Carolyn Porter | Carolyn Porter: Blog
Learn more about the book "Marcel's Letters" and the font P22 Marcel Script, which is based on the handwriting of conscripted WWII laborer Marcel Heuzé
Carolyn Porter, Marcel Heuzé, Marcel's Letters, Graphic Design, Font Design, P22 Marcel Script
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A sweet, sweet 1880 handwriting sample

This is a silly departure from the serious handwriting specimens I typically post. But this sample was too fun not to share. Take a look at this sweet, sweet ledger page from December 13, 1880. It lists a variety of candies being purchased: lemon drops, kisses, peanut bars, crab apples, chocolate twists, cinnamon sticks, mint sticks, sugar cigars (spelled “segars”), rock candy, caramels, fruit balls and more. Then, at the bottom you’ll find a variety of firecrackers: paper caps, bomb shells, penny torpedoes, penny smokers and more. READ MORE

Exiting COVID Lockdown

Aaron and I took the lockdown seriously. He is a frontline medical worker and witnessed early on what COVID could do to a body. We knew the possibility of exposure* was high for him—especially in those first months when PPE and testing were scarce. We also have medically fragile family members who we couldn’t bear to unknowingly expose. So for the last 14 months we have largely kept away from social gatherings, haven’t taken unnecessary risks, and have always worn masks in public. READ MORE

Messy and earnest

Whew. I had lots of unexpected feelings as I cleaned out my office storeroom today. I was not prepared for the rush of emotions I’d feel at seeing early drafts of Marcel’s Letters.
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  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Single Rule of Three" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Simple Case" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Rule of Three" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Splice Of Int. (Interest?)" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Square Root" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Multiplication" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Interest" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Equation" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Continued" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Continued" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh
  • Detail of ornate handwritten word "Continued" from 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh

Page headers from the extraordinary 1859 math workbook of William D. Linebaugh

 

Most of the old letters I buy are cheap. As in, my self-imposed budget is $5–$15. Heck, Marcel’s original letters were only $6 and change. I’ve only broken that rule a few times, such as when I acquired this WWII postcard—and I purchased it only because the postcard had been mailed from the Berlin-Marienfelde labor camp at the same time Marcel was there.READ MORE

An Evening with Princess Diana: October 16, 1988


When I was a sophomore in college, I attended Middlesex Polytechnic for one semester. Middlesex Poly was a public university in northern London (now called Middlesex University). Studying abroad was an adventure as much as it was an educational opportunity, and as it turned out class lessons were second to life lessons I learned that fall. Quite unexpectedly, one of those life lessons I learned from Princess Diana herself.

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Up Here… A 10th Mountain Soldier’s Letters Home 1943–1945

Earlier this year I received an email from a man named David Hoople, who was writing from his home in Maine. After reading Marcel’s Letters he was so struck by similarities in our stories that he felt compelled to reach out. “The parallels to my project were inspiring,” he wrote. David went on to explain he had been transcribing the letters his father, Ted, mailed home while serving in the 10th Mountain Division during WWII. Similar to my search for information on Marcel, David’s journey to understand his father’s experience involved carefully piecing together information from handwritten letters, a trip abroad, and a remarkable encounter at the top of Mt. Croce—one of those goosebump-inducing moments that just might make you believe in divine meddling.READ MORE

Sad News from France

DENISE (HEUZÉ) WIBART
August 10, 1934 – September 26, 2020

———

One thing I have heard over and over from readers of Marcel’s Letters is that Marcel’s family began to feel like their family. That is why I feel compelled to share the news that Marcel and Renée’s beloved middle daughter, Denise, passed away on Saturday, September 26. Denise was 86 years old. Denise is survived by her children Philippe and Valentine, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

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June 2, 1944: “I must be strong and have patience and hope that the beautiful days will arrive soon”

Mr. and Mrs. Albert Roumieu
Bar sur Loup, close to Grasse, Maritime Alps, France

Ludwigshofen, June 2, 1944

 

My very dear parents,

I’m sending you these few words to share some of my news. First of all, I can tell you that we are all in good health and I hope that this letters will find you the same, my dear parents, as well as the Fécaud and Giordamanga families. READ MORE

19 Months in Quarantine: Louise Dillery’s Tuberculosis Story

Photos from Louise Dillery’s private collection.

“I’m bored.” Louise spells out the word for emphasis as she laughs: “B–O–R–E–D.” The remark does not come across as a complaint, just a statement of fact.

Louise Dillery is 94 years old. She understands why she can’t have in-person visitors or go out and get her hair done. She doesn’t feel compelled to break the rules. She knows the stakes of COVID-19 and what it will take to get through this. This is, after all, not the first time she’s been forced to stay inside: nearly seven decades ago, Louise spent 19 months quarantined inside St. Paul’s Ancker Hospital.READ MORE