Who We Are
LETTICE STUART, an award winning journalist and published author, founded Portraits in Words® in 1996 following a 22-year journalism career with the Times-Picayune and New York Times. Lettice grew up in New Orleans in the rich, southern story-telling tradition where stories were told at the dinner table, on the front porch, or at any gathering of friends and family. Lettice always planned to record these family stories for her children and grandchildren, but life got in the way. When her parents died too young, she turned her sorrow over losing her family history into a business doing for others what she neglected to do for herself. Today Portraits in Words® is renowned for producing premier life story books.
Lettice has a nationwide reputation that puts her at the top of her field. She served as president of the Association of Personal Historians, the industry’s international trade association, for four years and was a board member for eight years. She is a member of the Author’s Guild and the Oral History Association. She speaks around the country about the importance of preserving family stories.
DEXTER CIRILLO, who holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in English, joined the company in 2010, bringing a rich and varied experience to Portraits in Words®. Following her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, she carved out a successful career in academia as an educator, administrator, editor and author at the City University of New York and the Modern Language Association. In her academic work, she focused on the role that stories and the oral tradition play in preserving cultural and personal histories.
In 1981, Dexter left academia to pursue her long-time interest in American Indian art and southwestern studies as an independent scholar and writer. A recognized authority in her field and a frequent guest lecturer at museums around the country, Dexter has published numerous articles and award-winning books for popular and academic audiences.
BURKE STUART heads our Portraits in Video® division. After graduating from film school in 2001, Burke spent nine years working in various areas of film and video production in Los Angeles. He recently earned an MBA and is working to expand our video division. Portraits in Video® handles all aspects of video projects—planning, shooting, editing, packaging and duplication.
"Oral histories show appropriate respect for the lives and experiences of those who have come before. And, just as important, they document those remembrances, for once those lives are over, that personal knowledge is lost forever." -David Baldacci