Marcel’s Letters by Carolyn Porter (Sky Horse Publishing, 2017) is part-memoir and part-detective tale about the creation of a type font and the twelve-year search for its namesake, Marcel. Porter, a graphic designer living in White Bear Lake, Minn., purchased five letters in an antique store believing that the flowing script might make a good typeface.
These letters became more than mere inspiration but a cause célèbre fueled by passion and compassion. Written by Marcel Heuzé, a Frenchman conscripted into compulsory labor (STO – Service du travail obligatoire ) during World War II and sent by NAZI law to Berlin to work for Daimler making tanks, these artifacts were love letters to his wife and children. The book chronicles a sometimes heartbreaking, lengthy search to learn of Marcel’s life before and during his service and fate thereafter. Porter’s mission to learn all she could about the man whose name she uses for her font resulted in a unprecedented confessional and surprising journey.