An early issue of The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, inscribed to Barbara Branden. Octavo, 754pp. Publishers red cloth, gilt title on spine, gilt title on cover. Lacking “first edition” statement on copyright page, but also lacking any notation of additional printings. Includes author statement on copyright page. Auction stamp from USPS on front free endpaper, as this copy was lost in the mail during transit to Branden. Housed in custom made clamshell case, blue cloth, title in gilt over red morocco label on spine, in fine condition. In later issue dust jacket, $6.00 on front flap, archival reinforcement on verso at spine, light toning to spine, overall very good. (Perinn, A3a). Signed on the front endpaper by author Ayn Rand: “To Barbara – for a very heroic achievement – with love – Ayn. April 9, 1956.” An exceptional inscription, with Ayn Rand only signing “with love” to a few intimates during her literary career.
Comments: After consultation with the Ayn Rand Institute of Irvine, California, the consensus is that this book was intended for Barbara Branden. In the spring of 1956, Barbara was studying at New York University, looking to earn a Master’s in Philosophy. She had just finished her Master’s Thesis, titled “Human Freedom and Human Mechanism,” which she read to a crowd in Ayn Rand’s presence. She submitted the thesis and earned her master’s in early spring of 1956. The inscription, “for a very heroic achievement,” is likely an illusion to her graduation.