Contributors to Lapham's Quarterly

Not to know what happened before one was born is always to be a child.


Lapham’s Quarterly embodies the belief that history is the root of all education, scientific and literary as well as political and economic. Each issue addresses a topic of current interest and concern—war, religion, money, medicine, nature, crime—by bringing up to the microphone of the present the advice and counsel of the past. 


The texts are drawn from authors on the order of Aristotle, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Thucydides, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Edward Gibbon, Mahatma Gandhi, Confucius, Honoré de Balzac, Jane Austen, Jorge Luis Borges, Matsuo Bashō, Henry David Thoreau, and Joan Didion. Abridged rather than paraphrased, none of the text in the Quarterly runs to a length longer than six pages, others no more than six paragraphs. Together with passages from the world’s great literature, each issue offers full-color reproductions of paintings and sculpture by the world’s great artists. The connecting of the then with the now is further augmented with the testimony found in the letters, speeches, diaries, and photographs, in five-act plays and three-part songs.


Contact Us
Lapham’s Quarterly does not accept unsolicited original work, but we invite readers to send along interesting, topical, unusual, or enlightening historical documents and articles for use in the Quarterly or online. Letters to the editor may be sent to


If you have any questions about a subscription or are experiencing subscription difficulties, please call (877) 890-3001. If outside the U.S., please call (903) 636-1126, or email

Lewis H. Lapham

Formerly the Editor of Harper’s Magazine, he is the author of numerous books, including Money and Class in AmericaTheater of WarGag Rule, and, most recently, Pretensions to Empire. The New York Times has likened him to H.L. Mencken; Vanity Fair has suggested a strong resemblance to Mark Twain; and Tom Wolfe has compared him to Montaigne. A native of San Francisco, Mr. Lapham was educated at Yale and Cambridge.


David Rose


Executive Editor
Kelly Burdick


Senior Editors

Sarah Fan
Leopold Froehlich


Art Editor
Timothy Don


Associate Editors
Henry Freedland
Laurent Merceron


Design and Production Director
Jason David Brown


Web Editor
Angela Serratore


Executive Assistant
Ann K. Gollin


Director of Development
Kira Brunner Don


Editorial Board
Emily Allen-Hornblower, Noga Arikha, Jack Beatty, Warren Breckman, D. Graham Burnett, David Cannadine, Richard Cohen, Linda Colley, John Crowley, Annie Dillard, Michael Dirda, Barbara Ehrenreich, Aidan Flax-Clark, Peter Foges, Anthony Gottlieb, Anthony Grafton, Donovan Hohn, Jim Holt, Michael Hudson, Alyssa Loh, Uzoamaka Maduka, John Major, Greil Marcus, Peter Mayer, Ben Metcalf, Karl Meyer, Lance Morrow, Susan Brind Morrow, James Miller, Jac Mullen, Lynn Parramore, Theodore Rabb, Ron Rosenbaum, Frances Stonor Saunders, Damion Searls, Gregory Shaya, Peter Struck, Jennifer Szalai, Michael M. Thomas, Curtis White, Sean Wilentz, Brenda Wineapple, Simon Winchester


Editorial Fellow
Elizabeth Bryant


Web Design
Blue Cadet


The American Agora Foundation Board
Raymond A. Lamontagne, Chairman
Lewis H. Lapham, President
Arthur Yorke Allen, Secretary
Shelley Ambrose, Larry Berger, George David, David Ford, Carmella R. Kletjian, George Lund, Barnaby Marsh, Win McCormack, Sandy Gotham Meehan, Rebecca Rapoport, Jaqui E. Safra, Thomas M. Siebel, Lisa Bjornson Wolf


Additional Principal Support
Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Dyson Foundation, EJMP Fund for Philanthropy, Goldman Sachs Gives, Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman, Newman’s Own Foundation, The Pinkerton Foundation, Pablo Salome, Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation, The Walbridge Fund, Ltd.

Best American Essays 2015
“Strange Days,” by Sven Birkerts, from “Time.”


Best Food Writing 2014
“Last Meals,” by Brent Cunningham, from “Death.”


Best American Essays 2012
“Vanishing Act,” by Paul Collins, from “Celebrity.”


Best Food Writing 2012
“Pastoral Romance,” by Brent Cunningham, from “Food.”


National Magazine Award Finalist 2011
Honoring our 2010 issues “Religion,” “Arts & Letters” and “The City.”


Best American Travel Writing 2010
“Take Nothing, Leave Nothing,” by Simon Winchester from “Travel.”


Best American Essays 2009
“And Such Small Deer,” by Garret Keizer, from “Religion.”


Best New Publication
Utne Independent Press Awards, 2009


Best New Magazine Launch
Library Journal Award, 2008


“If we sat around lamenting about all the book or magazine ideas we wished we’d thought of, this one would be tops. We should pick huge topics; topics that intimidate us with all their possibilities—we would’ve said had we thought of this—and then we’ll compile all the best writing on these topics going back to ancient times. Then we’ll add some amazing contemporary writers and make it all one huge narrative spanning the breadth of human existence. And we’ll do this every three months.” —McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


“Lapham’s Quarterly is a godsend, a genuine treasure for any and all who care about history and ideas and the love of learning. It is superbly edited, beautifully designed and illustrated, and has a good tactile presence exactly in the spirit of its purpose. I don’t know when I’ve been so pleased by something that arrived in the mail unexpectedly. Bravo!” —David McCullough


“Brilliant and much needed.” —Dave Eggers


“No matter how many magazines and journals to which you may subscribe, Lapham’s Quarterly is a necessity. From its very first issue, it has become the Thinking Person’s Guide to where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we may be going. Lewis Lapham’s name on the cover is enough to tell you, you’re in for an intellectual treat.” —Morley Safer


“Lavishly detailed, handsomely produced, and conceptually brilliant... It recontextualizes history and makes it come alive to the sound of battle.” —James Wolcott, Vanity Fair


“Enthralling reading... A magazine that demands focus and engages intellect in order to elicit persuasive emotions.” —Francesca Mari, The New Republic


“Lapham’s Quarterly is careful to avoid narratives bogged down in scholar-speak, instead favoring histories rich in both detail and prose. This commitment to readability makes the journal’s content a unique, pleasant marriage of great storytelling and important historical accounts.” —Morgan Winters, Utne Reader


“The tag line for the recently launched Lapham’s Quarterly is ‘the journal that enlists the counsel of the dead.’ Don't worry: this isn't a horror film. Instead, this thick periodical, helmed by—and named for—Lewis Lapham, culls writings from the history books, and age-old source material. In the new issue, ‘States of War,’ the former editor of Harper’s gets the help of Homer and Woodrow Wilson, who lend perspective to our own modern conflicts.” —The Christian Science Monitor


“It is not the next big thing; it is the real thing, a must-read.” —Ken Alexander, The Walrus (Canada)


“Expertly edited and easy to read.” —The Age (Australia)


“Expertly presented, with a soft matte finish and subdued colors, the magazine has a look and feel that reflect the quality of the fine writing. Essential for academic libraries; highly recommended for public libraries.” —Steve Black, Library Journal


“What one is reminded of in combing the pages, of course, is the degree to which our problems were the problems of our forefathers, too. That’s a lively lesson to keep in mind in our self-absorbed age.” —Baton Rouge Advocate

Lapham’s Quarterly offers paid internships in its New York office. The internship is full time and requires a commitment of five days per week. Each internship lasts approximately twelve weeks, affording interns the opportunity to participate in the full production cycle of a single print issue. Interns contribute to every phase of the editorial process, including suggesting, finding, and editing historical texts; researching, composing, and proofreading our charts and graphs; and attending staff and editorial board meetings for the magazine.


Interested candidates should demonstrate a grounding in the history of ideas and an understanding of the Quarterly’s mission with the submission of a cover letter, résumé, and three potential readings for an issue on “The Mind.” A writing sample is not necessary; cover letters will be taken to serve as such. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.


A Lapham’s Quarterly internship pays $15 an hour and provides a monthly MTA card. The internship is full time for three months.


Please submit materials to


Fall Session
Dates: August 15–November 11
Deadline: June 17


Winter Session
Dates: November 14–February 10
Deadline: September 16


Spring Session
Dates: February 13–May 12
Deadline: December 16


Summer Session
Dates: May 15–August 11
Deadline: March 17

Lapham’s Quarterly does not accept unsolicited original work, but we invite readers to send along interesting, topical, unusual, or enlightening historical documents and articles for use in the Quarterly or online. 


Letters to the editor may be sent to


If you have any questions about a subscription or are experiencing subscription difficulties, please call (877) 890-3001. If outside the U.S., please call (903) 636-1126, or email