January Letters

Readers respond to the November issue

Vive La Différence

The special 35th anniversary issue about people who have made a difference, chosen from those covered in past issues, is one of the finest that I have ever seen. It is a keeper! Thanks for the depth of this issue.

Jack Holcomb
West Reading, Pennsylvania

I eagerly await my copy of Smithsonian each month, but this issue was a total disappointment. It was lying in the recycling bin within 15 minutes. Your magazine hardly ever gets recycled at all, except to another reader. Why would you deviate from your regular format to celebrate an anniversary? Why leave what has been successful? If you want to give your readers a special surprise, give them more of what you normally do, give them a double issue. I feel like I've been cheated.

Wayne Weiss
Middleton, Wisconsin

You finally did it. After 35 years, during which I read every issue cover to cover, you have produced a boring magazine. If you will just continue doing what you have done so well for the past 35 years, I will forgive this one lapse.

Warren McFarland
Winter Springs, Florida

I have every Smithsonian, beginning with the first issue, and have read each one from cover to cover. I find articles that I wouldn't read anywhere else. When I saw the November cover my first reaction was, "I don't want to read about a bunch of people," but then as I looked at the names, I thought "Well, I'd be interested in that person and that person..." So, once again, I read it from cover to cover. Here's to another 35 years.

Ventura, California

How sad that Smithsonian could think of no better way to celebrate 35 years of publishing than to devote an entire issue to personal biographies. What's the point of preaching to the choir when your audience is already familiar with these illustrious overachievers? Why celebrate with back-patting and horn-tooting?

John Occhuizzo
Greensburg, Pennsylvania

It was such a pleasure to read of the many people who have made such an impact. The November issue was insightful and thoughtful, and touched on so many different fields. No vacuous starlets, no overpaid athletes: these are the real people who make a difference. Bravo!

Nancy Davison
New Braunfels, Texas

Reading the articles in this issue was like having brief conversations with these 35 people who "made a difference." The profiles revealing their lives, thoughts, hopes and concerns may lead others to try to make a difference too.

Lynwood G. Collins
Macon, Georgia

Thank you for profiling Mark Plotkin, Richard Leakey, Daphne Sheldrick, David Attenborough, Daniel Janzen and Janis Carter. These luminaries share a reverence for all life, striving to conserve the planet's ecosystems.

Brien Comerford
Glenview, Illinois

My daughter and I had the pleasure of meeting Sally Ride during one of her science camps at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. My daughter, a fourth grader at the time, has always been interested in science, and still glows when she remembers her conversation with Dr. Ride. Now 16 and a junior in high school, she is the captain of the school robotics team, and spent the summer at her first job building hydrogen energy reactors. She plans to attend the University of Michigan and study astrophysics. All I can say is, "Go, Sally, go!"

Sharon Krasner
Huntington Woods, Michigan

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