[PW] Request: Bertrand Russell quotation - New York Post 1964 & Objectivist Newsletter

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sun Feb 7 22:46:37 PST 2016

On February 2, 2016 the Facebook feed for "The Economist" sent out a
picture of Bertrand Russell that displayed the following attributed

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong"

I was sent a request to trace the expression.

The Wikiquote page for Bertrand Russell places a version of the
quotation in the 'Disputed" section and gives a 2000 citation to the
reference work "The Times Book of Quotations". This reference uses the
label "Attr." and gives no citation.

The best lead I've found is a Google Books snippet from "The
Objectivist Newsletter" published by Ayn Rand. A seemingly precise
citation pointing to the "The New York Post" is given:

Year: 1964 to 1966 (exact date uncertain; should be after June 1964)
Periodical: The Objectivist Newsletter (The Objectivist)
Volumes: 1-4
Quote Page GB 25
Database: Google Books Snippet View

[Begin extracted text - visible in snippet]
"I once asked [Bertrand] Russell if he was willing to die for his
beliefs. 'Of course not,' he replied. 'After all, I may be wrong.'"
Leonard Lyons, The New York Post, June 23, 1964.
[End extracted text]

The goal of this message is to ask for help to precisely locate and
verify these two citations.

Is there an electronic archive for "The New York Post" in 1964? The
Fulton History database has many issues of "The New York Evening Post"
but the issues seem to stop in 1939.

The columnist Leonard Lyons was widely syndicated although I do not
know how many papers carried his column in 1964. In any case, I have
checked NewspaperArchive, Newspapers.com, Fulton History, ProQuest
Historical and I have not been able to find a match for the text given
in "The Objectivist Newsletter". Perhaps the text was not in the
regular column of Lyons. It might have appeared in a profile of
Bertrand Russell that was only published in "The New York Post".

If there is no database then it may be necessary to look though the
June 23, 1964 issue on microfilm. Any volunteers or suggestions?

Regarding the citation in "The Objectivist Newsletter": Here are some
page numbers for issue covers I've seen online:

1965 January – Page 1
1965 March – Page 9
1965 August – Page 33

Volumes 1 to 4 apparently covered the period from 1962 to 1965. Since
the target text referred to 1964 the citation should be in an issue
from 1964 or 1965. The page number is probably reset to 1 at the
beginning of each year. GB specifies a page number of 25.

Thanks for any help you can provide,

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