Visual artists are known for their art, not their handwriting, but their penmanship can offer serious insight into the person behind the words. Pen to Paper: Artists’ Handwritten Letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art by Mary Savig is proof of that. The book is a collection of handwritten letters from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. It features dispatches from over 50 well-known American artists, from Alexander Calder to Georgia O’Keeffe, along with transcriptions, additional images and artwork, commentary and analysis on what we might be able to glean from their writing style.

You can see a few of the letters below (all images courtesy of Pen to Paper, and the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art), and purchase the anthology from Princeton Architectural Press here or Amazon here.

1. MARY CASSATT TO JOHN WESLEY BEATTY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1905

2. GEORGE CATLIN TO D. S. GREGORY, JULY 19 — AUGUST 21, 1834

3. JOSEPH CORNELL, DRAFTS OF LETTER TO TEENY DUCHAMP, OCTOBER 8 AND 9, 1968

4. WILLEM DE KOONING TO MICHAEL LOEW, MARCH 28, 1966

5. DAN FLAVIN TO ELLEN H. JOHNSON, JANUARY 22, 1979

6. MARTIN JOHNSON HEADE TO FREDERIC EDWIN CHURCH, APRIL 27, MAY 6, JUNE 16, 1868

7. WINSLOW HOMER TO THOMAS B. CLARKE, JANUARY 4, 1901

8. RAY JOHNSON TO EVA LEE, SEPTEMBER 15, 1969

9. CORITA KENT TO BEN SHAHN, CIRCA 1960

10. LEE KRASNER TO JACKSON POLLOCK, JULY 21, 1956

11. CLAES OLDENBURG TO ELLEN H. JOHNSON, AUGUST 17, 1974

12. EERO SAARINEN TO ALINE SAARINEN, 1953

13. LENORE TAWNEY TO MARYETTE CHARLTON, FEBRUARY 15, 1969

14. JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER TO FREDERICK H. ALLEN, JUNE 6, 1893

15. GRANT WOOD TO ZENOBIA NESS, OCTOBER 28, 1930