Letter 002, back

To AR’s family in Leningrad

The following English note was probably translated into Russian and sent to her family in Leningrad. Although AR kept hundreds of letters from her family, there are no copies of the letters she wrote to them. AR had a chance meeting with DeMille on September 4, 1926, when she went to his studio with a letter of reference. He subsequently hired her as an extra, then as a junior screenwriter.

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Hollywood, June 18, 1927

Hello, everybody!

I would like to write a long letter, but I have not a second to spare. Am very, very busy—writing. So I am sending this to say that I am perfectly all right, very much so. Am very happy with my work and my scenarios. Many, many kisses to all of you, until I will have time for a long letter.

Yours, A.

P.S. Isn't that a beautiful picture? That’s the house I saw when I was driving with C. B. DeMille, as I wrote to you in my last letter.

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The Ayn Rand Archives has no other letters until 1934, when AR purchased a typewriter and began to make carbon copies of her correspondence. (For this edition a 1932 letter the Archives doesn't own has been added.) The intervening years were busy ones for her, both personally and professionally. She met actor Frank O’Connor in 1926 on the set of The King of Kings and married him in 1929. She became a naturalized citizen in 1931. Working first at odd jobs, then at the RKO wardrobe department, she wrote numerous screenplays and short stories, as she strove to master the English language. In 1931, she began her first major novel, We the Living (then called “Airtight”). In 1932, she sold a story, “Red Pawn,” to Universal and in 1933, sold to MGM a play, Penthouse Legend (later retitled Night of January 16th). In 1934, she began planning The Fountainhead (then called “Second-Hand Lives”), although her first formal notes are dated December 4, 1935.