John A. Farrell’s essay reviving the question of Clarence Darrow’s complicity in jury tampering in 1911 prompted moral outrage from some readers. Randall Blair of Paso Robles, California, concludes the great lawyer was “worse than the McNamaras,” the brother defendants on trial for killing 20 people in the bombing. Rand Gould of Lapeer, Michigan, takes issue with Farrell’s attempt to find Darrow guilty decades after a court acquitted him. Our cover story about Hawaii’s Haleakala Crater stirred memories. “I am a very pragmatic person, not given to flights of fancy, but I found the place magical and spiritual,” says Shari Prange of Bonny Doon, California. As for the new geographic entity in the map accompanying “Earthquake Central,” Randall Bauer of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, asks, “Is it ‘PennYork’ or ‘Yorksylvania’?’’ In fact, we erroneously omitted the border between the two states. Clyfford Still’s abstract painting [“Seeing the Sublime”] didn’t impress Dianne Daines of Hillsboro, Wisconsin—“WHAAAAT?!” she writes—but Katy Callaghan Huston of Seattle was “delighted.” Our story about Henry Morton Stanley’s exceptional willpower brought a divided response. “Terrific,” says Jacqueline Galloway of Stow, Ohio. But James L. Newman of Syracuse was appalled by the “flawed” portrayal, saying Stanley’s “so-to-speak willpower cost the lives of many, many people.”
Clarence Darrow was a man of exceptional character and courage [“Darrow in the Dock”]. I wept after reading about his NAACP case that established African- Americans’ right to self-defense.
I enjoyed “An Amber Wave,” by Jerry Adler, about old heritage varieties of wheat, and wish to add an important comment. If one understands and believes the science behind the inflammatory and disease-causing effects of modern hybridized wheat, then this story of a new breed of American farmers figuring out an option becomes even more important. Recent research examines how hybridized wheat in our food supply has contributed to obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. I applaud those who challenge the claim that modern wheat products are good for us.
James M. Blum
Delray Beach, Florida
Center of the Nation
According to the caption for the seismic hazard map in “Earthquake Central,” the “center of the continental United States” is near New Madrid, Missouri. When Alaska became a state in 1959, the geographic center of the continental U.S. shifted from near Lebanon, Kansas, to just north of Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Alaska is part of the continental United States though not contiguous to the Lower 48.
Michael W. Sebrey
Surfing the Magazine
I look forward to the new editor’s efforts to “continue the legacy of journalistic excellence” [“Most Interesting” ]. However, I read with apprehension Michael Caruso’s statement that he plans on “evolving our brand for the future multimedia needs of our consumer.” When it comes to Smithsonian, I think of myself as a reader, not a “consumer.” It’s the substance of the magazine that matters. I do not have “multimedia needs” with regard to your fine magazine. When I want multimedia, I surf the web or turn on the TV. I value Smithsonian for the enjoyment and edification I derive from reading (yes, reading) articles without bells and whistles.
Elsa Peterson Obuchowski
“Hawaii’s Hotspot” did not mention Loihi, an active volcano on the ocean floor that could become the next Hawaiian island. Its summit is 3,000 feet below sea level, and scientists expect it to break the ocean surface in about 100,000 years. Be there!
James V. Pollock