The Seeds of Publishing Anthem

Nicholas Snow

In this February 13th, 1946 letter to Leonard Read, Ayn Rand discusses the possibility of Read’s organization, the Pamphleteers, inc., publishing her novelette, Anthem. She also mentions a screenplay she is writing and asks for some information about industrial concerns for the atomic bomb project.

The Pamphleteers, inc. was an imprint for Read and his friends from the L.A. Chamber of Commerce, including William Mullendore, who was Read’s mentor and good friend. The goal of this publishing organization was to distribute individualist writings. They issued and distributed many works by writers such as Frederic Bastiat, Rose Wilder Lane, and, of course, Ayn Rand. Rand believed Anthem was a perfect fit for the Pamphleteers because she thought it was too short and not important enough to follow the fountainhead, which had just been released to great success. Anthem had come first but was only published in England, so, by releasing it as a pamphlet under the pamphleteers imprint, the short novel could find an audience in the US.

In the other half of the letter, Rand asks Read for some information about business concerns for the atomic bomb. This was a topic which Read had studied with great passion, though it is unclear what information Read was able to pass along. Similarly, Rand did spend sometime in Hollywood working on screenplays. She wrote the screenplay for the film version of her novel the Fountainhead, which stared Gary Cooper. The screenplay she discusses here is part of the work she did for film producer Hal Wallis. He had hired her to work as a screenwriter and script editor.

Download the Letter from Ayn Rand to Leonard Read on February 13, 1946 here.