Letter 080, pg. 1
To John C. Gall
Ayn Rand met John Gall (1901–57) in 1941, when Gall was the attorney for the National Association of Manufacturers. In her biographical interviews, she described him as “a violent conservative” (“violent” being her word for “extremely passionate”). She hired him in 1946 to handle her piracy claim regarding the 1942 Italian films of We the Living, and later he handled her lengthy and successful effort to bring Marie Strachow, her old Russian family friend and teacher, to America from a war refugee internment camp in Austria. See letters below regarding both of these legal efforts.
139 East 35th Street
New York City
July 4, 1943
Mr. John C. Gall
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Gall:
You have really made me speechless and helpless. I do not know how to thank you for your letter. A reader’s response such as yours is one of the real and rare rewards for being an author, a reward of which an author can feel legitimately proud. I have accepted very long ago and very sadly the fact that the people of our political side seldom back up our ideas with any action. That you did so and that you chose my book to do it makes me more than grateful.
I sent you “The Fountainhead” because I remembered our conversations here and knew that you were one of the few “conservatives” who would understand the philosophical roots of our cause, beyond the surface political slogans. A great many Republicans would be scared to death to recognize that altruism is the curse of the world and that as long as we go on screaming “service” and “self-sacrifice” louder than the New Deal we will never have a chance. In any encounter with collectivists it is always the acceptance of altruism as an ideal not to be questioned that defeats us. I wrote “The Fountainhead” to show, in human terms, just what that ideal actually means and where we must stand if we want to win. If we can make the word “altruism” become a shameful term, which it actually is, instead of the automatic trade-mark of virtue which people think it to be—we will get the Tooheys out of Washington someday.
I have just sent copies of “The Fountainhead” to the list of your friends, inscribed as you suggested. I feel deeply gratified by your selection, because it is a list of precisely the kind of people whom I would like to read my book. If you hear their opinion of it, would you let me know?
As a kind of return present for all these copies of my book which you bought, I am sending you a copy of a book that came out recently—“The God of the Machine” by Isabel Paterson. I think it will interest you. It is the best and most complete statement of the basic