With the help of an undergraduate student and an intern, I have been going through and sorting the correspondence for the past few months. While I have not been able to read all the letters, those that I have had the opportunity to peruse have shed light on Ellis’s character.
He was obviously blunt and to the point, but remained professional with intelligent delivery, none the less.
My intern, Grace Smith, who has been sifting and sorting the correspondence had the following to say about her experience:
"Processing the correspondence of the Albert Ellis papers has been shocking, but at the same time has shed light on Ellis’ personality. The letters I have been processing covers an array of topics and concerns, including fan mail (praising Ellis for his published works, his theories, or his positive effect on patients), criticisms of his theories or his literature, letters from patients seeking advice, correspondence with publishers, conference-related publicity or arrangements, and personal letters, among others! His response varies depending on the nature of the letter, though one thing can be said of his replies–he is generally quite frank."
I have posted some examples of correspondence found within this collection below.
What is rather incredible is that as far as I can tell Ellis responded to the majority (if not all) of the inquiries he received, and he received quite a bit. I have yet to find one form letter–he personally answered his fan mail which came in many forms. Many individuals who were not his patients wrote to him asking for advice with regard to personal issues, some wrote to criticize, others requested copies of his writings, and many were patients. Regardless, Ellis took the time to pen a response.
Ellis even responded to advertisers–he was apparently not too pleased with the World of Beauty.
In the letter below, Mr. Walker wishes for Ellis to include his illustrations in a forthcoming book, but Ellis’s publisher, Lyle Stuart, feels the illustrations are "naive." While Ellis does not agree with Lyle, he does stipulate that the "love prop" illustrations should not be included in final publication as those illustrated are not "legitimate" props, and would thus not serve to enhance sex relations between two persons. I have scanned the letter along with a few love props below and am inclined to agree with Ellis on this one.
The document below is not correspondence, but I included it because it was found within correspondence and appears to be the Match.com of the ’60s .