May 3, 1944
My beloved little darling wife,
I am happy tonight because I have mail like a notary clerk—nine letters in two days, not all from you, of course, but still, I have four—from March 23, March 26, April 2 and April 13. READ MORE
My dear Dad,
I’m writing to you hoping that you received all my cards in spite of the problems with the mail.READ MORE
April 1, 1944
Yesterday there was beautiful sunshine and today, for April Fish, we have grey weather and fine rain. Tomorrow night Gaston will take the train, and after tomorrow noon he will go see you for sure. It seems to me you come back at noon or 12:30.READ MORE
February 16, 1944
My very dear ones,
Today I am sending the third stamp of the series of which I sent the first two on my letter on the 14th and in the same mail I sent two small packages containing your birthday gift. READ MORE
Lyon, December 23, 1943
My little Etta,
I hope that this card will give you the most sincere wishes that I am sending, hoping that the new year will be good for you, and that both of you will enjoy good health and that the bad moments that we are all going through will soon be ended.READ MORE
December 21, 1943
My beloved little darling,
I was happy this evening to read your letter of December 6, learning that you received your money order and yes, my darling, so far I have had a good amount on pay day but believe me, your words of thanks touched me also this evening. READ MORE
W A R N I N G : B O O K S P O I L E R S A H E A D
Last year at the Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI) conference in Montreal (watch my talk here), I learned ATypI’s 2018 conference would be held in Antwerp, Belgium. After realizing Antwerp was an easy two-hour train ride from Paris, I realized I had found the perfect excuse to return to the City of Lights.
This is the first letter I’ve found that was mailed from France to a French laborer in Germany. The letter was addressed to Serge Brodig, who was in a lager (a barrack) in Berlin. The postage stamps bear Petain’s profile.READ MORE
Today’s the day: the release of Marcel’s Letters as a paperback! I made a video to tell you about some of the differences in the paperback — and to share a special extra. Take a look!READ MORE
Stöckenerstrasse 351, Stube 43 [351 Stöckener Street, Room 43]
Hannover, July 18, 1944
To all of my very dear ones,
I’m sending these few lines to you this evening, Tuesday, to give you my news, which is still as good as possible. READ MORE
Last weekend I received an extraordinary message from a woman named Delphine.
“My mother-in-law, Suzanne Lamy,” Delphine wrote, “knew Marcel from Berchères-la-Maingot, where she lived when she was young. Marcel used to go hunting with her family… She was touched that you wrote this book that reminded her a lot from her childhood.”READ MORE
My little adored Marie,
I see, my love, that you have received good news from Jeannot (Johnny). I’m happy about that, darling. READ MORE
This letter was written and mailed by my grandfather, J. Emery Porter, to his sister, Lois Bayley. Forty or so of Emery’s WWI letters to Lois have survived (read more about these letters here). On the back of the envelope (shown above), he included a return address: “Pvt. Emery Porter, 646 Aero Squadron, American Expeditionary Forces, via New York.” I never met my grandfather, but I heard he was a life-long French speaker and unabashed Francophile, primarily due to the experiences he had while stationed in France.
“Nowhere in France”
March 24, 1918
I was the happy recipient of your letter today. It is the second I have received from home folks. I received one from Mother two weeks ago this morning but nothing since. Evidently you have written others which I may yet receive. This one was dated March 2nd or 3rd. Emily K. has written six but I have received two so far so you can judge why I don’t respond often.
Our conversation began with this astonishing claim: “My father was friends with Marcel Heuzé.”
(Cue the sound of a needle scratching across a record.)
Let me back up. Two weeks ago, I picked up my office phone to hear a 90-year-old woman with a crisp French accent state her name — Nelly Trocmé Hewett — followed by the astonishing claim her father had been friends with Marcel.READ MORE
Somewhere in France
My Dearest Wife:
Well Christmas is here an gone. It didn’t even seem like Christmas just like another day. Christmas Eve we didn’t get in till about six. After we ate I washed and shaved. Was [illegible due to paper damage] to a little party they were having over in his Co. Then we were going to go to midnight services. READ MORE
October 13, 1944
I’m enclosing a few lines to let you know that I’m still in the best of health & also pray to hear the same from you, my [loved] one. Today I’m going to answer a few of your letters dated Sept. 19th, 20th & 26th. Before I start, I want you to know it is really cold out here where I am & I understand it is also cold back home. Oh well, I guess there isn’t anything I could do about it.