JFK condolence letters published

Letters to Jackie: Condolences From a Grieving Nation by historian Ellen Fitzpatrick is a collection of condolence letters Mrs. Kennedy received in the wake of her husband’s assassination. The outpouring of grief was so enormous — the White House got 800,000 condolences in the first seven weeks alone — that most of the letters were …

GA Museum publishes all medieval Italian art in North America

The Georgia Museum of Art has published the first part of a massive compendium of all the Italian paintings made between 1250 and 1500 on canvas and wood found in North American collections. Part one is titled Corpus of Early Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections: The South. Author Perri Lee Williams of Miami …

Medieval penitential sex flowchart

Penitentials were handbooks listing many sins a confessor could be expected to encounter during private confession and the appropriate penances he should assign for each act (or the appropriate moneys the penitent should pay to commute a penance). They were first compiled by Irish monks in the 6th century when the practice of private confession …

Louisa May Alcott smoked hash

There’s a documentary premiering on PBS tonight at 9:00 about Louisa May Alcott. In conjunction with a new biography about the author, Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women reveals just how varied and rich a life she led. Her father was involved in the utopian and transcendalist movements and was an experimental educator, …

1,000 letters and postcards by Joan Miró to be published

The Joan Miró Foundation is publishing the for the first time over 1,000 letters and postcards written by artist Joan Miró to a wide variety of correspondents over the course of his life. Joan Miró was a Surrealist painter and sculptor who garned huge fame in his lifetime. He rejected the Surrealist label which he …

Original “A Christmas Carol” manuscript on display

Titled “A Christmas Carol in Prose: Being a Ghost Story of Christmas” and prominently autographed by the author on the title page, the original manuscript penned by Charles Dickens will be on display at the the Morgan Library and Museum from November 20th to January 10th. The manuscript reveals the author’s method of composition: the …

Old book smell: Is there anything it can’t do?

An international research team has devised a smell test that determines exactly how degraded the compounds in an old book are, and how best to counteract the decay without having to damage the book to take samples. The method is felicitously named “material degradomics”. Lead researcher Dr. Matija Strlic from University College London’s Centre for …

Happy 50th birthday, Asterix!

Asterix, that indomitable little Gaul, is 50 today, as are his comrades-in-arms from the one village that resists being divided into three parts by Julius Caesar. Asterix got his big break in the magazine Pilote exactly fifty years ago today. His creators, illustrator Albert Uderzo and writer Réne Goscinny, published the first book, Asterix the …

The rise of the decline industry

Check out this neat article about the flurry of recent books about the decline and fall of Rome. It’s by Bryan Ward-Perkins, author of a great decline book of his own, that was the source of the greatest list of all time. His experience gives him an interesting insider’s perspective on what publishers are up …