reagan 640A new collection of the former President's private letters reveals that Ronald Reagan was a fan of Ayn Rand's work. On pages 281-82 of Reagan: A Life In Letters (New York: Free Press, 2003; edited by Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, and Martin Anderson), we find the following passage:

In a May 23, 1966, letter William Vandersteel, president of the Ampower Corporation, expressed confidence that Reagan could win the presidency in 1968 and enclosed a pamphlet by Ayn Rand titled "Conservatism: An Obituary" written after the 1960 presidential campaign. In the essay Rand argues that many conservatives are opposed to statism but don't seem to realize the only good alternative is capitalism.

Willam Vandersteel
New York, New York
May 23, 1966

Dear Mr. Vandersteel:

Thanks very much for pamphlet. Am an admirer of Ayn Rand but hadn't seen this study.

Sincerely,
Ronald Reagan