The Civil War Art of Using Words to Assuage Fear and Convey Love

Soldiers and Their Families, Sometimes Barely Literate, Turned to Letters to Stay Close

Sarepta Revis was a 17-year-old newlywed when her husband left their North Carolina home to fight in the Confederate States Army. Neither had much schooling, and writing did not come easily to them. Still, they exchanged letters with some regularity, telling each other how they were doing, expressing their love and longing. Once, after Daniel had been away for more than six months, Sarepta told him in a letter that she was “as fat as a pig.” This may not seem like the way most young women would want to …

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The Peculiar Endurance of the Physical Signature

Why Do We Still Have to Print out Forms, Sign Them, and Scan Them Back In?

Last summer, an exhibit at the Guggenheim—“The End of Signature” by Polish artist Agnieszka Kurant—used a mechanical autopen to produce identical signatures every 30 seconds. The artwork was inspired by …

The Most Influential Southern Art School You Never Heard Of

At North Carolina’s Black Mountain College, Avant-Garde Artists Taught Students to Ignore Everything They Had Been Taught

“It must have been so much fun to be at Black Mountain,” a friend said the other day. She’d been up to Boston for the “Leap Before You Look” show …

The Laptops That Powered the American Revolution

Always on the Go, Our Founding Fathers Waged Their War of Words From the Mahogany Mobile Devices of Their Time

Delegate to the Continental Congress. Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. General Washington’s aide-de-camp. Secretary of state. President of the United States. Secretary of the treasury. During their lifetimes, Thomas Jefferson, …

Casanova Was More Than a Good Lover

The Infamous Seducer Wasn’t Merely After Conquest. He Chased Intelligent Conversation and Passionate Affairs to Remember.

He first saw Henriette when she was travelling with an army officer and disguised as a man, though everyone could tell that she was a beautiful woman. His love grew …

How the 1992 L.A. Riots Sparked My Imagination and Opened My Eyes

Research For My Novel Uncovered Tales of Survival in a City I Had Never Fully Known

I didn’t set out to write a book about the 1992 L.A. riots. In fact, if anyone had told me I’d end up writing a novel featuring 17 different first-person …