- A lengthy 2-page letter typed on two sheets of 10-3/8 inch high by 7-1/4 inch wide cream paper with the magazine's PM logo printed in red at the top of the first. A smaller logo, at the top of the second page, indicates that the letter is continued on this page. Signed "Ralph Ingersoll". There are some pencil notes [probably in Ben Hecht's hand] above the letter's salutation. The bottom edges of the 2 sheets are slightly darkened. Folded 4 times for mailing. With a later mailing envelope. Very good.
A wonderfully impassioned letter setting out the terms for Ben Hecht's proposed daily column for PM but, more significantly, in answering Hecht's request for ideas, Ingersoll expands on his vision for the magazine: "The papers print news, but rarely get interested in what's more interesting than the news: what caused the news -- the situation out of which the news came...As I also told you, I can amuse myself almost indefinitely stopping to talk with whoever happens to be on the street. I find if you simply talk and don't ask questions -- questions scare people until they know you -- all kinds of interesting things come out. This is a hell of a big city and nobody's ever done a decent travelogue adventure narrative of it -- visiting various sections as if you were visiting foreign cities for the first time -- and reporting them, wide eyed..."
Hecht's wife Rose has noted on the envelope; "Ben did this job & made 150,000 elsewhere. But this was the important job". Other notations on the envelope are probably in Hecht's hand.
Editor and publisher Ralph Ingersoll led a remarkable career. He was involved in the early years of the New Yorker, Fortune and Life magazines and for two decades ran a large number of small and medium-sized northeast newspapers through his Ingersoll Publications. However, he was best known as founder and editor of the liberal New York City newspaper PM. The paper began publishing in 1940 and closed eight years later. To ensure his independence, Ingersoll refused to accept advertising. PM was the first major American newspaper to advocate United States entry into World War II. Ingersoll enlisted in the war as a private, was promoted to lieutenant colonel and eventually joined the staff of General Omar Bradley. He provided much of PM's European war coverage from his firsthand experience. He also helped to execute the secret plan to deceive the Germans about the location of the Allies' D-Day invasion.