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Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides

Artist's narrative: Letter 3 is a poem full of despair and sadness. While Paul Laurence Dunbar does have limited moments of happiness, he is mostly addressing his sorrow and negativity to his friend J.N. Matthews regarding the publication of his work. Dunbar lists his discouragement and blames himself several times throughout his writing. He is very annoyed at himself for his disappointments because he has only been able to sell two of his hymns. He even addresses a statement saying: “But enough of myself and my disappointments,” stating that he believes he is a failure. He does eventually state that he finds happiness throughout his friend's writing, Will W. Pfrimmer's Driftwood. He says: “I have found a wealth of beauty in his lines.” Paul ends his poem saying: “I want to write more, but my bell keeps ringing so I must close; With kindest regards, I am your friend, Paul Laurence Dunbar.” The imagery within the poster symbolizes how Dunbar is running out of time but must continue writing. This is a true reflection of the highs and lows of Paul Laurence Dunbar. The Serif font Typeka is used throughout my posters to represent the typewriter that Paul Laurence Dunbar used. Typeka is designed by E-Lan Ronen and T-26, a digital type of foundry established by Carlos Segura.

Publication Date

Winter 10-23-2023


Ohio history, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Typography, Graphic Design, Black history


Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Book and Paper


This poster tries to convey despair and sadness on one side and limited moments of happiness on the other. I wanted to use a type of palette that resembled the time when the poem was actually written. I use Typeka, which resembles a typewriter and was created around the time typewriters were created, which is what Paul Dunbar used to write the letters. For my imagery, I used coffee-stained paper to represent how everyone disregarded his work when he started writing. I created a dark background to represent the dark times Dunbar was having at the time but used bright white elements to show the hidden happiness in his message.

Copyright © 2023 by the artist.

Paul L. Dunbar: A Tale of Two Worlds



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