Fred Allen was a prolific writer of funny, funny letters. He devoted two days of each hectic week to his epistolary pursuits, writing to everyone--to his friends at the West Side ""Y"" , to advertising executives, to fan magazine editors, to men in the armed forces during the war, to fans, and authors, to fellow humorists and show biz luminaries. He wrote for the sheer spontaneous, therapeutic joy of it. An Allen letter, composed entirely in lower case and sometimes on the stationery of ""Matthew Stift, Cleaner of Privy Vaults and Catch Basins, Burnham Building, Chicago , Illinois, "" was a thing to be saved, carried about, pasted on bulletin boards, and read aloud at Lindy's. Allen's lament in one, ""All comedy and humor is a matter of opinion and every advertising executive, every vice- president in the network, every man with any authority in the sponsor's firm and every listener is an authority on what is funny. "" Luckily, in these letters, which span two decades, Allen is the only authority. He was not a print stylist, nor did he make any attempt to be one. This collection is nonetheless a painful reminder of just how good he was, and how anemic is the bloodstream of contemporary, mass media humor.