BY CAROLYN PORTER
I collect old handwriting specimens. They are impractical things to buy, but I would rather acquire a whisper-thin piece of paper filled with distinct cursive than buy a new pair of shoes, a new handbag, a new anything else.
My collection isn’t limited to a specific kind of script. That is, I’m not exclusively drawn to Spencerian or Copperplate. The cards, letters, ledger pages, and envelopes I’ve rescued from musty corners of antique stores or found online aren’t tethered to a specific era either, though I often find myself drawn to handwriting from the late 1800s. The pages that catch my eye seem to hold hints of intriguing moments from lives long since passed.
Sometimes the content doesn’t turn out to be compelling; a few acquisitions, however, have contained surprisingly provocative and emotional content. Here are ten of my favorite handwriting specimens from my collection, with a little information on each one.
Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer and self-professed typography geek who designed P22 Marcel Script. Released in 2014, this font has garnered four international honors, including the prestigious Certificate for Typographic Excellence from the New York Type Director’s Club, typeface competitions by Communication Arts and Print magazines, and was a selection for the 2015 Project Passion exhibition. “Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate” combines the story of the design of the font based on Marcel Heuzé’s beautiful handwriting with Porter’s obsessive search for answers. The book was released in June, 2017 by Skyhorse Publishing. Learn more at www.carolyn-porter.com.