Letter 081

To Sylvia Bailey, a fan

139 East 35th Street
New York City

July 5, 1943

Dear Mrs. Bailey: 

Thank you for your fine letter. Perhaps I am not too far ahead of my time if I can find a reader such as yourself.    

On the evidence of your letter, I don’t think that you can be one of the “little people.” Not if you respond as you did to Howard Roark. He is really a test for people—in my story and in real life. Only those with a sense of human dignity can and will like him. 

I know that it is usually the most honest people who accept the doctrine of self-sacrifice as an ideal—with the most tragic consequences. If my book has helped you in any way to discard that doctrine and to find a different, positive faith in humanity, I am grateful to know that the book has accomplished its purpose. 

By the way, perhaps your mistake is really a compliment—I am not “Mr.” Rand, but “Miss.” But I am glad if my writing sounds like that of a man. 

Sincerely yours,