Readers Respond to the November 2020 Issue

Your feedback on our coverage of snake venom, Rosa Bonheur and the staff behind-the-scenes at the White House

Forgotten Brilliance

Although I hadn’t heard of Rosa Bonheur (November, “The Redemption of Rosa Bonheur”), her story and her artwork blew me away. I can’t believe she was once lost to history. I am so grateful to Katherine Brault for acquiring Bonheur’s chateau and restoring the atelier. I hope to someday visit the place where this amazing artwork was created.

—Kay Johannes | Random Lake, Wisconsin

It was quite a coincidence that only hours after reading “The Redemption of Rosa Bonheur,” I saw that she is cited in the Netflix film The Queen’s Gambit. It just shows again that the Smithsonian’s digging into the past can have current resonance.

—Herb Boyd | New York City

Snake Venom Antidote

As a clinical laboratory scientist with a specialty in hematology and coagulation, I used snake venoms daily to perform coagulation testing (“The Deadly Shortage of Venom Antidote”). I find the philosophy of the Instituto Clodomiro Picado to produce reasonably priced antivenom for multiple locations around the world admirable. It is quite a contrast to the U.S. antivenom, which costs 100 times more.

The First Residence

I often wondered about the White House staff (“Welcome to the White House”). So often, the people behind the scenes never get the recognition they deserve. Bravo, staff. You do a truly thankless job.

—Meg Murphy Lopez | Facebook

A History of Hedges

Scotland Yards” reminded me of growing up in London surrounded by pretty bushes. But they always seemed to be hiding something. On becoming a historian, I learned about a darker reality lurking behind the neat hedgerow: dispossession, enclosure, eviction and notions of superiority. Our home in urban North Carolina has no hedges.

—Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie | Durham, North Carolina

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