While it is well
known that Will Durant was a prolific writer, penning
over 6 million words for The Story of Civilization
alone, what is less known is that he also was a
prolific letter writer. His fan mail was extensive
and every week would see him taking time out from his
professional obligations to answer letters from
friends, fans and colleagues.
visitors to The Will Durant Foundation website who
may have some correspondence from Dr. Durant to share
them with us by sending a copy to John Littles
attention via our e-mail address, along with some
information on the background of the letter. Each
month, Will Durant On-Line will feature a new
installment of "Dear Will Durant" which
will highlight some of his more interesting
correspondence, from "letters to the
editor" sections of newspapers, to answering
general queries from fans, to acknowledging missives
from Presidents and old friends.
January 25, 1969
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Durant
I have read, if not completed,
all of your books. I have always profited from them.
As a young teacher I am eager to
share your books and all that they have held for me
with my students.
As great authors you must be
great teachers. Is there some bit of advice, some
suggestion, you could give me in order to make those
living books as important to others as they are to
Melvin L. Riggs
Dear Mr. Riggs,
have no advice for the young that is not traditional
and contained in the old copybook maxims.
I have found that to play fair, to treat every man
and woman as if he and she were honorable and well
intentioned, to be kind and never hurt a persons
feelings, to forgive instead of retaliating
all these are the secret not of material success, but
of happiness and peace. The world is a mirror and
usually returns to you what you present to it.
(Durant wrote on a separate
piece of paper: Ariel, I havent signed
this and speak only in the first person for fear you
will think it ridiculous. But if you can, sign it
just the same Will. Ariel signed it, but
added the following post script:)
There are some things I cannot
forget or forgive the mirror of the world
plays us false sometimes.