Something wonderful happened today: a thick stack of letters written by my grandfather, John Emery Porter (he went by Emery), were given to my dad. My dad had never seen these letters before; he didn’t even know they existed. The letters had been written between 1917 and 1919, and were written by Emery to his sister, Lois. Lois’ grandson gave them to my dad.
When I buy a piece of handwritten ephemera, it’s because something caught my eye: a decorative swirl, a unique number, an unusual color ink. Other times, it is because one individual letter is so spectacularly beautiful, buying it is like acquiring a work of art.
As you may know, I collect handwritten ephemera: letters, cards, invitations, etc. I bought this pocket-size diary from 1881, thinking the writing might be a good reference source for a font […someday!]. I looked to see what the entry was for the 4th of July, hoping it would mention a parade or fireworks or a summertime luxury such as a drink with ice. It turns out the entry from July 2 is more interesting because it captures the day’s disastrous news: “President Garfield shot by an assassin twice at Depot in Washington. He got very near death…”