Letter 077

To Benjamin DeCasseres

Benjamin DeCasseres was a syndicated columnist for the New York Journal-American. In his review of The Fountainhead on May 16, DeCasseres praised AR’s hero Howard Roark as “an uncompromising individualist” and “one of the most inspiring characters in modern American literature.” In his May 23 column, he termed The Fountainhead “the most original and daring book of fiction written in this country” and “a bull in the Socialistic-Communistic china shop.” 

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139 East 35th Street
New York City

June 13, 1943

Mr. Benjamin DeCasseres
New York Journal-American
New York City

Dear Mr. DeCasseres:

Thank you very much for your review of my novel THE FOUNTAINHEAD. I was glad that you liked Howard Roark. When I wrote the book I thought that Roark would become a testing-stone for people—they would betray their own nature by the way they’d take him. And it has proved to be so. Those who understand Roark are men with a sense of human dignity. Those who find him “unsympathetic” are second-handers, rotten at the core, rotted by collectivism. 

I have been a reader of your column for years—in fact, my husband and I take the Journal-American because of its columnists. We got angry at the Journal just once and dropped it, then had to go back because we missed you. So it was thrilling to me, in a personal, non-professional way, to see you writing about me. 

I have wanted to meet you for a long time. If THE FOUNTAINHEAD can serve as an introduction, would you let me know and give me an appointment to see you?

Sincerely yours,


Ayn Rand