The Fountainhead

This 1999 postal cover commemorates Ayn Rand and her best-selling novel The Fountainhead


The protagonist of the novel, first published in 1943, is Howard Roark, an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision.


The novel has been referenced in a variety of popular entertainment, including movies, television series and other novels, and was also adapted as a screenplay by Rand herself – who had all the necessary qualifications (and contacts) having worked as a writer and reader for most of the big Hollywood studios (Universal, Paramount, RKO, and MGM).

Rand completed her screenplay in 1944, and the film was released by Warner Brothers in 1949 (starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal).


Clearly, Roark had an eye for a typewriter, as did Ivo Van Hove, the director of a 2014 Dutch stage adaptation of The Fountainhead – a production notable for its innovative set design and the projection of images onto one or more big screens…


As the production went on tour around Europe, it seems several portable typewriters travelled with it…


The typewriter above is clearly a Brother electronic wedge, but in the absence of a clearer picture, I’m not sure about this one…


However, there is no mistaking a Mario Bellini designed Olivetti ETP 55 


In 1999, the U.S. Postal Service devoted the 16th stamp in its Literary Arts series to Rand, who was herself a keen stamp collector.


In a 1971 essay, Rand wrote:

“In collecting, every new stamp is an event, a pleasure in itself and, simultaneously, a step toward the growth of one’s collection. A collector is not a passive spectator, but an active, purposeful agent in a cumulative drive.”

For stamp I guess we could just as easily substitute the word typewriter.


Or why not just collect both?


For more about Ayn Rand, I recommend this New Yorker article.


3 thoughts on “The Fountainhead

  1. That machine – if the screen in the background shows the actual view over the keyboard in real time – I’d say it could be a Brother electric one – close to 3600 model…


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