As I write, it is almost March and the cherry trees will soon be gloriously abloom here in the nation's capital. But I digress. The point is that the morning mail brought letters posted in October and November. They were as yellow and brittle as old parchment. A few actually broke in my hands. Slides in holders like the one above were deformed. All this mail had been to Lima, Ohio, to be irradiated.
Like many in Washington, we at Smithsonian are still suffering from the effects of last fall's anthrax fright. Washington's Brentwood post office, which served the magazine for many years, was closed indefinitely after two postal workers died following exposure to anthrax. As a precaution, since October, the U.S. Postal Service has routed Brentwood's mail to Ohio to be zapped. (Fear not, the magazine itself is mailed to subscribers directly from our printing plant in Effingham, Illinois.)
Because our mail now comes to us through a different post office, we have a new address, which all correspondents should use until further notice:
Smithsonian Magazine MRC 951
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Letters written with publication in mind should be addressed to the Letters Editor. Queries and manuscripts from writers should be sent to the Articles Editor. (Alas, we cannot assume responsibility for unsolicited materials—we receive between 10,000 and 12,000 queries and manuscripts each year—though we will try to be as responsible as possible. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and copies of your previously published work.) Do not send photographs, particularly slides—and certainly not originals—through the mail.
Letters about or to the Smithsonian Institution should be sent directly to the Visitor Information and Associates' Reception Center (a.k.a. VIARC) Public Inquiry Mail Service MRC 010, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012.
We welcome all of the 7,000 or more letters we get each year. And we apologize if you wrote to us in the past few months and have yet to get a response. We have a good excuse.