October 23, 1902
Mark Twain: "The American Historian of Joan of Arc Makes his Best Compliments..."
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), beginning in the third person, declares that “the American historian of Joan of Arc” thanks Depew for the proffered opportunity of meeting the Ambassador of that great country whose redemption Joan achieved “by her genius & consecrated with her life.” Then, switching to the first person, he regretfully declines the invitation, trusting that Depew will make the occasion a success: “this I do with full confidence, as knowing your all-comprehensive competency these many many pleasant years.”
Joan of Arc was Clemens’ favorite historical figure and in the early 1900s, he told her story in the form of a novel, The Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc. It was his last novel, and he considered it his best.
Autograph Letter Signed (twice: as "Mark" in closing and as "S.L. Clemens" in the text), 1 page recto verso, octavo, on black-bordered mourning stationery, Riverdale-on-the Hudson [New York], no date . To Senator Chauncey Depew.