Washington DC: Institute of Inter-American Transportation, 1947. First edition. Original pictorial paper wraps stapled at spine. 199 pages with multiple illustrations and charts. Gently toned, but overall a tight, pleasing copy. With provenance from Ayn Rand's library, and including 45 pages annotated in pencil by Ayn Rand as she conducted research for what would become her most influential work, Atlas Shrugged.
Atlas Shrugged, Rand's fourth, final, and longest novel, depicts a dystopian America where reason, individualism, and capitalism have been set aside in favor of government control and coercion. At the book's center are railroad heiress Dagny Taggart, her steel magnate lover Hank Rearden, and Rand's unforgettable non-conformist hero John Galt. Railroads and trains become more than a backdrop for the action, functioning as a symbol of all that Objectivism can bring to a crumbling collectivist U.S. For this reason, Rand's research into the rail industry was crucial -- and The United States Railway Mission to Mexico provided her with in depth information about the industry. Documenting American efforts to restore and repair railway lines through Mexico, the report contains background on the project's mission and organization, cost and investment numbers, and details on the work done and its results. Throughout in pencil, Rand scores key areas of interest, at times leaving exclamation and question marks for particularly important sections. Of note are sections about insurance premiums on trains and their cargo, the use of trains to ship strategic mineral and mined materials, the acquisition of motor-power vehicles and diesel engines, and the need for rail systems to supply industry particularly in wartime. A unique and important example of Rand's research for her magnum opus, this copy of The United States Railway Mission sold at Bonham's auction in 2005 for $9,987.
Bonham's lot 3205 (2005). Provenance: From the private collection of Jay T. Snider (Item #2750)