Posterity by Dorie McCullough Lawson


The letter-writers in this collection are household names: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, William Carlos Williams, Anne Bradstreet, Nelson Rockefeller, Frederick Law Olmsted…on and on, the list reads like a who’s who of America’s political and cultural past. But in addition to being great statesmen, writers, designers, philanthropists, and more, every person in this book was also a parent. It’s through the letters they wrote in this capacity, to their children, that we are offered a rare glimpse into the lesser-known private side of very public figures. In many of these letters, the brilliance and ambition that brought them fame shows itself in their careful advice to their offspring: study hard and beyond what is required; be good and faithful and disciplined; be strong and steadfast in the face of adversity. In others, full of compassion, anxiety, anger, penitence, and love, these American greats come across as intensely human. In their own words, Lawson’s collection brings us men and women at their proudest and most intimate, defining their personal legacy in their relationships to their heirs.