Ayn Rand's Papers”

by Eric D. Dixon, Liberty, March 1999

The value of this article, outside of the story, is the number of small quotes from Peikoff. As there are copyright restrictions, the correspondence from Peikoff could not be provided by Branden or Hessen (or even Dixon) except for fair use passages, so his side is not documented in a form accessible to the public. Unfortunately, Dixon did not give any sources for the Peikoff quotes presented in the article other than “through his attorneys.” From the article:

Leonard Peikoff, Rand's heir, categorically denied that Rand would have given Branden and Hessen so many pages of manuscript, and demanded that they provide proof of ownership. Through his attorney he wrote Branden and Hessen stating that various factors "strongly suggest that you cannot establish valid title to all of the materials which you intend to offer at Auction."

Peikoff claimed that Ayn Rand's "lifelong policy, expressed repeatedly to witnesses, was to retain in her own permanent possession all documents related to her own writing."

Actually, the first quote above came from the letter by Peikoff’s attorney dated September 25, 1998, as given in a document by Henry Holzer where it is repeated (see Item 2.10 below).

No source is given as to where the statement below was issued. From the context, this one was not issued through his attorney, but made by Peikoff himself. It directly contradicts his earlier contention about Rand’s “lifelong policy.”

On the morning of the auction, days after the conflict was settled, Peikoff issued a statement declaring that Branden "has furnished what I regard as convincing proof that she was given these pages as a special gift by her then close friend, Ayn Rand."

Dixon cites a statement published by Barbara Branden on November 23, 1998 on “a public discussion forum” (without citing which forum), objecting to Peikoff’s implication that he needed to be furnished any proof.

Peikoff, in his recent petulant statement, asserted that I proved my claim of ownership to him. I did no such thing. I provided him with not a single word or statement or piece of evidence that my property was indeed my property. By some miracle, he apparently came to what I shall loosely call his senses where I am concerned, although not about Bob Hessen.

Peikoff is further quoted with respect to Robert Hessen (once again, without giving the source):

Despite Hessen's detailed account and its corroboration by witnesses, Peikoff continued to cast aspersions on Hessen's ownership:

“Whereas Hessen claims that she gave him the manuscripts rather than throwing them out, the fact is that she left behind at her death numerous cartons of notes, outlines, and discards from many of the very articles which Hessen claims she gave to him instead of throwing out.”

Peikoff goes on to note: "Ayn Rand did not give a remotely comparable gift to a single other person throughout her lifetime. As for me, for instance, to whom she left everything, she never while alive offered even one page of manuscript."

Dixon then commented that Peikoff received many manuscripts from Rand, including the eight-part manuscript of Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Technically speaking, Rand did not “offer” them to Peikoff. He asked for them instead and then she gave them to him. Dixon failed to mention that Rand often made more than one autograph manuscript of an article and what she gave to Hessen was usually her first draft. How this practice escaped Peikoff’s notice in his accusation is certainly a mystery.

Peikoff apparently was not happy with admitting defeat. Things already were ugly with insinuations of theft from him and threats of suing for libel from Branden and Hessen. In the case of Hessen, he asked for Rand’s first drafts at the beginning, but then she continued giving them to him over the years without any further request, treating the initial requests as valid for a lifetime. One major problem seems to be that Peikoff did not want to believe this. There is an episode where he practically accused Hessen of stealing the papers from storage, which prompted a long statement from Hessen signed under oath. This charge continued even after the settlement. The following Peikoff quote from Dixon’s article apparently is from the same statement as above.

… Peikoff continued to spread innuendo. In his statement, Peikoff said that regardless of the current rules of the legal system, he does not believe Hessen morally owned the manuscripts offered at auction, and goes on to state: "There are many words in our language to describe such an individual and the means by which these papers came into his possession. As far as I'm concerned, you may take your pick of them."

Dixon concludes that Rand simply gave these drafts to people she liked who asked for them and for no other reason, and that she started saving the ones she didn’t give away after she became convinced that others would value them.

2. The OLDFOP site

As you can see on the site’s banner below, OLDFOP stands for Objectivist-Libertarian Defense Fund Opposing Peikoff.


On the left of the home page is a sidebar giving a list of 10 documents (discussed below using the same names for links as on the sidebar, being that one is actually 2 different affidavits, and another is a group of 7 different letters and 1 response). A message from Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen states:

This case, and the OLDFOP project, began with our receipt via Federal Express, on Monday, September 28, 1998, of a threatening letter from a lawyer for Sylvan Leonard Peikoff, the Estate of Ayn Rand, and the Ayn Rand Institute.

Copyright law prevents us from reproducing that letter. However, all documents pertaining to this matter that are legally permitted will be reproduced on this web site, providing OLDFOP supporters with the latest information.

There is another declaration:

This site became inactive on November 20, 1998. The site's content, however, is still being made available for historical purposes.

According to an indicator above the left-hand sidebar: “Contributions & Pledges as of 10/26: $83,150.”

2.01. Rand Auction

This document is entitled “Press Release for Auction of Ayn Rand Memorabilia.”

This is a standard press release giving event and contact information. On a minor point of interest, it states that the catalogue was going for $15 before October 31, 1998, and $20 afterwards. (As mentioned earlier, printed in the catalogue it is priced at $25 plus $3.50 shipping.) One paragraph stands out:

These writings offer a rare look into Ayn Rand's creative writing process. In an age when most writers type or word-process their output, and perhaps only the final version survives for scrutiny by scholars, this unique collection is entirely handwritten pages, heavily edited, thus revealing significant divergences from the published texts. The subjects range across politics, economics, ethics, aesthetics, psychology and epistemology.

2.02. Introducing OLDFOP

This document is entitled “An Open Letter to Objectivists and Libertarians from Robert Hessen” and dated October 2, 1998. This letter was sent around to many places in the Objectivist and libertarian world.

It started by mentioning an announcement of the auction on Barbara Branden’s website, but that announcement no longer exists. Here is an excerpt giving the situation:

When Leonard Peikoff, the self-described Pope of Objectivism, learned about the auction, he made no inquiry of Barbara or me as to what exactly we own or how we each had acquired what we own. Instead, he responded by having his attorney send us a threatening letter, proclaiming that he alone is the heir and owner of all manuscripts written by Ayn Rand, and giving us ten days not only to furnish him with a detailed inventory of our holdings, but also with proof of our ownership of our respective manuscript holdings. These are 29 handwritten pages from Atlas Shrugged, and nearly 5,000 handwritten pages of non-fiction, virtually all of the articles, reviews and speeches Ayn Rand wrote between l962 and l974.

Peikoff asserts that the burden of proof is on Barbara and me to prove our rights of ownership. With no explanation of why Barbara and I don't own the property that Ayn Rand gifted to us, Peikoff warns he will initiate a lawsuit to block the sale of our property.

Henry Mark Holzer was already acting as their legal council at the time of this letter, but Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen also wanted to retain Manuel S. Klausner, “a prominent Libertarian lawyer in Los Angeles.” Costs were estimated at $250,000. As mentioned above, $83,150 was already raised by late October.

Interestingly enough, a gift donation was not solicited. Instead, a loan was, paying 10% per annum.

Chris Wolf keeps a copy of this letter online under another link title: “Leonard Peikoff Threatens To Sue Barbara Branden.” He also adds comments of his own.

2.03. Response to Peikoff Attorney (1)

This document is entitled “Holzer's First Response to Peikoff Attorney” and dated September 29, 1998. It is the first of three letters on the OLDFOP site from Henry Mark Holzer to Marcia B. Paul.

It was in response to a letter from Ms. Paul dated September 25, 1998. Basically, it covered legal bases like stating that silence is not to be construed as agreement, etc., fully denied Peikoff’s claims and demands, threatened countersuit advising that a defense fund was being prepared, and was fairly aggressive rhetoric-wise. Here are some interesting quotes:

Neither Sylvan Leonard Peikoff—(individually, or as heir to the Estate of Ayn Rand, or as Executor of that Estate, or as Rand's (second) intellectual heir—nor the Estate itself, nor The Ayn Rand Institute, have any claim, de facto, de jure, or on any other basis, to any of the Branden or Hessen items being auctioned.

This means that if Peikoff sues—or otherwise interferes with my clients' right to sell property which is lawfully and morally theirs—Peikoff, the Rand Estate, and the Institute will themselves be sued by my clients for interference with their contractual relations and other torts—and because any action by Peikoff and his associates would be malicious and frivolous, we shall seek both punitive damages and sanctions against them and against any counsel who participate in the making of spurious claims.

As to your quaint notion that my clients somehow have the burden of proving to Peikoff that they own the material being auctioned, rather than Peikoff proving non-ownership, suffice it to say that you will receive no information or other assistance from us. If Peikoff, and your firm, believe that my clients' non-ownership can be proved, you know how, and where, to try.

… I cannot help noting that Peikoff's concern about dispersal rings hollow in view of his apparently having conducted an auction at which he, himself, sold a Rand manuscript.

I found the first quote curious and I wonder if there was any legal reason for Holzer to referr to Peikoff as “Rand's (second) intellectual heir.” As incredible as it seems, Holzer managed to make a simple statement that is amiss from both sides of the divide but for different reasons. I have no doubt that the Peikoff side would claim that since no “first” intellectual heir exists, there can be no second, and the Branden side would claim that Peikoff is not Rand’s “intellectual heir,” but simply her legal heir.

I found the last quote really intriguing. I tried to find information on the auction conducted by Peikoff, but I was unable to uncover anything. I can’t help wondering what was sold and where the auction took place.

Chris Wolf keeps a copy of this letter online under another link title: “Barbara Branden Throws Down The Glove!”.

2.04. Response to Peikoff Attorney (2)

This document is entitled “Holzer's Second Response to Peikoff Attorney” and dated October 12, 1998. It is the second of three letters on the OLDFOP site from Henry Mark Holzer to Marcia B. Paul.

Here the tone is different. Ms. Paul sent Holzer a letter dated October 9 asking them to waive any rights they may have had from the September 25 letter. Frankly, the only such right I can imagine would be to sue for libel or disclose the information in public. Ms. Paul didn’t stop there. She also sent another letter on the same day to Butterfield & Butterfield asking questions and making insinuations.

From Holzer’s rhetoric and style, it appears that Ms. Paul was very much aware of legal danger to Peikoff (not to mention the bad publicity) if he continued to pursue his course as originally planned. Here is an excerpt (in reference to the aforesaid letter to Butterfield & Butterfield):

As to that letter, much of which seems to have been taken from your September 25th letter to my clients, suffice to say that the few "reasons" you offer (in paragraphs numbered 1, 3, 4 and 5) to justify your "questions" actually underscore how outrageous your client's claim is that he may own my clients' property. In view of our proof of ownership, his claim is all the more outrageous. If we were dealing with someone whom I believed was open to reason and proof, I would make it available to you. But since I verily believe that nothing we advance, no matter how ironclad, would make the slightest difference to Peikoff, you will have to obtain it in court—if he elects to go there, in the face of the downside exposure he has should he lose.

2.05. Letters from Supporters

This document is entitled “Selected Letters from OLDFOP Supporters” and none of the letters are dated.

Several short letters to Barbara offering support and expressing indignation are presented from Jim Peron, Paul M. Eisen, Joan Mitchell Blumenthal, Moira Russell, Wendy McElroy and Carol B. Low. One such letter to Robert Hessen from Steve Reed is given.

Jim Peron’s letter elicited a response from Henry Holzer:

From Jim Peron (to Barbara Branden)

I was shocked to learn that Peikoff called Elayne Kalberman and asked her if it was possible that you had a key to the NBI offices in the Empire State Building after the break and were therefore able to steal the Atlas Shrugged manuscript pages then. In other words he is accusing you of theft or is raising this as a possibility. Peikoff, grasping at straws, by virtually accusing you of stealing simply shows the bankruptcy of his frantic attempt to take from you that which rightfully is yours. Does Prof. Holzer believe that Peikoff's statement, even though in the form of a question, constitutes defamation for which you can sue him?

Response from Professor Holzer

This is my answer to the question posed by Jim Peron. Anyone who states, or implies—or even puts the notion in the form of a question—that you and/or Bob Hessen may have stolen your Rand manuscripts has uttered an actionable slander for which they will be liable. Indeed, in some jurisdictions accusing someone of a crime is considered “slander per se,” enabling the person defamed to get to a jury without the need to prove damages. In that situation, the jury can award whatever it wishes. Without getting into technical legal details, suffice to say that even if you are some sort of a 'public figure,' that status will not necessarily insulate the defamer from liability and damages.

Chris Wolf keeps a copy of Peron’s letter and Holzer’s reply above online under another link title: “More Crap From Peikoff.” He lists the date as October. 9, 1998.

2.06. Branden & Hessen Challenge Peikoff

This document is entitled “Branden & Hessen Challenge Peikoff” and dated October 15, 1998. It is the third of three letters on the OLDFOP site from Henry Mark Holzer to Marcia B. Paul.

After Holzer mentioned that his clients had spent time examining the September 25 letter from Ms. Paul to them and the October 9 letter to Butterfield & Butterfield, he stated the following (with underline in the original):

While there is much in those letters which appalls them, they are particularly outraged at the implication in the Butterfield letter. On behalf of Peikoff you say in paragraph 4 on page 3: "That Branden and/or Hessen have used this access [to Rand material] to obtain possession of materials to which they were not lawfully entitled is evidenced by certain litigation between the parties which has occurred in the past." This carefully drawn, lawyerly phrasing nonetheless leaves a clear, wholly unacceptable implication.

As I am sure you and your client realize, there is virtually no way my clients can defend their reputations against this kind of vile innuendo. Hence, they put the following challenge to Peikoff: If he believes that Branden and/or Hessen stole manuscripts from Rand and/or her estate, rather than hiding behind your skirts he should simply say so openly, publicly, and unequivocally. Even though in an action for defamation at least one (and perhaps both) of my clients will be under "public figure" disability (and perhaps others), they will be able to use the judicial forum to put Peikoff to his proof and, in the process, disgrace him for making such baseless and scurrilous accusations.

Of course, Peikoff never accepted this challenge, but hearsay from him apparently continued. See Item 2.08 below.

2.07. Holzers' Corroboration of Hessen Declaration

These 2 affidavits are entitled “Holzers' Corroboration of Hessen Declaration” and both are dated November 3, 1998.

The purpose of these affidavits was to provide legal backing for Hessen’s claim to ownership of Rand’s papers. However, they included some very interesting historical anecdotes. They are tangents to the auction, but very charming tangents. (The paragraph numbers have been removed.)

From Erika Holzer’s affidavit:

I clearly remember sitting on the couch with Ayn Rand and my husband on the evening that he asked her what she had done with the manuscript of TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN.

I remember this for two reasons. First, I was aware of my husband's interest in having the manuscript as a personal memento. Second, I shared his disappointment when Ayn told us that she had given her manuscripts—including the TO WHOM one—to Bob Hessen.

… [attest to…] our daytime trip, with Ayn and her husband Frank, to visit Bob and Bea Hessen in New Jersey to see their new baby, John. I distinctly remember Ayn carrying a shopping bag—"for Bob," she said—and giving it to my husband to carry for her and that Hank put it in the car. I also remember my husband handing it over to Bob after we arrived and Bob making some kind of a quip when he took it and put it away somewhere.

From Henry Holzer’s affidavit:

In August of 1968 Rand informed me that she had terminated her relationship with Mr. Branden, and that it was necessary for her to issue a public statement in THE OBJECTIVIST MAGAZINE to that effect, giving reasons for what later came to be called "the breakup" with Branden. To that end, she enlisted my help in outlining and drafting an essay entitled TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, which was eventually published in the May 1968 issue of THE OBJECTIVIST MAGAZINE (which actually appeared in October 1968).

In reality, I was the architect of, and had substantial input into every aspect of, that essay. Indeed, a considerable amount of Rand's editing on various drafts of TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN was as a direct result of words, phrases, and sentences that I had actually dictated.

Given the importance of TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN to the many supporters of Ayn Rand, and to the maintenance and continuation of her credibility with her many followers, I was (at that time, but no longer), proud of my contribution to TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, and back in 1968 I took great pleasure in having worked so closely on the article with someone I so admired.

Because of the importance and intensity of events surrounding the Rand- Branden breakup, there was much for me to do in connection with it. Then, once TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN was published in October 1968, I turned my attention to other pressing legal matters on behalf of Ayn Rand. Also, I had the rest of my neglected legal practice to deal with.

However, when from time-to-time over the next few months I thought of TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN it fleetingly crossed my mind that the manuscript of the article might be a wonderful remembrance and keepsake of a time when there had been great camaraderie among those of us on the Rand side of the Rand-Branden breakup, and of a time when I had been able to play a major role in safeguarding and advancing Rand's interests.

At that time Rand, my wife Erika Holzer, and I were working on a film project of Rand's novel WE THE LIVING. One evening, probably early 1969, the three of us were at Rand's apartment discussing the film's editing. I remember the episode as if it were today because in the years since then I have had occasion to relate the anecdote to various people.

Rand was sitting on her couch, my wife to her left and I on her right, which was typical. Although we were discussing the editing of WE THE LIVING, somehow, but not surprisingly, the subject of her breakup with Branden came into the conversation tangentially. That subject triggered my recollection of the events of the previous Fall, and that in turn of the TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN article. Without thinking—doubtless because of my subconscious interest in the TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN manuscript—I spontaneously said to Rand something like: "What did you do with TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN?" Rand was puzzled, and replied to the effect that: "It was published last Fall." I realized that I hadn't been clear enough, perhaps because of my reluctance to ask for the manuscript directly, and said something like: "No, not the article, the manuscript." Rand then understood, and said (and this is a verbatim quote): "I gave it to Bob Hessen." To say I was surprised, would be an understatement. When Rand saw my surprise, she added—and this also is a direct quote—"I give him all the manuscripts" (although Rand did not specify fiction or non-fiction, obviously I understood her to mean non-fiction manuscripts). Trying to mask my surprise (and disappointment), I said something like: "How come?" Rand replied to this effect: "Because he asked me for them." I immediately dropped the subject and never again raised it with Rand. However, in the years that followed, I did mention the incident to others. For example, in the early 1980s, after Rand's death, Barbara Branden interviewed me for her biography of Rand (THE PASSION OF AYN RAND). At that time, I told Barbara what Rand had told me about giving her manuscripts to Bob Hessen.

… Robert Hessen has related the story of how my wife and I drove Ayn and Frank to the Hessens' home in New Jersey. Dr. Hessen's recitation is correct, and I can add the following facts. A group of us were invited to see the new baby. Anyone who knew Ayn well in those years can attest to her fears about automobiles. With Nathaniel Branden having been purged, I became Ayn's chauffeur to events which required driving. Thus, I drove Ayn and Frank to the Hessens to see their new baby. It was my custom to pick up Ayn and Frank at their apartment, ride down in the elevator with them, take her arm, escort her through the lobby, and ensconce her in the car which would be waiting at the curb. On the day of the visit to the Hessens, I did just this. Why do I remember it? Because when Ayn answered her doorbell and opened the apartment door, an odd (and embarrassing) thought shot through my mind: She looked like a bag lady. Here was perhaps one of the greatest minds of any age—a short, not young woman—wearing what I thought was a too-large mink coat and carrying a tattered shopping bag. (I assumed it was a baby gift). When we arrived at the Hessens in New Jersey (I think there was snow or ice), I helped Ayn out of the car, took her arm, and, when I relieved her of the shopping bag, I again had the "bag lady" thought. In fairness, I must say that not until last month did I know what was in the shopping bag—but there is no doubt that there was a shopping bag, and that Ayn, and then I, carried it.

2.08. Hessen Responds to Peikoff Innuendo

This document is entitled “Hessen Responds to Peikoff Innuendo” and dated November 1, 1998.

This declaration was made under oath to counter the implied charges of theft made by Peikoff. As with the affidavits above, there are some fascinating historical tangents. One story has already been told in Hessen’s opening speech in the catalogue, but I included it here because more details are presented. (The paragraph numbers have been removed.)

When Ayn was invited to lecture at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, her reaction was one of puzzlement. She had never heard of the Forum, but I had, having spent l958-59 in graduate school at Harvard University. I assured Ayn that it was one of the most prestigious lecture halls in America, so she accepted and began a happy relationship with them that lasted many years.

When Random House was preparing to publish a new edition of Ayn's first novel, WE THE LIVING, she handed me the dustjacket of the l936 edition, on which she had made some hand-written changes, and I typed the new text. After she proofread what I had typed, she tossed the old jacket into her wastebasket. I reached over, pulled it out, and said: "If you are throwing this away, may I have it, as a keepsake?" She said yes, and that dustjacket became the very first item I ever received from her.

I stopped working as Ayn's paid secretary in l96l, but I already had become a close personal friend and confidant. I attended the New Year's Eve party in her apartment on December 31, l96l. I keenly recall the day, a few months later—early in l962—that she asked me as a favor to type a two or three page hand-written manuscript that she had written. When I finished, I brought the pages into her study and she compared her hand-written draft with my typed version. After making some corrections, she started to tear the original in half. I screamed something like: "Stop! What are you doing?" The gist of our conversation follows. Ayn said: "I'm throwing it away." I couldn't believe it, so I responded to the effect that: "How would you feel if one of Aristotle's manuscripts had survived and you were able to see it?" Ayn smiled. "But I have no need for drafts of every article I ever write," she said. "Well, then, if you are going to throw them away, you can give them to me." "What for?" she asked. "What will you do with them?" "Frankly, I don't know," I said, "but someday they may be valuable." "O.K., Bob, but I don't want anyone to see my editing. I will have to rewrite these pages, so no one will see that I changed words or crossed out sentences." "No, no, Ayn, don't do that. I promise never to show them to anyone during your lifetime." She handed me back that first article (which is probably buried somewhere among other documents I still have in storage), and then she systematically gave me her major non-fiction articles for the next fourteen years, until l976. It was the first of nearly 200 manuscripts that Ayn Rand gave me. Over the next 20 years we never again discussed her gifts to me. She just continued to give them.

Ayn admired Bea because of the wide range of her talents and interests. Bea was a gifted photographer and the editor of a quarterly magazine for stamp collectors. She managed, during two pregnancies, to write a book and a hundred-page article for THE OBJECTIVIST about the Montessori Method in early education. She delivered her manuscript to Ayn late in l969, but Ayn did not get a chance to read it immediately. One evening early in l970, Bea and I drove from New Jersey to the offices of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette in Manhattan to view a screening of Justice Inc., a film made by Kerry O'Quinn. We arrived late. I spotted Ayn talking to Barbara Branden, Joan Blumenthal, and Elayne Kalberman. When Ayn saw Bea enter the room, she exclaimed: "Oh, Bea darling" and she walked over to kiss her. It was Ayn's way of showing her appreciation for the Montessori essay whose length and excellence would reduce some writing pressures on her for a few months.

Unfortunately, Bea and I had a falling out with Ayn in l98l.

When Ayn died on Saturday, March 6, 1982, I was in the middle of a teaching term at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. Nevertheless, I flew to New York to commiserate with Peikoff and his future wife, Cynthia, who had borne the long death-vigil at Ayn's bedside. Sunday night in Peikoff's bedroom, in the presence of Edith Packer, George Reisman and Harry Binswanger, Peikoff told me that "the era of purges and denunciations is over," and that he regarded me as a friend and ally, not an enemy, despite my falling out with Ayn in l981.

Around noon on Monday, March 8, l982, at Peikoff's request, I walked with him to East 38th Street in Manhattan, a few blocks from his apartment on 33rd Street, where he took me into a storage warehouse. After he (not I) signed in, a workman took us to a locked room that Peikoff told me was where Ayn had been storing her records. Peikoff did not say for how many years she had been doing so. The room—as I recall it from my one visit sixteen years ago—was roughly eight feet wide, ten feet deep and twelve feet high, and was filled with sealed cartons. Peikoff did not open, and I did not even touch, a single carton during that visit, which lasted less than fifteen minutes. Peikoff and I left the warehouse together. (The atmosphere, by the way, was hardly conducive to leisurely browsing: the room was dark and dank, and it contained no chair or table to work at -- indeed there was little floor room for either.) I do not know if it was Peikoff's first time visiting the storage warehouse, but I do know that it was my first and only time. Not only did I never have "unlimited access" to that room, I never entered it again. I do not recall Peikoff's purpose, if he actually stated one, in taking me to the storage warehouse, but I learned nothing from that one visit except that Ayn had kept a lot of records. I had no idea what period of her life they covered, or what actually was contained in any of the cartons.

On six separate occasions (l964, l969, l970, l978, l980 and l981), Ayn voiced her profound displeasure at some conduct of mine—episodes of which Peikoff and others have full knowledge. (This was, by the way, a common pattern in Ayn Rand's circle: nearly everyone—Peikoff included—was scolded, purged, or banished, at least once.) Putting aside the legal consideration that Ayn's manuscript gifts to me were consummated and thus irrevocable, and despite her aforesaid displeasure, she never once asked me to return a single manuscript page that she had given to me, or even mentioned them at all. (I have detailed contemporaneous notes of the l978, l980 and l981 conversations in which she scolded me.) Not only did Ayn never ask for return of the manuscripts, but quite the opposite: After the 1964, 1969 and 1970 episodes, she continued to give me manuscripts.

A few months after the birth of my son John in October l969, Ayn made a "home delivery" of her manuscripts. She and Frank, in the presence of Henry and Erika Holzer who drove them, came to our house in Skillman, New Jersey, on the outskirts of Princeton, to see our new baby. Professor Holzer has told me that he clearly recalls the incongruity of Ayn Rand, wearing a luxurious mink coat, carrying a crumpled shopping bag filled with a carton inside. When they arrived, he carried the parcel into our house. I independently confirm that her gift that day was not cookies or a baby blanket, but rather something she knew Bea and I would value much more—the latest of her manuscript writings. I remember my feeling of bemusement when she handed me the shopping bag and I saw that the contents were not gift-wrapped, as one might have expected. Then, of course, I realized what was in the box and that no fancy paper was required to enhance her gift.

Other parts of this declaration concern disputing Peikoff’s implied allegations of theft. I feel bad for Hessen that he was subjected to the indignity of having to defend himself against such a spiteful fraudulent travesty. The historical excerpts above are much fresher and captivating without those parts.

2.09. Statement from Barbara Branden

This document is entitled “Statement from Barbara Branden” and is not dated (see Item 2.10 below for probably date). Here is the entire statement as given:

In the light of Professor Holzer's announcement, I see no need to offer evidence of my ownership of my property. Peikoff has conceded it.

Barbara Branden

2.10. Holzer: Peikoff Capitulates

This document is entitled “Peikoff Capitulates” and is not dated. As it mentions that the “the auction has been held,” which occurred on November 18, 1998, and the site was closed on November 20, this was most likely published on November 19 or 20.

Some quotes are self-explanatory:

On the eve of the auction, Peikoff, through his lawyer, Marcia B. Paul, informed Butterfield & Butterfield that the auction could proceed, that he would "raise no legal obstacle," that he would not challenge Branden's or Hessen's title to their manuscripts, and that he would not "claim ownership" of any of their property.

Finally, after difficult negotiations carried on by myself and my co-counsel, Manny Klausner of Los Angeles, assisted by Butterfield's house counsel, Bob Shuken, an agreement was reached which will assure scholarly access to Rand's editing on virtually all of her non-fiction writing: Each side will receive a copy of Branden's and Hessen's original manuscripts.

Now, in the end, Peikoff has capitulated as to title and ownership, the auction has been held, and copies of the Rand manuscripts will be available not merely to those scholars whom Peikoff and The Ayn Rand Institute deem worthy, but to all scholars, everywhere, for all time.

A few points should be mentioned. The first is that the phrase from Ms. Paul, Peikoff’s attorney, "… strongly suggest that you cannot establish valid title to all of the materials which you intend to offer at Auction," is identified as being from her September 25, 1998 letter. This gives the source for the phrase for the article discussed above by Eric D. Dixon in Liberty, “Fighting Over Ayn Rand's Papers.”

Also, Holzer mentions that the settlement document stated the following:

"Peikoff or his designee, may make a copy of any or all of the materials in the auction catalogue…"

In return:

"… Hessen and Branden . . . may make a copy of any or all of the Auction Materials…"

In my original understanding of this, it meant that The Ayn Rand Institute had a copy on file of all the material in the auction catalogue, including the taped interviews used for Barbara Branden’s research in writing The Passion of Ayn Rand. These are not the interviews she conducted with Ayn Rand in the beginning. These were the ones she made after Rand died with people who knew her.

However, in a private correspondence to me, Barbara stated that the settlement covered only manuscripts, so neither Peikoff nor The Ayn Rand Institute have a copy of her research tapes.

Holzer's statement also means that both Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen each have a full copy of all items in the auction catalogue and that these items can be consulted by scholars. That is very good news.

One condition was negotiated: neither Barbara Branden nor Robert Hessen could sell their copies. Whether or not Peikoff can sell his copy was not mentioned by Holzer, but one presumes that he was bound by the same condition.

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Fascinating catalogue entries

Not all items in the catalogue were photographed, but many were. All of them received well-written descriptions with much historical information included. I have included 20 of the 80 items for presentation below. Only one of the items below does not have a photograph and I have not reproduced the full text description in almost all cases to stay within fair use. Also, I resized some of the photos for better Internet viewing and I went easy on the number of manuscript page photographs. Among that wealth of material, it was very difficult to boil the choices down to the ones below.

5850 — Silver print, circa 1909, a studio portrait of Ayn Rand’s family (the Rosenbaum family), a “comfortably middle-class Jewish family” in pre-Revolutionary Russia. [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


The individuals identified in this photograph with reasonable certainty are: center row from left, Fronz and Anna Rosenbaum, Alice’s parents; Alice’s maternal grandmother; Alice’s cousin, Nina; Alice’s maternal grandfather; and on his knee, 4 year-old Alice.

5851 — Sepia-tone silver print studio portraits of 2 year-old Alice Rosenbaum, the first one with her mother, Anna. This would be circa 1907. [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


5859 — Movie poster for The Fountainhead, circa 1949, included in a lot of 4 other items of memorabilia from the film. [Jim Peron collection]


5861 — Letter from Ayn Rand to Barbara Weidman (Barbara Branden’s maiden name). It is dated Chatsworth, CA, September 1, 1950 and it 2 pages typed on personal stationary. [barbara Branden collection] The catalogue gives a partial rendering of the text. From the catalogue:


Dear Barbara:

I’ll tell you frankly that your letters are delightful. You have an unusual ability for suggesting the whole picture and atmosphere around you and it is very interesting to read. I am pleased to see how calm and rational you are—particularly in comparison to Nathan. I’m glad you have no “soul shattering problems,” and that I don’t have to lecture you on why one should not scream in arguments, as I lectured Nathan. If you’ve quarreled “with only three or four acquaintances” that’s an unusual example of stoical self discipline.

I’m waiting with great interest to hear what will happen in your philosophical encounter with Wiffie. I hope you have told him by this time that he is probably a victim of the division between mind and matter. If your theory about him is correct, I would like very much to know what affect it had on him. Anyway, give him my regards and tell him that from your accounts about him I think he is a person worth saving. My congratulations to you on your first convert. If your sister-in-law has begun to call you with questions about the Capitalist economy—then the circle is complete. You are repeating what I did with you and Nathan—and this is wonderful. Just continue and let the light spread further.

I do miss you reading the chapters of my novel [Atlas Shrugged]. As I told you, it did inspire and stimulate me instead of distracting me from my work. I am still struggling with chapter 19 … If any metaphysical problems come up, please let me know and I will try to answer.

With our best regards to your parents and love to you from both of us—


By the way, John Galt is the heroic in man.


5862 — Letter from Ayn Rand to Mrs. Weidman, Barbara Branden’s mother. It is dated Chatsworth, CA, June 30, 1950 and it is one page typed on personal stationary. [barbara Branden collection] The catalogue gives a partial rendering of the text. No photograph was available. From the catalogue:

If, as Barbara tells me, you liked my novel, I must tell you in return that I am very much impressed with your work—namely Barbara. She is one of the nicest and most intelligent young girls I have ever met. What impresses me particularly is her eager and serious interest in ideas, which is rare enough among people, and particularly among women. Yet, this is the only quality that I really like about people, so you will understand my interest in Barbara and Nathan. They are both remarkable children who will have a very hard time among the present day intellectuals, because the modern trend is to penalize intelligence and ability. I will be very happy if I can help Barbara and Nathan with advice and moral support

I feel a great sympathy for Barbara because she reminds me of myself at her age, and I know what sort of subtle injustice an intellectual girl has to suffer while she grows up. If I can help her against being hurt, I certainly will…


Ayn Rand

5864 — These 3 photos are from a group of 53 personal photos from the Barbara Branden collection. The first is circa January 1953 at the marriage of Nathaniel and Barbara Branden. The second and third are time-stamped May 1959, so they were taken in the O’Connor’s New York apartment. The name of the boy in the last photo is not given. From the catalogue:



5866 — The first page of a 14-page essay by Ayn Rand, “Outline of Research Project on the History of American Free Enterprise.” No date is given but it is probably the late 1940’s according to the catalogue. This essay was included in a lot that included 4 other manuscripts: a letter to Isabel Paterson about Rand’s cross-country train ride and three essay drafts, “On Compulsory ROTC,” “An Open Letter to President Truman,” and “Notes on my Present Conclusions about the Emotionalist and the Social Metaphysician.” [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


5868 — These 29 autograph manuscript pages were the gem of the auction. They are numbered 86-90, 94, 95, 95, 174, 197, 208, 264-267, 370, 377-379, 390, 390, 391-392, 394-395, 399-401, 409. [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


These pages are from the first rough draft of Atlas Shrugged, the bulk of which Rand discarded after recopying. These pages survived because Barbara thought to ask if she can keep a sample of the work in progress. (The complete autograph manuscript of Atlas Shrugged is now in the Library of Congress. The text is from Part III, Chapter II, “The Utopia of Greed,” and the following chapter, “Anti-Greed.”

5869 — Photograph of Ayn Rand. The handwriting states: “Completion of Atlas Shrugged.” [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


Barbara snapped this photo of Ayn in March of 1957 just after she wrote on the last page of her manuscript, “‘The road is clear,’ said Galt. ‘We are going back to the world.’ / He raised his hand over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.” Barbara Branden writes of Ayn in her biography, “Later she could remember nothing of that evening, except that she stood up from her desk, walked out of her study in a state of dazed numbness and exaltation, and handed Frank the last page of her manuscript to let him see the words: ‘The End.’” This photo appeared in Branden’s biography of Rand.

5871 — Pack of “Galt’s Gulch” cigarettes produced by Random House for Atlas Shrugged pre-publication party. Who is John Galt? / They know at / Random House is imprinted in gold on the box and a gold dollar sign is on each cigarette. [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


This particular pack of cigarettes was mailed to Barbara Brandon by Random House, and is still in its cardboard mailer featuring a yellow sticker with What would happen if Atlas Shrugged??? emblazoned on the back. Though produced with 10 cigarettes, this package contains only 9—Barbara smoked one.

5872 — “Who is John Galt?” bumper sticker; Bobs-Merril promotional material for The Fountainhead with photograph of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal; New York Times publication day ad for Atlas Shrugged; Letter not described in the catalogue; Letter to Ruth Hill, woman renting Rand’s Chatsworth home, signed by Bennett Cerf of Random House that accompanied advance copy of Atlas Shrugged; Screen Guide for Americans. [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


5873 — Flyleaf only of Atlas Shrugged inscribed to Barbara Branden by Ayn Rand [barbara Branden collection] From the catalogue:


“To Barbara— / for that sense of life which is mine and yours— for starting with the same values and accepting nothing less— / to carry on my battle, my universe and all my values— Ayn / August 15, 1957.” Signed and presented to Barbara Branden two months before the October release date, this well-loved copy bears one of the most remarkable inscriptions in the collection, referring as it does not just to Ayn and Barbara’s shared literary and philosophical interests, but also (according to Branden’s biography) to their shared interest in Nathan.

5874 — Atlas Shrugged inscribed to Daryn Kent-Duncan by Ayn Rand. [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection] From the catalogue:


“To Daryn— / with my thanks for your part in typing the manuscript of this book—with my compliments for your struggle toward Atlantis—and with my best wishes for your future— / Ayn / August 20, 1957.” Daryn Kent typed three-quarters of the manuscript of Atlas Shrugged.

5888 — Photo of Ayn Rand sitting in front of a carved marble inscription from For the New Intellectual, signed to Robert Hessen. It is in a lot of 3 photos, the other two from Hessen’s wedding. The inscription reads: “Today, the conflict has reached its ultimate climax; the choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man's happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces. Ayn Rand” It is incorrectly attributed to Atlas Shrugged in the catalogue. The place where the photo was taken is not given. From the catalogue:


To Bob—the thinker who is also the man of action— / Affectionately / Ayn / 7/15/61

5899 — First page of the autograph manuscript of the rough draft of “Through Your Most Grievous Fault.” This was written for Ayn Rand’s column in the Los Angeles Times and the extensive editing is clearly shown. This page belonged to the lot containing the complete set of manuscripts from Rand’s column, a total of 26 articles, June-December, 1962. [Robert Hessen collection] From the catalogue:


5901 — First page of the autograph manuscript of “Is Atlas Shrugging?,” a lecture delivered by Ayn Rand at the Ford Hall Forum on April 19, 1964, but also published in the August 1964 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter. This page belonged to the lot containing the autograph manuscripts of rough drafts of almost all of Rand’s essays and reviews between1962-1974, including works for The Objectivist Newsletter, 1962-1965 (45 essays), The Objectivist, 1966-1971 (46 essays), and The Ayn Rand Letter, 1971-1974 (72 essays) (Note: Some essays are in more than one part and counted separately.) [Robert Hessen collection] From the catalogue:


5907 — Autograph manuscript journal entry by Ayn Rand entitled “Psycho-Epistemology,” dated June 5, 1968, and written as an attempt to understand Nathaniel Branden’s growing estrangement (3 pages). This was as given as a gift to Barbara Branden by Rand. It was not included in Rand’s published journal entries about Nathaniel (PARC). [barbara Branden collection] The catalogue gives the full rendering of the text, provided below. The catalogue comments are omitted. From the catalogue:



Work-realm p.e. versus personal-realm p.e.

1. In the work-realm, he would never ask himself the question, “What’s wrong with me?” if he is unable to solve some problem. In the personal-realm, he does. There is a difference here in basic approach.

2. In the work-realm, his subconscious feeds him a wide, relevant context automatically. In the personal-realm, he is unable to integrate and thinks in concrete bound, out-of-context manner. (Example: his recent conclusion re: morality and sense of life.)

Yet he is able to think properly about theoretical problems of psychology or morality. Therefore, this indicates that he has exempted himself (and his personal problems) from wider principles, from his entire abstract knowledge.

3. Fear is absent from his work-realm p.e.; he is motivated exclusively by a positive: the “understanding premise,” the desire to know. His personal-realm p.e. is dominated by fear (of what?)—and the “understanding premise” is singularly lacking; instead, he has a kind of hopeless, reluctant, dutiful approach—as if he is doing it for me or others; but, for himself, the “understanding premise” is irrelevant. Here, it seems, at times, to be deeper than fear: it is not that he is afraid to discover something about himself, and not that he has given up hope of discovering it—but that he has never grasped the necessity to understand, as if, to himself, he is an irreducible primary (emotionally and psychologically). (The Christophian “great man” self-image is, probably, crucially important here—as the probable cause.) (Also: it is possible that years of repression and selflessness have made it difficult for him to understand himself—and now, in rebellion, his self-assertion takes the form of not wanting to question anything about himself. I.e., years of improper self-doubt and unearned guilt have made him decide to doubt nothing about himself and not to question any possibly earned guilt.

4. In the work- realm, he does not excuse his errors on the ground that “reality did not cooperate”—i.e., that he didn’t have enough evidence, etc. In the personal-realm, he “alibis” constantly; he blames his state on “historical” misfortunes and shows too much self-pity and resentment. This is a blatant contradiction of his knowledge—of the fact that events as such cannot influence a man, only what he thinks about the events, can.

5908 — Autograph manuscript journal entry by Ayn Rand entitled “The Moral Authority Premise,” dated June 5, 1968, and written as an attempt to understand Nathaniel Branden’s growing estrangement (9 pages). As with the above document, this was given as a gift to Barbara Branden by Rand. It was not included in Rand’s published journal entries about Nathaniel (PARC). [barbara Branden collection] The catalogue gives a partial rendering of the text, provided below. The catalogue comments are omitted. From the catalogue:


The “action-premise” has become an ego-value.

One can sacrifice everything (including one’s emotions) to action—only if one believes, in essence, that action is the only moral absolute and the only requirement of self-esteem. Then, it is action as a primary, not thought.

Thought is then taken as a means, action as the end. This is fine, as far as it goes—but action is not an end in itself. Yet in the above context—it becomes an end in itself, and ultimate goal or value, both morally and existentially.

Consequences: existentially—the willingness to work for an indeterminate beneficiary: the “cause”—or posterity—or others. Emotionally—a growing sense of emptiness, a blind rebellion, the reaching for pleasures on the range-of-the-moment, not of context. The repression of serious, integrated emotions has to lead to a kind of whim-worship, which feels like self-assertion and which is a blind (non-intellectual, unconceptualized) rebellion against an undefined sense of self-sacrificial “meta-selfishness.” (This is what I fear most in him.) The result is a Dr. Stadler (he, too, sacrificed everything to action, to his work) or Einstein or Wagner on the “Sound Barrier” character.

The “action premise” as an ego-value is the real or deepest cause of his surrender of “meta-selfishness.”

The remedy: regard the action-premise (in its present state) as a vice, not a virtue. Take no action without a fully concretized answer to: What’s in it for him? (For him, the person—personally and meta-selfishly.) And: conceptualize his self-image, his moral sense of life—and his entire personal-emotional realm.

Re: myself. I cannot stand the sense of growing [psychoepistemological] alienation. The more we talk, the less I understand. Also, I have the feeling that nothing I say or discover will be heard, that his mind will not pick it up actively, that everything has to be chewed—I don’t know how much. I am getting enormously exhausted.

(I cannot stand the mystery of the issue of P.)

5914 — Contract between Rand and Erika Holzer for publication of Holzer’s article, “The War of Liberation in Hollywood” in The Objectivist. [Henry Holzer collection] From the catalogue:


Eight months after the dissolution of NBI, Rand signs this contract agreeing to buy Erika Holzer’s article, a critique of the cynicism of contemporary Hollywood cinema. The document is actually an old NBI contact, and so beneath the Empire State Building address the magazine’s new address (Ayn’s apartment) has been stamped. Also, in the last paragraph, Ayn has inked out two references to the Nathaniel Branden institute and initialed the emendations. When the article appeared in the June 1969 issue of The Objectivist, Rand was listed as coauthor.

5920 — Rand’s comments on Robert Hessen’s article in Baron’s, “Creatures of the State? The Case against Federal Chartering of Corporations.” [Robert Hessen collection] From the catalogue:


And across the front page of Hessen’s article (which appeared in the May 24, 1976 edition of Barron’s), Rand writes, “Congratulations, Bob! This is a brilliant article. AR.” Throughout the text, Rand highlights the arguments she finds most effective, writing “Good!” “Excellent!” and even “Good God!” in the margins. Hessen’s article is a critique of Ralph Nader’s report, “Constitutionalizing the Corporation,” and his proposal to require federal charters for corporations.

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Auction results

The two articles referenced below cover the results of the auction, which far exceeded expectations. The article by Rosemary McKittrick (which is available online on her website) is shorter, more general, and with a rounded total figure for the auction ($1.2 million) whereas the one by Raymond William Bradford is far more detailed. It came out in the same issue of Liberty as the one by Eric D. Dixon (“Fighting over Ayn Rand's Papers”) discussed above and it is available through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine (with link provided below).

The excerpts from the articles are self-explanatory. Both are highly interesting reads and Bradford’s is more complete.

As with all professional auctions, the identities of the buyers are not disclosed except when the buyers want to go public later.

Documents of Ayn Rand Inspire Interest from Captains of Industry

by Rosemary McKittrick

April 30, 1999

Barbara Branden, Rand’s biographer, and Robert Hessen, the late-author’s personal secretary, consigned the items to Butterfield & Butterfield’s. The sale was simulcast in their San Francisco, Los Angeles and Elgin, Ill., galleries. The handwritten manuscripts comprised virtually all of Rand’s literary output between 1962 and 1974.

“Barbara Branden and Robert Hessen had a sentimental attachment to the items, but like good Libertarians and Capitalists they wanted to sell them,” says Catherine Williamson, cataloguer for the auction. “Many of the bidders were first time buyers here, captains of industry, who saw Rand’s books as a source of inspiration.”

All four of Ayn Rand’s major literary manuscripts are in the Library of Congress, except for 29-pages of “Atlas Shrugged” offered in this auction, the sum of her fiction. Virtually all of her non-fiction works, 163 philosophical manuscripts, were sold on Nov. 18.

Very little Ayn Rand’s material sold at auction before this sale. So there wasn’t a track record of auction results. Some people were skeptical about the possible outcome. But the prices speak for themselves. The auction totaled $1.2 million.

Note that the above article states that “virtually all” of Rand’s non-fiction manuscripts were sold in auction. To be precise, these papers were mostly first drafts.

The Selling of Ayn Rand's Papers

by R.W. Bradford

Liberty, March 1999

A few pieces of Randiana have been sold at auction over the years, but mostly the material was pretty inconsequential: for example, a few years ago, the Ayn Rand Institute auctioned off two small boxes of pebbles that Rand had picked up along the highway in Colorado while on a cross-country trip. In competitive bidding, Rand's admirers paid hundreds of dollars for the pebbles, leading some to wonder whether Rand's admirers were willing to treat anything she ever touched as religious icons — and leading others to wonder whether there might be a lot of demand for Rand material. But most of what little Rand memorabilia came into the marketplace was sold discreetly in private sales, so no one really knew what to expect.

The auction was conducted more-or-less in chronological order. The first item to go up for bids was a studio photograph of Rand's family, taken around 1909. It was hammered down at $1,100. The next was two baby photographs of Rand, which realized $862.50.* The third lot was a publicity photo Rand had inscribed to her brother-in-law, which drew $3,450. The sale was off to an excellent start.

The first item to break the $10,000 barrier came only a few minutes later, when a letter from Rand to Barbara Branden's mother was hammered down at $12,000 (or $13,800 with buyer's fee). Moments later the first of the manuscripts went up for sale: a nine-page draft of an unfinished essay entitled "Consciousness, Purpose & Happiness," which Rand had written in 1955 to help clarify her thoughts in preparation for writing "Galt's Speech" for Atlas Shrugged. It sold for $14,950.

The very next lot was one of the most important: 29 pages from Rand's original manuscript for Atlas Shrugged. The pages were mostly non-consecutive, and came from Part II, chapters 2 and 3. Bidding started at $30,000 and rose quickly in increments of $5,000 to $10,000 until the lot was hammered down at $210,000 (or $233,000 including the buyer's fee).

And then it was time for the first large group of Rand's manuscripts to go up for bids.

The lot consisted of the manuscripts for the entire run of Rand's weekly newspaper column. The manuscripts for the 26 columns include nearly 300 pages. This was the largest lot of Rand's manuscripts to be offered up to this point. It hauled in $90,500.

Lot 5901 consisted of 165 manuscripts, including everything Rand wrote for the three publications she edited, The Objectivist Newsletter (1962-1965), The Objectivist (1966-1971) and The Ayn Rand Letter (1971-1976). All told, this lot included 3,940 pages in Rand's handwriting. The material wasn't as exciting as the pages from the Atlas Shrugged manuscript. But there was so much of it! Bidding started at $250,000, and rose in increments of $10,000 until it reached $400,000 (with buyer's fee, $442,500).

Then came two of the most interesting items in the entire sale: two brief manuscripts in which Rand attempted to deal with the loss of the love of Nathaniel Branden, both written on June 5, 1968, during the period in which Nathaniel would neither renew his sexual relationship with Rand nor explain to her that he had found a new love. The first, three pages of notes entitled "Psycho-Epistemology," sold for $4,600. The second, "The Moral Authority Premise," running nine pages, sold for $9,400.

All told, the sale realized a very impressive $1,178,602.50. Barbara Branden's items fetched $376,301.25. Robert Hessen's parcels garnered $724,647.50. Items consigned by others — Daryn Kent-Duncan, Jim Peron, Joan Blumenthal, Henry Holzer, Barbara Efron, Paul Eisen, and Ryan York — sold for a total of $77,653.75.

When auctioning a collection, conventional wisdom recommends breaking it into small lots, except in cases of extremely inexpensive material. The reason is simple: more people can afford to buy less expensive lots, and the more bidders, the higher the prices will likely climb. So one has to wonder why the sale included two huge lots: the lot of 26 newspaper columns totaling some 283 pages and the lot of all Rand's writing for The Objectivist Newsletter, The Objectivist, and The Ayn Rand Letter, totaling some 3,940 manuscript pages and 15 typescript pages.

Robert Hessen knew well that they would likely realize substantially higher prices if broken into smaller lots. But he insisted on selling them in the two large lots, in hopes that they would find a home at a major research institution, either via direct institutional purchase or by route of donation from the purchaser.

In the wake of the sale, the market for Rand books, manuscripts and memorabilia seems extremely strong. But only time will tell whether demand is solid at the price levels achieved at the auction. Material from the sale will likely be sold at public auction in the near future. And it's likely other material will also. Rand inscribed a lot of books in her lifetime, and there may be as many as thousands of other manuscript pages somewhere out there. If there are, chances are very good that the prices realized at this sale will attract them to the auction block.

But one thing is certain: there will never be another sale of Rand material like this one.

I would like to borrow those words and repeat them: “there will never be another sale of Rand material like this one.”

The following section is a list of lots in the order given in the catalogue, but without the photographs or descriptions. It is mainly for reference, but I find it highly interesting to skim through it.

Catalogue lot entries

1905-1949: The Early Years

5850 — Photography: The Rosenbaum family. (1 photo) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5851 — Photography: Childhood photos of Ayn Rand. (2 photos) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5852 — Photography: Signed photo of Rand. (1 photo, signed to Nick, Rand’s brother-in-law) [barbara Branden collection]

5853 — Fiction, inscribed. Anthem, Pamphleteers edition, inscribed to Barbara Branden [barbara Branden collection]

5854 — Fiction: Rand’s personal copy of Calumet “K” [barbara Branden collection]

5855 — Fiction. The Fountainhead. Barbara’s copy from before when she met Rand. [barbara Branden collection]

5856 — Fiction, signed. The Fountainhead. Signed on flyleaf. [Henry Holzer collection]

5857 — Fiction, inscribed. The Fountainhead. Inscribed to Pilar by Rand with other inscription by Peikoff. [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection]

5858 — Correspondence: Rand to “Miss Lev.” (1 page, signed draft) [barbara Branden collection]

5859 — Ephemera: Movie posters. (5 items for The Fountainhead) [Jim Peron collection] (presented above in this article)

5860 — Ephemera: Movie posters, promotional materials. (2 items for The Fountainhead) [Robert Hessen collection]

1950-1957: The Brandens and Atlas Shrugged

5861 — Correspondence: Letter to Barbara Weidman. (2 pages, typed and signed) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5862 — Correspondence: Letter to Mrs. Weidman. (1 page, typed and signed) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article) (presented above in this article)

5863 — Photography: Signed photo of Rand. (1 photo, signed to Reb, Barbara’s mother) [barbara Branden collection]

5864 — Photography: Personal photos from the Branden collection. (53 photos) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5865 — Photography: Group portrait of “The Collective.” (1 photo, taken at wedding of Harry and Elayne Kalberman) [barbara Branden collection]

5866 — Typed manuscripts of early non-fiction. (5 manuscripts): (1) A 6-page letter to Isabel Paterson about her cross-country train ride, (2) A 14-page essay, “Outline of Research Project on the History of American Free Enterprise, (3) A 2-page draft of essay, “On Compulsory ROTC,” (4) A 5-page draft of essay, “An Open Letter to President Truman,” and (5) A 2-page draft of essay, “Notes on my Present Conclusions about the Emotionalist and the Social Metaphysician” [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5867 — Manuscript: “Consciousness, Purpose and Happiness.” ( A 9-page essay written as one of the exercises for Galt’s speech) [barbara Branden collection]

5868 — Manuscript: Atlas Shrugged. (29 autograph manuscript pages from the first rough draft) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5869 — Photography: Atlas Shrugged. (1 photo, taken by Barbara at completion of Atlas Shrugged) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5870 — Photography: Signed photo of Rand. (1 photo, signed to Nathan and Barbara) [barbara Branden collection]

5871 — Ephemera: Atlas Shrugged. Pack of “Galt’s Gulch” cigarettes produced by Random House for Atlas Shrugged pre-publication party [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5872 — Ephemera: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. (5 items): (1) Typed letter to Ruth Hill, woman renting Rand’s Chatsworth home, signed by Bennett Cerf of Random House that accompanied advance copy of Atlas Shrugged, (2) Screen Guide for Americans, (3) Bobs-Merril promotional material for The Fountainhead with photograph of Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, (4) “Who is John Galt?” bumper sticker, and (5) New York Times publication day ad for Atlas Shrugged [barbara Branden collection]

5873 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged, inscribed to Barbara Branden [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5874 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged, inscribed to Daryn Kent-Duncan [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection] (presented above in this article)

5875 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged, inscribed to Allan Blumenthal [Joan Blumenthal collection]

5876 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged, inscribed to Joan Blumenthal [Joan Blumenthal collection]

5877 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged, inscribed to Robert Hessen [Robert Hessen collection]

1958-1968: The Nathaniel Branden Institute

5878 — Ayn Rand as editor: revisions to We the Living dust jacket. (Marginalia in pencil on dust jacket of original edition of We the Living) [Robert Hessen collection]

5879 — Fiction, inscribed. (2 items) We the Living and The Fountainhead, both inscribed to Joan and Allan Blumenthal [Joan Blumenthal collection]

5880 — Fiction, inscribed. We the Living, inscribed to Daryn Kent-Duncan [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection]

5881 — Fiction, inscribed. We the Living, inscribed to Robert Hessen [Robert Hessen collection]

5882 — Print materials. Published articles, essays and journals. (6 items): (1) “JFK—High Class Beatnik?” (Human Events, XVII, 35, III, Sept. 1, 1960—5 copies), (2) “The Meaning of Money” excerpted from Atlas Shrugged (Shaker Savings Association—8 copies), (3) Screen Guide for Americans, (4) “A Letter from Ayn Rand” (2 copies), (5) “The Money-Making Personality” (Cosmopolitan, April 1963), and (6) Barbara Weiss, The Objectivist Calendar, Numbers 1-20, June 1976-June 1979 (additional copies of 5, 11, 17 and 18) [Robert Hessen collection]

5883 — Non-Fiction, inscribed. For the New Intellectual, inscribed to Barbara Branden [barbara Branden collection]

5884 — Non-Fiction, inscribed. For the New Intellectual, (2 copies) one inscribed to Allan Blumenthal and the other to Joan Blumenthal [Joan Blumenthal collection]

5885 — Non-Fiction, inscribed. For the New Intellectual, inscribed to Robert Hessen [Robert Hessen collection]

5886 — Non-Fiction, inscribed. For the New Intellectual, inscribed to Reb, Barbara Branden’s mother [barbara Branden collection]

5887 — Non-Fiction, signed. For the New Intellectual [Robert Hessen collection]

5888 — Photography: Signed photo to Robert Hessen. (3 photos): One of Rand sitting in front of carved marble inscription from For the New Intellectual (incorrectly attributed to Atlas Shrugged in the catalogue) inscribed to Robert Hessen and two of some members of The Collective at Hessen’s wedding [Robert Hessen collection] (presented above in this article)

5889 — Manuscript: “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.” Autograph manuscript of draft of speech (61-pages) [Robert Hessen collection]

5890 — Manuscript: “Art and a Sense of Life.” Autograph manuscript of draft of speech (39-pages) [Robert Hessen collection]

5891 — Manuscript: “The Fascist New Frontier.” Autograph manuscript of draft of speech (54-pages) [Robert Hessen collection]

5892 — Contract for Rational Self-Interest. 1-page Memorandum of Agreement between Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden regarding royalty distribution by Curtis Brown Ltd. for what was to become The Virtue of Selfishness [barbara Branden collection]

5893 — Non-Fiction. The Virtue of Selfishness, first hardcover edition [barbara Branden collection]

5894 — Contract for Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. 1-page Memorandum of Agreement between Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden regarding royalty distribution by Curtis Brown Ltd. [barbara Branden collection]

5895 — Non-Fiction. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Number 3 of a signed limited edition of 700 [barbara Branden collection]

5896 — Non-Fiction. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Number 357 of a signed limited edition of 700 [Henry Holzer collection]

5897 — Correspondence: Postcard to Daryn Kent. Sent by Rand in 1966 from Ouray, Colorado, the real-life inspiration for “Galt’s Gulch” [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection]

5898 — Correspondence: Letter to Daryn Kent. In pencil by Rand giving house instructions [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection]

5899 — Manuscripts: The Ayn Rand Papers. The complete set of manuscripts from Rand’s column, June-December, 1962. Autograph manuscripts for 26 articles (281 pages, plus 3 typed pages)—the hand-written drafts for articles in the Los Angeles Times [Robert Hessen collection] (presented above in this article)

5900 — Manuscripts: The Ayn Rand Papers. Autograph note of draft of ad for The Objectivist [Henry Holzer collection]

5901 — Manuscripts: The Ayn Rand Papers. Almost all Rand’s essays and reviews between1962-1974. Autograph manuscripts of drafts for articles in The Objectivist Newsletter, 1962-1965 (45 essays), The Objectivist, 1966-1971 (46 essays), and The Ayn Rand Letter, 1971-1974 (72 essays) (Note: Some essays are in more than one part and counted separately) [Robert Hessen collection] (presented above in this article)

5902 — Fiction, signed. Atlas Shrugged. 10th anniversary edition, number 15 of 2,000 signed by author [barbara Branden collection]

5903 — Fiction, inscribed. Atlas Shrugged. 10th anniversary edition, number 54 of 2,000 signed by author, and inscribed to Bea, the wife of Robert Hessen [Robert Hessen collection]

5904 — Fiction, signed. Atlas Shrugged. 10th anniversary edition, number 15 of 2,000 signed by author (Note: the number 15 is probably a typo in the catalogue) [barbara Efron collection]

5905 — Contract for stage version of The Fountainhead. Agreement drawn up by Curtis Brown agency and signed by Ayn Rand and Barbara Branden granting Barbara the right to make a stage adaptation of the novel [barbara Branden collection]

5906 — Typed manuscript: stage version of The Fountainhead. [barbara Branden collection]

1968: “The Break”

5907 — Manuscript: “Psycho-Epistemology.” Autograph manuscript journal entry written trying to understand Nathaniel Branden’s growing estrangement (3 pages) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5908 — Manuscript: “The Moral Authority Premise.” Autograph manuscript journal entry written trying to understand Nathaniel Branden’s growing estrangement (9 pages) [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5909 — Document announcing Rand’s break with NBI. (1-page signed) Notification addressed to subsidiaries of NBI [barbara Branden collection]

5910 — Correspondence: Rand’s break with NBI. (1-page signed) Typed notification letter to NBI Communications concerning the cancellation of the production of phonographic records of lectures and articles [barbara Branden collection]

5911 — Correspondence: The dissolution of NBI. (1-page signed) Typed cease and desist letter to NBI Communications concerning the reproduction of limited editions of Ilona’s painting of Rand [barbara Branden collection]

1969-1982: The Later Years

5912 — Typed manuscript: On Apollo 8. (2 pages) Entitled “Brief Comments,” dated January 2, 1969 and containing autograph corrections [Robert Hessen collection]

5913 — Ayn Rand as editor: Notes on “For Thine is the Glory.” Typed article by Daryn Kent-Duncan entitled “For Thine is the Glory: On the Nature and Function of the Performing Artist” with marginalia by Rand (19 pages). Together with 3 typed carbon copy letters to fans, 1963 (5 pages) [Daryn Kent-Duncan collection]

5914 — Contract between Rand and Erika Holzer. For publication of Holzer’s article, “The War of Liberation in Hollywood” in The Objectivist (Note: Standard printed contract from NBI days with handwritten and stamped alterations) [Henry Holzer collection] (presented above in this article)

5915 — Screenplay by Erika Holzer with marginalia by Ayn Rand. Entitled The Whole Truth (75 pages) [Henry Holzer collection]

5916 — Ayn Rand as editor: The Objectivist. (4 items) Typed manuscript drafts with edits in pencil by Rand. (1) Robert Hessen’s review of Western Technology and Soviet Economic Development by Anthony C. Sutton, including penciled edits by Hessen (14 pages), (2) Robert Hessen’s review of Omnipotent Government by Ludwig von Mises, including penciled edits by Hessen (12 pages plus 1 handwritten page of corrections by Rand), (3) Article by Robert Hessen, “New Terrorism,” critiquing Marxist philosophy of Marcuse, unpublished (16 pages plus 1 handwritten page of corrections by Rand), and (4) Draft of article by Beatrice Hessen, “The Montessori Revival” (24 pages plus 3 handwritten pages of notes by Rand) later published as “The Montessori Method,” including another draft called “The Montessori Method” (38 pages plus 5 handwritten pages of notes by Rand), including a reprint of the article published and sold by The Objectivist [Robert Hessen collection]

5917 — Manuscript: “On Pollution.” Unpublished autograph manuscript, being a shortened version of “The Anti-Industrial Revolution” (5 pages) [Robert Hessen collection]

5918 — Manuscript: Rand as Philatelist. (3 items) (1) Autograph manuscript draft of “Why I Like Stamp Collecting” (5 pages), (2) Printed version of “Why I Like Stamp Collecting” in Minkus Stamp Journal, VI, 2 (3 pages plus cover page), and (3) Copy of Atlas Shrugged inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Minkus [Robert Hessen collection]

5919 — Manuscript: “On Tax Reform.” Autograph manuscript draft of speech “For Symposium on Tax Reform” (9 pages) [Robert Hessen collection]

5920 — Rand as editor: Comments on Hessen article. Photostat of article published in Baron’s by Robert Hessen, “Creatures of the State? The Case against Federal Chartering of Corporations,” with marginalia by Rand (3 pages) [Robert Hessen collection] (presented above in this article)

5921 — Contract between Rand and Palo Alto Book Service. Typed document (2 pages) signed by Ayn Rand, Robert Hessen and Beatrice Hessen for publishing in pamphlet form Rand’s Ford Hall Forum speech, The Moral Factor [Robert Hessen collection]

5922 — Contract between Rand and Beatrice Hessen. For publication of Hessen’s book review of Teaching Montessori in the Home by Elizabeth G. Hainstock in The Objectivist (Note: Standard printed contract from NBI days with handwritten and stamped alterations) [Robert Hessen collection]

5923 — Contract between Rand and Palo Alto Book Service. Typed document (3 pages) dated June 12, 1976, signed by Ayn Rand, Robert Hessen and Beatrice Hessen for selling the remaining inventory of The Ayn Rand Letter, The Objectivist, bound copies of The Objectivist Newsletter, all pamphlets published by The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist, and remaining stock of Rand’s fiction and non-fiction held by The Objectivist Book Service, Inc. [Robert Hessen collection]

5924 — Fiction: 4 titles in 8 volumes. The Fountainhead, We the Living, Anthem, The Early Ayn Rand [Robert Hessen collection]

5925 — Non-Fiction: 10 titles in 18 volumes. For the New Intellectual, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Romantic Manifesto, Night of January 16th, and 12 other volumes [Robert Hessen collection]

5926 — Fiction and Non-Fiction signed. 6 titles. We the Living, Anthem, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, 14, 4 (July 1953) featuring Anthem, For the New Intellectual, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 4th and 6th signed [Jim Peron collection]

5927 — Collected works, signed and inscribed. 8 titles in 10 volumes. The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged (both inscribed to Paul and Sue Eisen), For the New Intellectual (signed), The Virtue of Selfishness, We the Living, Anthem, Night of January 16th, Who is Ayn Rand? by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden (signed by both authors) [Paul Eisen collection]

5928 — Collected works, signed and inscribed. Collection of over a hundred volumes of Rand titles and related material, amassed over a thirty-year period. (107 items, but full list supplied before auction only on request) Items listed in catalogue: (1) The Fountainhead, first edition, first state, signed by Rand and Frank O’Connor in 1977 (with program and ticket to 1977 Ford Hall Forum speech), (2) We the Living, first edition, first state, inscribed in 1975 to Rick Powelson, (3) Atlas Shrugged, first edition, first issue, (4) Signed items (9 titles) The Fountainhead, We the Living, Night of January 16th, Anthem, The Virtue of Selfishness, For the New Intellectual, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Objectivist Newsletter, Vol I-IV (1961-1965) bound as one volume, (5) The Objectivist, Vol 5-10 (1966-1971) bound in three volumes [5-6, 7-8, and 9-10], and (6) Black and white photograph of Rand at Grand Central Station taken by Theo Westenberger around 1979 [Ryan York collection]

5929 — Archival materials: Barbara Branden’s research for The Passion of Ayn Rand. Audio tapes, photographs and printed materials. (1) Over 100 audio cassette tapes of personal interviews by Barbara with people who knew Rand, 13 audio cassette tapes of Rand’s speeches and radio and television interviews, and (3) 36 photographs (color and black and white) of NBI years. [barbara Branden collection] (presented above in this article)

5930 — Ephemera: We the Living memorabilia. 1 stainless steel Minerva stopwatch used by Rand in editing the reconstruction of the Italian movie version of We the Living, and 11 posters from the 1988 re-release of the film.

The End

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Thank you for putting together this extremely thorough treatment of the 1998 auction and the events that led up to it.

I saw some of this information at the time (courtesy of the OLDFOP site, mostly) but other material that you present here was new to me.

I wonder whether Barbara can enlighten us further about the following:

I see the piles of tapes of the interviews I conducted as research for my biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand, research that occupied two-and-a-half of the most fascinating years of my life. Those years led me to create a unique oral history of Ayn’s life that can never be repeated or superseded. The people whose voices one hears on these tapes, some famous and others unknown, delineated Ayn’s remarkable life from her early years in Soviet Russia to a last conversation with her the night before her death in 1982…

If copies of these tapes were made available to Leonard Peikoff for archival purposes, as per "the deal," has Peikoff made their presence in the Ayn Rand Archives known to anyone else? In particular, was James Valliant informed about them when he was working on his opus?

If Valliant knew about the tapes and was allowed to access them, but chose not to use anything from them in PARC, his failure to use any of these interviews would consitute an unanswerable indictment of his scholarship.


Robert Campbell

PS. The details concerning Peikoff's attempt to block the auction are undodgeable evidence of his predilection for bullying by threatening to bring meritless lawsuits.

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In the original version of the article (last night), I put up a speculation about Peikoff and ARI having a copy of Barbara's tapes because of Holzer's "any and all" comment:

"Peikoff or his designee, may make a copy of any or all of the materials in the auction catalogue…"

The tapes certainly fit that description. But Barbara contacted me and explained that the tapes were not copied. So I have since changed the article.

However, Valliant knew about the tapes. It is impossible to read PAR and not know about them, much less critique PAR. I also have no doubt that he knew of the auction, being Peikoff's buddy and all. The fact that he ranted and railed against lack of sources in PAR and NOT ONCE asked for an interview with Barbara to check some of the details before writing the book already damns his scholarship in my eyes.

It was sloppy research and inexcusable.


PS to your PS: One detail that I did not highlight is that the settlement with Peikoff occurred one day before the auction. Just one day. He was bluffing and held out to the last minute before the sledge-hammer of actionable liability for libel and loss of profits would descend on his head. He has since grumbled about the USA legal structure in discussing the auction. I have no doubt that the need to withdraw and make a statement of withdrawal under penalty of such liability is exactly what he means.

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This is probably wrong but I bet Leonard was beaten up by the other kids on the playground. Most bullies were bullied themselves. Robert; Thank you. All the material was just fanscinating. I want to look at it again. I was aware of the auction but this is my first chance to see some of the information. Thank you, Michael for this article. Thank Barbara and Robert for standing up to Peikoff. Good for them.

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Thanks for the correction about Barbara's interview tapes for The Passion of Ayn Rand not being copied as part of "the deal."

Even so, you are right that Valliant knew about these tapes and should have inquired about them, even if he thought he would be denied access to them.


PS. I'd forgotten the precise timing of Peikoff's decision to drop his suit and take the deal. IMHO, the faults in the American legal system are more on the side of allowing meritless lawsuits to be filed, and even taken to court.

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I looked at this again and it is great. Thank all of you again! Barbara; Can anyone find out who the boy is in that picture. Maybe if we can get an exact date we can get a clue. One farthur note I think the Ruth Hill mentioned as renting Ayn Rand's Chatsworth house is Ruth Beebe Hill who is mentioned in PAR and wrote the American Indian novel. I have to say that I almost wish Peikoff had sued. It would been funny to watch his face when the case was dismissed after his evidence. With the words with prejudice and court costs.

Edited by Chris Grieb
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Could you add Don Hauptman's material about the Ayn Rand Playboy interview. The Playboy interview other than her books is the only item about Ayn Rand that both ARI and TOC sell. The Playboy interview is probably outside of the novels the item that introduced more people to Miss Rand and her ideas.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good morning friends,

I did just join this wonderful site and introduced myself on the other board yesterday as some of you are aware.

In 1998 when I found out that this auction was happenning I was ecstatic. I was overseas at the time in Asia yet I managed to be hooked into the auction on the phone and was able to bid through a Butterfield employee would who bid for me on my orders and explain what was going on in terms of bidding and her feeling about prices etc and how many bidders so I was able to make some rational decisions-although some were irrational as one can really get caught up in the frenzie when bidding and also where emotions are involved it does get quite wild.This lady by the way was terrific in her help for me of seeing the picture so to speak.

Anyway I ended out buying 5 books that were autographed by Ayn Rand to people in her inner circle. I managed to purchase the Atlas Shrugged copy signed to Barbara Branden as is mentioned in this thread. That is my favorite of the books that I bought. I also have one signed to Mr.Hessen.

I purchased as well the photograph of Rand of above Lot # 5888 which is now in a beautiful frame on the wall in my office at home where I see it daily.

The lot that I wish to write about and ask about is Lot # 5929. This was one of the last lots sold and it was bizarre because for me this was the most one of the most important lots at the auction.

Lots of the items in the 4-5 boxes were not even mentioned in the auction or the auction guide book( they could not have been because of the amount of documents and items in the boxes).

Believe it or not-due to my work for the past years I have spent much time in Asia and Europe and never really had the opportunity to go through everything and I obviously had everything in safekeeping. Recently though I have managed to start to go through these boxes.

I will write here some of the contents and answer any questions ( and ask some too ) .

Included in these boxes:

The manuscript from ''Passion'' and the tapes that have been made reference to here. There are 2 boxes of tapes and I think well over 100 or so.

Many prints from Capuletti.

So many original pictures of Rand , The Brandens, Greenspan, and others in the inner circle.

I am actually overwhelmed as to where I would start in order to document everything and all the files that were included here.

Lots of documents about the split back and forth.

So many books and pamphlets from the Objectivist lectures.

I just sit down and start looking then reading letters such as the one from Barbara Branden to Rands' sister in Russia and then the reply and also the manuscript of the actual conversation which is a little bizarre from the side of how she responded when Barbara indicated that Rand had died.

I just did want to start by mentionong this and discuss this a little . My only reason for writing this is that now I finally have a place that I can share these wonderful treasures.

I do have to start work now, so I will check in later,

Kind regards and thank you for reading,


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Marc; This sounds like really great material. I would guess the tapes you have are not the tapes of Ayn Rand and Frank O'Conner. I have the hope that there would be an annoted copy of PAR as a way shuting up some of Barbara's crictics. It would also be a way for serious biographers to authentic items in Barbara's book. A good full lengt biography of Ayn Rand would be several volumes. Thank you again as we go on the first steps of this road.

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All I know about the tapes is that there is 1 box of around 100 tapes and another box of around 25 tapes.

I have opened them up and looked at the names and most names are unfamiliar to me( I should probaly write them down and post here ). The smaller box indicates that this was research for Passion.

Believe it or not , I am a little afraid of listening to one in case of the tape breaking. I have decided to wait and get a professional to copy them maybe onto a cd or something for backup. I am nervous about that although I would love to hear one. My discipline is important to preserve this history !

First steps of many here,


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I did wish to add something earlier but I forgot.

The condition and organization of these letters and documents are surreal. How Barbara Branden kept these files including so many newspaper clippings and the organization of the files and letters and documents is something that is simply brilliant.

I have documents from yesterday that are not in as good condition as most of these are !


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Marc; I think it is safe to say that Barbara knew these items were going to be very important to a huge number of people in a time when all of those who read this forum will be long gone. I think your caution about the tapes speaks well of you. You are a wonderful addition to Objectivist Living. Thank you for your joining.

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Nice to know the materials haven't gotten into the wrong hands. Wouldn't want them to be bur(n or i)ed by researchers out to prove a thesis.

Edited by ashleyparkerangel
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Thank you for those kind words Chris and APA


So last night I started going through some tapes between taking my daugters to ballet , and watching 1 daughter at her winter concert playing violin afterwards . That being said you understand my time restrictions sometimes and why I have to do this at a snails pace !

As understood, these tapes are research for ''Passion'' and many of the names are in the book where I was able to crossreference many. I only did go through the first box which included some wonderful treats !

My daughters were excited and were pleading for me to listen to ''only 1 tape'' so they could hear the voice of Ayn Rand.My discipline did not waver though- Murphys' law, right ?

There were at least 6 tapes of interviews on the radio .

CBC ideas-Ayn Rand 1973

AR on Bob Grant WMCA radio

AR on Tom Synder NBC

AR on Johnny ( CATON ?) 1967

AR on Bob Grant again 1973 WMCA

The Donahue tapes

There were also tapes from the following people during interviews and many were circa 1982-1985. Some of these include the following names and please forgive me if the spelling is incorrect as I tried my best to copy the spelling from the tapes but some letters were a little rubbed out. I added the years where indicated on these tapes.

Joan Joyce

Robert Nozick and Lester Hunt 85

Jean Drew

Ted Hall and Isabel Patterson 84

Alan Colling

Joan Blumenthal

Ron Paul

OT Nelson

Shirley Maxwell Black

Sidney Hook

Roger Lee

Marjorie Hanson 82

Gillian davison

Nancy Fooshee

Doug Rasmussen

Hank Holzek

Ed Clark

Bob Poole

Jeanne Drew

Harry Browne

Marge Shilcoat ( Alfred Kohlberg daughter)

Beatrice Walker

I did write something in my first post here that could be an error.I wrote that I had the manuscript from ''Passion'' and it may or may not be true. I have 3 copies I think-I saw 2 last night but have 1 more in another unopened box of drafts or a manuscript and also a few screenplays I saw. I actually am not sure what the proper name( manuscript, screenplay or draft or something else) is so hopefully I have not offended anyone if in fact it was not the manuscript.

As the holidays roll around I do plan to organize and file and categorize and report all my exact findings here. I also have relied a little on my fading memory but I want to be very exact.

I do feel slightly liberated that I have started this , finally.


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While we're on the subject of tapes, does anyone know if Rand's interviews with the Columbia University radio station are still around? She made them in the early 60s with student questioners and, in some cases, Nathaniel Branden or John Hospers. They talked about humor, the media and science fiction among other topics, and they'd make interesting documents today.

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Marc; I can identify some of the people on your list. Ed Clark and Harry Browne were both Libertarian candidates for US President. The tape about Isabel Patterson must be someone who knew Isabel since she died in the late 50ths or early 60ths. Duncan Scott has an Objectivist History project which began about three years. One of points Duncan made was the number of people who have already died who knew Miss Rand. Thank again for joining Objectivist Living.

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