More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art

Often the expression of joy or affection, illustrated letters represent an irrepressible urge to picture language. They are evidence of the writer’s use of words and images to amplify the form and effect of a message. The letters have been selected by Liza Kirwin, and are drawn entirely from the collections of the Archives of American Art, encompassing exuberant thank you notes, winsome love letters, lively reports of current events, graphic instructions and other personalized communiques from the early nineteenth century through the 1980s, in each sender’s distinctive style.

This exhibition supplements the publication of the book More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art published by Princeton Architectural Press.