Joseph Morris, a master carpenter and overseer in North Wales who also served as an ordained Independent minister, sat down on his 70th birthday in May 1876 to recount his life. He felt that “it would be beneficial for me to record my life on earth, before I leave. Maybe it would please my relatives, especially my dear children, to have something to remember about me, after I have travelled this earthly world.” Rev. Morris’s autobiography, handwritten in Welsh, has survived to today. It is one of a collection of 228 items related to Joseph Morris and his family that is maintained as part of the Morfa Manuscripts at Bangor University located in Bangor, North Wales.
In 2010, Rev. Morris’s great-great-granddaughter, Eiflyn Roberts, after review of the Morfa Manuscripts collection, undertook to translate his autobiographical record, and Wordsmith Associates teamed with Mrs. Roberts to publish the English version in a slim, soft-bound volume. Given the underlying story, we elected to format the narrative in the design of a modest period piece, with the look-and-feel of an old journal or pamphlet, and we titled it, On the Earthly Way. The cover, interior design, font selection, and use of a single filigree as a design element combine with Rev. Morris’s thoughtfully constructed content to deliver a valuable old manuscript in a clean, legible form.
On the Earthly Way is a handsome example of a legacy letter written 140+ years ago and, now that the recently published version has been shared with members of Joseph Morris’s extended family many generations later, the legacy of Rev. Morris is richly preserved and his life story is warmly treasured.