Salinger and the architecture of personal mythology – how “a broken soldier and a wounded soul transformed himself, through his art, into an icon of the twentieth century and then, through his religion, destroyed that art.”
"I feel in my inmost heart your admirable qualities & feelings & all I would hope is that you might direct them upwards."
Emma Darwin’s beautiful love letter to Charles, 30 years and ten children into their marriage.
“The world of learning is so broad, and the human soul is so limited in power! We reach forth and strain every nerve, but we seize only a bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us.”
Timeless wisdom on science and life culled from the diaries of pioneering astronomer and kick-ass woman in science Maria Mitchell
“To me a heaven would be a big bull ring with me holding two barrera seats and a trout stream outside that no one else was allowed to fish in and two lovely houses in the town.”
Hemingway’s ideas of heaven and hell – the 26-year-old author’s letter to young F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The more one does the more one can do.”
Amelia’s collected wisdom on life, based on her letters to her mother:
"You are my idea of a good writer because you have an unmannered style, and when I read what you write, I hear you talking.
One thing about the book made me nervous. It was entirely too obvious that you are smarter than I am. I hate that.”
Isaac Asimov’s fan mail to young Carl Sagan:
How to quit your job like Sherwood Anderson – the best resignation letter ever written:
How we got “please” and “thank you” – a short, fascinating read:
"I want to see you. It is really absurd. I can’t live without you. You are so dear, so wonderful. I think of you all day long, and miss your grace, your boyish beauty, the bright sword-play of your wit, the delicate fancy of your genius, so surprising always in its sudden swallow-flights towards north and south, towards sun and moon — and, above all, yourself."
Oscar Wilde’s stirring love letters to Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas
“There is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
The godfather of gonzo journalism on Truth.
In early 1956, an RCA publicist asked legendary photographer Alfred Wertheimer to shoot a 21-year-old up-and-coming singer in Memphis named Elvis. “Elvis who?” Wertheimer stared blankly — but he took the assignment. How bewildered he would have been to know that the young man before his camera, to whom he was given unlimited access and of whom he’d take nearly 3,000 photos that year, would go on to become a legend, a heartbreaker, a catalyst for a new kind of consumer culture, a king of pop culture — THE King.
Wertheimer’s photographs from that year, along with a small selection of his rare 1958 pictures of the King being shipped off to an army base in Germany, are now revealed here:
"Maurice’s pleasures were his obsessions, and every one of them was contagious.”
Sendak as a teacher – lessons in art, storytelling, and life from his 1971 course at Yale:
"No appreciation for the wondrous discoveries of modern astronomy and space exploration would be complete without a thoughtful consideration of the foundations of modern science and experimentation that were built by our ancestors. Many of their achievements were attained at great personal or professional cost, and many others were not recognized as important until decades — even centuries — later."
A brief visual history of space and astronomy in 250 milestones:
Virginia Woolf’s never-before-seen witty family newspaper, illustrated by her nephew, Quentin Bell:
The surprising history of the pencil – or, what medieval smuggling has to do with the atomic structure of carbon: