Remarkable collection of over 450 letters by celebrities and notable figures from a wide variety of fields, dated from 1976 to 1983, all written in response to the simple question: “Do you believe in God?” Represented within the collection are noteworthy actors, actresses, musicians, athletes, politicians, religious figures, scientists, businessmen, and more. The letters were compiled by Paul Rifkin, who wrote to prominent people posing as a fifth-grade student doing a school project. After receiving responses to his inquiry, he replied to reveal himself and ask for permission to publish their answers. With the approval of many respondents, Rifkin edited a compilation entitled The God Letters, published by Warner Books in 1986; a softcover copy of the book accompanies the collection. In overall very good to fine condition. Due to the large quantity a few other secretarial and/or printed signatures may be included. Interested parties are encouraged to view the collection in person at our offices or call us with specific inquiries, as this collection is sold as is and no returns will be accepted. A complete collection of images is available here: (A-D), (E-K), (L-Q), (R-Z).
A small sampling of these letters:
Mother Teresa: “Faith is more important to me than life itself because without it there would be no fullness of life.”
Cat Stevens, signed “Yusuf Islam”: “I’m sure you will find that hidden inside my music was the soul of a seeker, and I am now happy to say that I have found what I was looking for…I decided to embrace Islam and worship Allah, Lord of the Universe, Creator of life and death, and to seek true knowledge of Him.”
Ayn Rand: “No, I do not believe in God.”
Charles Schulz: “Your question is one that is most intriguing, but I am afraid is also much too profound to be answered in a simple manner.”
Jimmy Carter: “I have believed in God since I was a young man.”
Barbara Bush: “I feel God’s presence often but especially at the times of birth and death.”
Ted Kennedy: “The belief in a source of strength greater than our own can bring not only courage and comfort during difficult times, but also the humility to embrace the truly meaningful things in life.”
Francis Crick: “No, I do not believe in God.”
James D. Watson: “I do not believe in God!”
Muddy Waters: “I have always valued my religious beliefs as being extremely personal and therefore do not make public statements about my feelings.”
George Foreman: “After my last boxing match on returning to the dressing room I lost my life yes, DIED…I said, I do not care if this is death I stell believe in God. When I spoke dose words there was once again life in my body.”
Allen Ginsberg: “God is a pickle…If pickle wants to be god, pickle will be god. He’ll be god maybe 10,000,000 years in the highest God Realms. But then he’ll get sick of being pickle. So then he’ll decide a permanent self is not necessary.”
Highlight list (plus those quoted): Ralph Abernathy, Ansel Adams, Arthur Ashe, Joan Baez, Joey Bishop, Mel Blanc, Frank Borman, William F. Buckley, Jr., Anthony Burgess, John Cage, Erskine Caldwell, Frank Capra, Harry Chapin, Cesar Chavez, John Cheever, Mark W. Clark, Arthur C. Clarke, Michael Crichton, Bing Crosby, James Dickey, James H. Doolittle, Milos Forman, Arthur Goldberg, Wayne Gretzky, Ron Guidry, Lee Iacocca, Christopher Isherwood, Ken Kesey, Norman Lear, Doris Lessing, Claude Levi-Strauss, Karl Malden, Marcel Marceau, Rod McKuen, Larry McMurtry, Margaret Mead, Stirling Moss, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Floyd Patterson, Linus Pauling, Sam Peckinpah, Irving Penn, George Plimpton, Rusty Schweickart, Vin Scully, Pete Seeger, Georges Simenon, B. F. Skinner, Benjamin Spock, John Updike, Peter Ustinov, Max Von Sydow, Elie Wiesel, John Wooden, and Loretta Young.
Complete list: Ralph Abernathy Ansel Adams Sherman Adams Edward Albee Robert Altman Kenneth Anger Arthur Ashe Edward Asner (secretarial) Lew Ayres Charles Azavour Joan Baez Pearl Bailey (secretarial) Howard Baker (autopen) James A. Baker (autopen) Russell Baker Bob Barker Rona Barrett Anne Baxter Birch Bayh Peter Beard Ralph Bellamy Joan Bennett Robby Benson Thomas Berger Rudolph Bing Joey Bishop Mel Blanc Bill Blass Henry Bloch Erma Bombeck Julian Bond (secretarial) Simon Bond Victor Borge Frank Borman Bill Bradley (autopen) Oscar Brand George S. Brown H. Rap Brown Helen Gurley Brown Phyllis George Brown Dave Brubeck Zbigniew Brzezinski Art Buchwald (secretarial) William F. Buckley, Jr. Ellsworth Bunker Anthony Burgess Gary Burghoff Ellen Burstyn (secretarial) Barbara Bush George Bush (autopen) Dick Butkus Earl Butz John Byner (secretarial) Patrick Caddell Herb Caen John Cage Mary Calderone Erskine Caldwell Joseph Califano Roy Campanella (stamped) Dyan Cannon Frank Capra Hoagy Carmichael Hodding Carter Jimmy Carter Lillian Carter Oleg Cassini Harry Chapin Cesar Chavez Paddy Chayefsky John Cheever Anna Chennault Noam Chomsky Julie Christie (secretarial) Michael Cimino Craig Claiborne Mark W. Clark Arthur C. Clarke Bobby Clarke William Sloane Coffin (secretarial) Charles Collingwood Bob Considine Norman Cousins Jacques Cousteau Archibald Cox Harvey Cox (secretarial) Philip Crane Michael Crichton Francis Crick Judith Crist Bing Crosby Norm Crosby Bob Cummings Mario Cuomo (autopen) Samuel Dash Clive Davis Ossie Davis Rennie Davis Pam Dawber Michael DeBakey Olivia de Havilland Ronald Dellums James Dickey Bo Diddley Phyllis Diller Bob Dole James H. Doolittle Nelson Doubleday Hugh Downs Robert F. Drinan Michael Dukakis David Douglas Duncan Will Durant Douglas Edwards Ralph Edwards Paul Ehrlich Milton Eisenhower Albert Ellis Werner Erhard Clifton Fadiman Mike Farrell Orval Faubus Gerry Faust Jules Feiffer Bob Feller Marshall Field James Fixx Rhonda Fleming Betty Ford (autopen) George Foreman Milos Forman Bob Fosse H. Bruce Franklin William Fugazy Martin Gabel Zsa Zsa Gabor Roman Gabriel William Gaines George Gallup Stephen Gaskin Larry Gatlin John Gavin Eugene Genovese Archimedes Giacomantonio Allen Ginsberg Ralph Ginzburg John Glenn (printed signature) Arthur Goldberg Harry Golden Barry Goldwater (autopen) Pancho Gonzalez Sandra Good Mark Goodson ‘Little Anthony’ Gourdine Katharine Graham Ella Grasso Barry Gray Edith Green Bud Greenspan Wayne Gretzky Paul Grossinger Ron Guidry Janet Guthrie Monty Hall Marvin Hamlisch Billy James Hargis Tom Harmon Julie Harris Huntington Hartford Tom Hayden William Randolph Hearst, Jr. Henry Heimlich Nat Hentoff John Hersey Walter Hickel Al Hirt Ernest Hollings Celeste Holm (secretarial) Paul Horn Paul Hornung Ching-yu Hsu L. Ron Hubbard (stamped) William Bradford Huie E. Howard Hunt (unsigned) Kim Hunter Tab Hunter Lee Iacocca Janis Ian Marty Ingels (ANS on photo) Christopher Isherwood Burl Ives (by Mrs. Ives) Anne Jackson Keith Jarrett Robert Jastrow Jacob Javits (secretarial) Peter Jennings Hamilton Jordan William Jovanovich Stacy Keach (secretarial) Clarence Kelley Kitty Kelley Jack Kemp Edward Kennedy Deborah Kerr Walter Kerr Ken Kesey Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (stamp) Austin Kiplinger Charles Kirbo Eartha Kitt Calvin Klein Fletcher Knebel Edward Koch Christopher Kraft Stanley Kramer (unsigned) Paul Krassner Juanite Kreps Stanley Krippner Bowie Kuhn William Kunstler Bert Lance Walter Lantz (unsigned) J.H. Lartigue Tom Lasorda Paul Laxalt Norman Lear Brenda Lee Ursula LeGuin Janet Leigh Lennon Sisters George Leonard King Leopold (secretarial) Doris Lessing (secretary reply) Julius Lester Richard Lester Sam Levenson Claude Levi-Strauss Anthony Lewis Art Linkletter Sol Linowitz Marty Liquori Russell Long Tina Louise Henry Luce Gisele MacKenzie Shirley MacLaine (secretarial) Robert MacNeil Karl Malden Terry Malick William Manchester Michael Manley Marcel Marceau Stanley Marcus Mary Martin Wink Martindale Johnny Mathis Walter Matthau Peter Matthiessen Rollo May Charles McCabe Mary McCarthy Paul McCloskey Roddy McDowall George McGovern Mary McGrory Dorothy McGuire Floyd McKissick Rod McKuen Ed McMahon Larry McMurtry Robert McNamara Margaret Mead Audrey Meadows (secretarial) Jayne Meadows George Meany David Meltzer Lorne Michaels (secretarial) Marvin Miller Wilbur Mills Ronnie Milsap Newton Minow Marvin Mitchelson Walter Mondale Carlos Montoya (wife’s reply) Dudley Moore Tad Mosel Robert Moses Stirling Moss Stewart Mott Bill Moyers Roger Mudd Iris Murdoch Bill Naughton Scott Nearing Jacob Needleman Hildegarde Neff Bob Newhart Julie Newmar Jack Nicklaus Paul Nitze Louis Nizer Conor Cruise O’Brien Merlin Olsen Peter O’Malley Milo O’Shea Buck Owens Arnold Palmer Joseph Papp Estelle Parsons Joe Paterno Floyd Patterson Pope Paul (secretarial) Jane Pauley Linus Pauling Tom Paxton Norman Vincent Peale Drew Pearson Sam Peckinpah Irving Penn Claude Pepper Charles Percy (autopen) ‘Digger’ Phelps Marge Piercy George Plimpton Norman Podhoretz Eliot Porter Charlie Pride Nathan Pritikin William Proxmire Randy Quaid Ayn Rand A. Philip Randolph Maureen Reagan Ronald Reagan (secretarial) William Rehnquist (autopen) James Reston Frank Reynolds Malvina Reynolds Elliot Richardson David Riesman Cathy Rigby John Ritter Joan Rivers Lynds Johnson Robb Joseph Robbie Oral Roberts Sugar Ray Robinson Mrs. Norman Rockwell Bill Rodgers Peter Rodino Carl Rogers George Romney Andy Rooney Reginald Rose Elisabeth Kubler Ross Theodore Roszak (secretarial) James Rouse Darrell Royal Dean Rusk Jane Russell (secretarial) Mark Russell Jim Ryun Carlos Santana (secretarial) Vincent Sardi Andrew Sarris Francesco Scavullo Dore Schary Chris Schenkel Murray Schisgal Phylis Schlafly Arthur Schlesinger Michael Schmidt Daniel Schorr Avery Schrieber Charles Schulz Richard Schweiker Rusty Schweickart Lizabeth Scott William Scranton Charles Scribner Vin Scully Pete Seeger Erich Segal Hubert Selby Forrest Shaklee Del Shannon Bill Sharman Fulton Sheen Martin Sheen Sargent Shriver Don Shula Jack Sikma Alan Sillitoe Georges Simenon William Simon B.F. Skinner Margaret Chase Smith William French Smith Paul Smucker Tom Sneva Hank Snow Jacki Sorenson Ann Sothern David Soul Lawrence Spivak Benjamin Spock Robert Stack Ben Stahl Maurice Stans Bart Starr Kay Starr Harold Stassen Roger Staubach Mary Steenburgen William Steig Gloria Steinem (secretarial) Carl Stern Cat Stevens Susan Strasberg Gerry Studds Loretta Swit Barry Switzer Thomas Szasz Maxwell Taylor Edwin Teller (secretary reply) Mother Teresa Studs Terkel Robert Theobald Lowell Thomas, Jr. Hunter Thompson William Irwin Thompson Ingrid Thulin Strom Thurmond John Tower (autopen) Lee Trevino Bess Truman Barbara Tuchman Jerry Uelsmann John Updike Peter Ustinov Jack Valenti Richard Valeriani Charles Van Doren Cyrus Vance Gwen Verdon Max Von Sydow B.J. Vorster (not signed) George Wallace (secretarial) Irving Wallace Joseph Wambaugh John Warner Lesley Ann Warren (secretarial) Muddy Waters James D. Watson Tom Watson Carl Weathers Jessamyn West Betty White Kevin White Tom Wicker Elie Wiesel (secretarial) Lenny Wilkens Fred Willard G. Mennen Williams Meredith Willson Paul Winchell William Winpisinger Joel-Peter Witkin John Wooden Keenan Wynn Sam Yorty Andrew Young (stamp) Burt Young Loretta Young Pia Zadora Efrem Zimbalist Stephanie Zimbalist Howard Zinn Fred Zinnemann Elmo Zumwalt
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.