Description: This letter, one of the long chain of correspondence between Kent and his good friend Leonard Halpin, refers to the political content of Halpin's last letter; Kent says, in part, "We, like you, have our fingers crossed about Nixon..." He admits, however, that the country's "widespread relief at the retirement of Johnson" gave "Nixon an aura he is by no means entitled to." He has "no faith" in Nixon to take "any stand to end the shameful war in Vietnam" or devote federal funds to alleviating poverty. He also deplores the potential antiballistic missile project and the "costly race to be the first to land on the moon."
Kent then turns to his personal life, where he has finally "succeeded, with the help of a book-selling friend, in buying back the plates of 'It's Me, O Lord' from its publisher, who had been holding them for an unconscionably high ransom. Consequently we are now hard at work adding fifteen years of my life to the book." That work entailed "endless research in our enormous files - files which we roughly estimate as holding at least thirty- or forty-thousand letters in addition to a countless number of other documents that I may have to draw upon." Kent's home and library were destroyed by a fire just over a month after this letter was written, and though most of his personal papers somehow survived with minimal smoke and water damage, he donated them to the Archives of American Art before the rebuilding of his home. Those events may have contributed to the fact that he did not end up publishing an updated edition of the autobiography.
Kent closes the letter by 'introducing' Halpin to a correspondent who collected Kent's books, and who happened to live in Halpin's Connecticut town, and by giving the customary update on the yellow-woods and invitation for Halpin to visit Ausable Forks.
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was a prolific American artist and author, as well as a socialist political activist. He is best known for his book illustrations, particularly for editions of Moby Dick and the works of Shakespeare, as well as his own memoirs, in addition to his painted landscapes of the wilderness of Greenland, Tierra del Fuego, Alaska, Newfoundland, and Maine. He was very interested in politics and ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress in 1948. His socialist activism and connections to the Soviet Union affected his popularity as an artist and author and led to the revocation of his US passport (ultimately returned to him by the Supreme Court in 1958) and to his being awarded the USSR's Lenin Peace Prize in 1967.
Typed on a page of Kent's stationery, with the red Rockwell Kent/Ausable Forks image at the top center of the page. Kent signed as simply "Rockwell," in blue ink, in his typical small, cramped hand, at the end of the letter. The paper measures 11" x 8.5" Item #A00685
Condition: Several 1/8" tears at upper edge, fold lines; otherwise in very good condition.