President Obama Pens Personal Apology to an Art Historian / Hyperallergic + NYTimes

Art historian Ann Collins Johns of the University of Texas at Austin (image used with permission)

Art historian Ann Collins Johns of the University of Texas at Austin (image used with permission)

Professor Ann Collins Johns at the University of Texas at Austin was just as peeved as many people were about President Barack Obama’s knock on art history majors. So she did what any self-assured art historian would do and wrote a letter to Obama on January 31, shortly after the President’s remarks, and sent it using the White House website. Then came the surprising part: Obama responded with a handwritten note on February 12.

Johns told Hyperallergic that she did not save her original email because she posted it via the White House website:

However, I’m pretty sure that my email was not so much one of outrage at his statement, but rather a “look at what we do well” statement. I emphasized that we challenge students to think, read, and write critically. I also stressed how inclusive our discipline is these days (even though my own specialty is medieval and Renaissance Italy).

Asked for permission to reproduce the letter, Johns wanted to make it clear that she loves Obama. “What I did NOT expect is that THE MAN HIMSELF would write me an apology. So now I’m totally guilty about wasting his time,” she wrote on her Facebook profile page.

read the full story here:


The Hyperallergic story got picked up by the following media outlets:

New York Times

New York Magazine

New York Post


Talking Points Memo



Huffington Post 


Washington Examiner


The Wire


Chronicle of Higher Education



Even Republicans had something to say about it:

  • Republican National Convention Communications Manager Sean Spicer tweets
  • Marco Rubio tweets something inane