Download Full Text (24.3 MB)
Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides
Artist's narrative: Letter 21 is from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Frederick Douglass, expressing his thanks to Douglass for his help in Chicago. Dunbar was showing his gratitude toward him and his wife and how he would not forget their kindness. Dunbar goes on to explain that he is not doing well mentally and that the people in his town did not support him — especially after he came back from Chicago. Dunbar explains how news of him getting thrown out of a hotel for being drunk got back to his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. He continues to talk about how he cannot get work, and when he tries the people say that he should have "stayed in Chicago." When a republication of an article about Dunbar showed up in a Dayton newspaper, he was further discouraged from his work. He ends the letter saying that he can only go to Douglass for help. This poster aims to represent Dunbar's gratitude for Douglass's help and to represent all of his discouragement resulting from now being able to work and from his peers crushing his aspirations.
Dunbar was in his home when he wrote this letter, which is why I chose the imagery of the wallpaper from his home in Dayton. The typefaces used in this poster are Tisa Sans designed by Mitja Miklavic and Mrs Eaves designed by Zuzana Licko.
Typography, Graphic design, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ohio history, Black history
Art and Design | Graphic Design
Davisson, Noah, "Grateful but Discouraged" (2023). Life in Letters: A Typographic Poster Exhibition Featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar. 5.