Arts and letters is a traditional term for the arts and literature considered together. The category defined as “arts and letters” may also include performing arts , visual arts , or liberal arts .
By the late 19th century the term was used to name a few arts-related institutions in the United States . A subscription -based Theater of Arts and Letters opened in New York in 1892, but closed within a year.   The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1904.
The term also figured in higher education . For example, by 1889 students at Swarthmore College were released in two categories of study: “Arts and Letters” or “Science and Engineering.”  Since 2010, the University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences has included a “sector” (category) called “Arts and Letters.” The college defines the field as “visual arts, literature and music, together with the criticism surrounding them.” 
- Jump up^ Atherton, Gertrude (March 1893). “The Theater of Arts and Letters” . The Californian . 5 (4): 580-585 . Retrieved 11 April 2012 .
- Jump up^ Hatlen, Theodore (May 1963). “The Independent Theater Movement in New York, 1890-1900”. Educational Theater Journal . 15 (2): 136-142. JSTOR http://www.jstor.org/stable/3204417 .
- Jump up^ Twenty-first Annual Catalog of Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa., 1889-90. Philadelphia: Press of Friends’ Book Association.
- Jump up^ University of Pennsylvania College of Arts and Sciences,The College Curriculum http://www.college.upenn.edu/curriculum/2010/sectors.php, accessed 17 March 2012.