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American Authors and Innovation

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Choose one of the American authors in this collection. Research the author and read some of his or her writings. Write a short persuasive essay arguing whether or not this author was innovative and if so how. Discuss whether or not innovation is important in determining the strength of a writer's work.

Analyze the portrait of your author using the portrait handout. Does the portrait capture the qualities that made this author innovative? If not, how would you change the portrait to capture these qualities?

Langston Hughes

National Portrait Gallery

Jack London

National Portrait Gallery

Richard Wright

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Studs Terkel

National Portrait Gallery

Truman Capote

National Portrait Gallery

Sinclair Lewis

National Portrait Gallery

Toni Morrison

National Portrait Gallery

J. D. Salinger

National Portrait Gallery

Patti Smith

National Portrait Gallery

Kate Millett

National Portrait Gallery

Ernest Hemingway

National Portrait Gallery

Malcolm X

National Portrait Gallery

Henry David Thoreau

National Portrait Gallery

William S. Burroughs

National Portrait Gallery

Carl Sandburg

National Portrait Gallery

Robert Penn Warren

National Portrait Gallery

Samuel Dashiell Hammett

National Portrait Gallery

Marianne Moore

National Portrait Gallery

Stephen King

National Portrait Gallery

Walt Whitman

National Portrait Gallery

John Muir

National Portrait Gallery

Edward R. Murrow

National Portrait Gallery

Julia Child

National Portrait Gallery

Marianne Moore and Her Mother

National Portrait Gallery

Anne Tyler

National Portrait Gallery

Frederick Douglass

National Portrait Gallery

Flannery O'Connor

National Portrait Gallery

Portrait of Carson McCullers, (painting)

Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums

John Steinbeck

National Portrait Gallery

Russell Means

Catalog of American Portraits

33c Ayn Rand single

National Postal Museum

Louisa May Alcott, (sculpture)

Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums

Gertrude Stein [sculpture] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Archives and Special Collections, Smithsonian American Art Museum

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64), (painting)

Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums

Rachel Louise Carson

National Portrait Gallery

3c Edgar Allan Poe single

National Postal Museum

Willa Cather

National Portrait Gallery

Henry James

National Portrait Gallery

Edith Newbold Jones Wharton

National Portrait Gallery

8c Emily Dickinson single

National Postal Museum

Ernest Hemingway, Sun Valley, Idaho

National Portrait Gallery

Arthur Miller

National Portrait Gallery

18c Edna St. Vincent Millay single

National Postal Museum

Samuel Clemens

National Portrait Gallery

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

National Portrait Gallery

29c Dorothy Parker single

National Postal Museum