For all the Internet’s horrors, it’s occasionally nice to appreciate the sheer access to information it gives us. One instance: the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s digital collections, which are mostly open to the public, and allow users to view—among other things—the written correspondence between Nina Simone and Langston Hughes.
From 1960, after Hughes invited Simone to perform at Newport Jazz festival, to Hughes’s death in 1967, Hughes and Simone grew close via letter, discussing each other’s art, careers, and personal and political struggles. Their correspondence is a portrait of an enduring, mutually inspiring artistic friendship, and a reminder of the linkages between great artists. You can browse the entire archive here—but in the meantime, take a look at the below letter from Simone to Hughes, where she shares her thoughts on Hughes’s autobiographies: