New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1933. Rand's husband Frank O'Connor's copy, with autograph manuscript signed by O'Connor on the front flyleaf: a love poem to Rand featuring all the letters of the alphabet. Original black publisher's cloth binding with spine sympathetically rebacked. Faded gilt to front board. Rubbing and shelwear to extremities. Green endpapers chipped but present. An exceptional and unique memento from O'Connor and Rand's marriage.
Beginning his love poem at A with "Ayn" and ending at Z with "Zenith," O'Connor moves through the 26 letters at times focusing on his wife's intellect ("Necessity" and "Novelist" at N) and at others being all affection ("pretty plaything" at P, for example, and "XXXXXX" at X). The manuscript is a sign of the couple's deep and complex relationship, which shaped both of their art. While O'Connor, a painter, was inspired by Rand's work on individuality and objectivism, Rand turned to her husband as the basis for her heroes. "'Every hero was modeled after him,' Rand said, 'I sometimes took an entire monologue from him and slipped it into my book. When I couldn't think of a title for one of my novels, he did. He told the whole story in two words.' Mr. O'Connor's two word title was Atlas Shrugged'" (New York Times obituary). None of this is to say that the marriage was a straightforward one. When Rand initiated an affair with Nathaniel Brandon, her "philosophical soul mate, unlikely lover, and business associate" 25 years her junior, "at Rand's insistence, both of their spouses knew of their extramarital relationship, though few outside their inner circle did" (New York Times obituary). Yet for O'Connor and Rand, an open marriage did not diminish their dedication to one another; and Rand always said "We really were spiritually collaborators. I have always told him I could not have written without him" (Rand Institute). A unique and tactile sign of the artistic couple's love.
Bonhams lot 3157 (2005). Provenance: From the private collection of Jay T. Snider (Item #2751)