I will confess: I didn’t really know what to expect. Friends who had visited Letterform Archive gushed: “It’s amazing.” “You will love it.” “I could have spent an entire day there!”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 Ms. Porter’s story as well as Marcel’s. She tells it honestly and with deep emotion. She manages to balance the several strands of her adventures—the history lessons, the details of creating a font, the inner workings of her marriage, and the clues that point to the eventual outcomes. The reader will rejoice with her when things go well and cry with her when she faces discouragement. It’s a great story.
– Carolyn Schriber, Military Writers Society of America
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
2850 Bellevue St.
Kansas City Mo.
I rec’d your nice letter so will try and answer it. Here’s goes for nothing and you’ll agree with me when you finish reading it. 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
24 December 1943
Dearest little Mother,
Just a short time ago we finished with morning (9 A.M.) sick call. I have had indications that today might be a very busy one so thought I’d better get off your daily letter early.
Tonight is Xmas eve and I can just see you hanging up a little pair of stockings by the chimney with care. What are you giving Mike for Xmas dear? Pretty hard to think of things for a little tyke like that isn’t it? Gosh I’d certainly like to be with you tonight. I will in spirit anyway, especially when I am in church tonight. I’ll say a prayer for the best little family in the world.READ MORE
Dec. 22, 1942
Received two letters of yours, today. One written the 23rd of November, the other a v-mail letter written the 31st of August, the new and the old.
Don’t you ever change the way you have been writing your sweet letters! I’ll admit they just about knock me off my feet, but it’s just what I want to hear. I wish I could put into words what I have in my heart and mind, but I am afraid I would make a mess of it. Perhaps you’ll remember some of [the] things I told you a long time ago. It all goes double, now.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.
CP: Congratulations on the release of “Death of an Assassin: The True Story of the German Murderer Who Died Defending Robert E. Lee” (Sept 1. 2017, Kent State University Press). This fascinating story would have been entirely lost to time if you hadn’t put together these German and American puzzle pieces — congratulations! Tell us a bit about the mystery you solved:
AMA: Thank you, Carolyn! Actually, it was two mysteries, one on each continent.READ MORE
Library of Congress image USZ62-59134
Upper left: Before; Center: During. Lower right: After.
On this day seventy-three years ago, eighty-three Army Air Force B-17 bombers targeted Daimler’s Marienfelde factory. “The bombing is very effective,” the mission record stated, “and ten major [targets] are severely damaged during one of the best days that the Eighth [Air Force] experiences.”
If you’ve read “Marcel’s Letters,” you’ll know I scoured military mission records to find out how and when the factory where Marcel worked had been bombed. If you have the book, you can read the passage about the search—and this specific bombing raid—on pages 109–112. The photo above is first referenced at the bottom of page 110.
Many happy returns of today! I had not forgotten your birthday but I decided to mention it on the day itself instead of trying to time a letter to reach you on the day.READ MORE
In one of the letters Marcel mailed from Berlin, he mentioned having to show his papers to the German police. My guess is that he showed them his arbeitskarte (worker card) which likely included his photo and listed basic biographic information. The arbeitskarte might have also been inked with his fingerprints.READ MORE
Received some of your belated mail today, from the 1st, 10th and 23rd of August. Good mail service, eh? Most of the news you have written in later letters. Oh yes! I understand what you mean about your social security card, now. Wilma! I am surprised at you!READ MORE