More than Words

If things like drawing, snail mail and, especially, penmanship are starting to seem anachronistic, this annotated compendium of letters written by artists (Frida Kahlo, Yves Saint-Laurent, Andy Warhol) makes a case for not letting the art of letter-writing fade into oblivion. Liza Kirwin, the curator of manuscripts from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, has published 96 hand-rendered accounts of travel, love and, maybe most fascinating, news of nothing in particular (baseball scores, the growth rate of pets). Doodled portraits or scenic, watercolor vignettes compressed between lines of text turn simple correspondence into intimate little gifts for friends. More Than Words is a big bowl of small candies for the vicariously minded and a reminder that a small assertion of creativity can resonate for a century.