Readers Respond to the July/August 2023 Issue

Your feedback on quilts, Los Alamos and more

Also Overlooked

It’s supremely ironic that Will McCarthy’s article “The Frontier Midwife” (July/August 2023) bemoaning the lack of recognition accorded Anna Pierce for her research on “milk sickness” almost skips past the Native American woman who flat-out told her, “It’s caused by that plant over there.” Seems like the unnamed Native American woman deserves at least as much recognition. —Bill MacLeod | Whitehall, Michigan

Treasures of Fiber Art

Bisa Butler’s gorgeous quilts (“Dreaming in Color,” July/August 2023) and the symbolism within them are the next step in the evolution of the quilt as art—which it always has been, even though the “art” world denied that for centuries. —Kerry Corthell | Dayton, Ohio

Having grown up surrounded by quilts, there was always a story behind the piece. Bisa Butler’s work combines the art of a storyteller, the art of a photographer, the art of those creating fabrics and her eye for all of these into breathtaking works of art. There is love and story in every stitch. —C.J. Vadovic | Las Vegas

Inside Los Alamos

Thank you for “The Moment of Truth” (July/August 2023) and for the pictures included with it. I have always been interested in World War II, and especially the development of the atomic bomb, perhaps because I grew up during the “duck and cover” era. I can’t begin to imagine the soul-searching those who were involved must have gone through. Hopefully your article will give others a glimpse of what that must have been like. —Susan Chipman | Suffield, Connecticut

Finding Willa Cather

Kudos to Jeff MacGregor for a beautifully written tribute to Willa Cather, to Calla Kessler for the stunning photos that illuminate the world she lived in and to Smithsonian for recognizing the value of this often-overlooked author to our understanding of the people and the forces that created the American Midwest (“In Search of Willa Cather,” July/August 2023). It was a delight to read and a joy to learn that much of the culture they created still lives on in places like Red Cloud. —Catherine Rudolph | Lompoc, California

Jeff MacGregor found Willa Cather haunting Red Cloud like a magical mist. I hope his charming article will inspire many to read or reread Cather’s great novels and to visit the town and the landscape she so lovingly portrayed. —Malcolm O’Hagan | Chicago

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This article is a selection from the September/October 2023 issue of Smithsonian magazine

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