Due to my great-grandfather’s inability to write in English and Portuguese, only a thumbprint marks his participation. But our family history would be different if not for his understanding of the power of print to change lives. For me, the letters are artifacts documenting my family’s crisis, granting me the opportunity to trace my maternal family’s difficult journey. My grandfather’s sudden death left his family in crisis. However, these letters, continuous written implorations on my grandmother’s behalf, granted her access to the United States and a supportive extended family.