New York: Random House, 1957. First edition. Original green publisher's cloth binding. Very Good+ with the cloth worn at the bottom of the spine and lower corners. Hinges expertly closed. Supplied Very Good dust jacket with correct price and issue points for the first printing. Dust jacket with insect damage on the lower panel and flap folds, otherwise presenting well. An exceptional presentation inscription on the front endpaper from Rand to Barbara Branden, her biographer and the wife of her lover: "To Barbara -- For that sense of life which is mine and yours -- for starting with the same values and never accepting less -- to carry on my battle, my universe, and all my values -- Ayn. 15 August 1957." Inscribed on the night of the Random House publication party for the book. This copy last sold at auction in 1998 at Butterfield & Butterfield for $18,400.
At the center of a Ayn Rand's circle of young admirers were the Brandens -- a married couple who partnered with Rand in the establishment of the Ayn Rand Institute and the periodical The Objectivist which were designed to promote Rand's political and economic principles. Very early in the relationship, Rand and Nathaniel Branden began a long-term affair -- a relationship both of their spouses were aware of. Indeed, the two couples viewed the openness of their marriages as an exercise of Objectivist beliefs in non-conformity and individual satisfaction. For Rand, Nathaniel was an intellectual soul mate while her husband, Frank O'Connor, remained the inspiration for most of her male heroes. Atlas Shrugged was, in fact, dedicated to them both. As for Barbara Branden, the relationship between her and Rand is well documented; near this time, she and Rand had worked closely on promoting the philosophy of Objectivism and Barbara compiled a collection of private interviews with Rand to create her authorized biography. Rand's inscription, written on the night of the Random House publication party, hints at no tensions in the women's relationship, instead focusing on their shared values and goals (of which Nathaniel may have been one). It would be a decade later that the collaboration among the couples reached a dramatic final conclusion, with Nathaniel's addition of a new lover leading to a major rift and Rand's ejection of the Brandens from her circle.
Butterfield lot 5873 (1998). Provenance: From the private collection of Jay T. Snider Very Good + in Very Good dust jacket. (Item #2760)