Letters and notes from America's greatest satiricist, Mark Twain; from his early adulthood to last months.

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Topic

Human Aspect

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Manuscripts (34)

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Mark Twain Names His Lecture Tour About Holy Land Trip:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 117

Twain's use of the title, The American Vandal Abroad – a play on The Innocents Abroad - suggests that perhaps American tourists to the Holy Land weren't always so innocent. Twain recorded, aghast, how these religious pilgrims sliced off souvenirs from venerable biblical sites in Palestine.
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Mark Twain to French Jewish Writer Marcel Schwob:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 118

Here Twain denounces a French translation of a story he did not write, pronouncing it a "singularly unpleasant production." He assures Schwob that he has been deceived: "I do commit crimes," he writes, "but they are not of this grade."
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Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 120

Samuel Clemens, speaking in third person, referring to himself as "the American historian of Joan of Arc," regretfully declines an invitation to meet the French ambassador. He signs the letter as "Mark," though he also refers to himself as Clemens.
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Ulysses S. Grant Says Mark Twain Has Offered Him

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 121

Here, Grant reports to his friend and advisor, George Childs, that he’s soured on the Century deal, and is being wooed by Twain’s own publishing firm, Charles L. Webster & Co.
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Mark Twain On His House

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 281

Samuel Clemens writes to his daughter Jean about the new house, "Innocence at Home," President Grover Cleveland's morality and abilities, and the doctor's orders for her epilepsy.
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Mark Twain, on the Heroic Writing, and Fantastic Success, of Ulysses S. Grant's Memoirs

Autograph Letter Signed

6 pages

SMC 282

Samuel Clemens encloses a copy of General Grant's memoirs, calling them "the most admirably simple, direct, and unpretentious story that was ever put on paper by a supremely great man."
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Twain: Monuments Disappear, But Great Cities - and Reputations - Survive

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 283

Writing shortly after the death of his friend, General Grant, Twain muses on the nature of legacy. He agrees with his correspondent that monuments to Grant will one day crumble though his reputation will live on. Twain then moves on to discuss the longevity of cities, and even touches on the issue of the origin debates, still being hotly debated in that year, 1885.
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Mark Twain Inquires if Alfred Dreyfus Was Struck in the Face With the Hilt of a Sword

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 388

Here, Samuel Clemens, who had been in Paris when the Dreyfus affair struck, urgently seeks a detail of Dreyfus' degradation and abuse.
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Mourning Daughter Susy, Mark Twain Describes His Family Life as Adrift, Indifferent, and Derelict

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 484

Mark Twain describes the listlessness of his family life since the sudden death of his daughter Susy. Whereas once they had a charted course, now they are adrift. And what is more, they are "derelict" and indifferent to their plight.
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Olivia Clemens Quotes “Mr. Clemens” - Mark Twain - About a Phrase in “Following the Equator”

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1670

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Mark Twain on Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Grammar is Like Gravel in Bread

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1673

Mark Twain gently Emerson's prose as being like "gravel in the bread," while at the same time complimenting Laura Wright Benjamin on her husband, William Wright, whose nom de plume was Dan de Quille.
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Mark Twain Discovers His Newfound Celebrity Status Upon his Return from His

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1681

Mark Twain only realizes that his correspondence from his travels have made him something of a celebrity writer upon his return.
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Mark Twain on His Book

Autograph Letter Signed

8 pages

SMC 1684

A long and flirtatious letter from the young bachelor Mark Twain to Emma Beach, primarily about their recently shared “Quaker City” excursion to Europe and the Holy Land. He discusses, amongst other things, a lecture he's been up all night writing, and how the photos taken of him in Egypt are a terrible likeness.
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Mark Twain's Last Day in New York Before Leaving on the

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1686

A letter written in the wee hours of the morning after an evening and night spent drinking. Twelve hours later, Twain would be aboard "The Quaker City."
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Mark Twain Promotes his

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1687

Dan Slote, Mark Twain's roommate on the "Quaker City" voyage, has sold about 200 copies of The Innocents Abroad to his friends, and given away about a dozen more. He is very well-connected, and can sell more copies. Twain asks his publisher to supply Slote with about 50 more copies of the book at a 40% discount, to be paid after he's sold the books.
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Mark Twain Lists His Favorite Books For Children - And Himself

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1688

Twain is asked by a correspondent for recommended reading. Here he lists his favorite books.
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Mark Twain Says He Cannot Deliver a

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 1693

Mark Twain explains he cannot deliver a "light & nonsensical speech" while fatally wounded President Garfield is dying. Signed as Samuel Clemens.
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Mark Twain on the French: No Humor, No Depth, No Compass, No Balance, No...

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 1695

Mark Twain deflects the responsibility for offending a Madame Blanc, and blames her French lack of humor.
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Mark Twain Can't Remember Recent Things But Vividly Recalls His Hannibal Courier Co-Workers

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1699

Mark Twain declares that "recent names & things take no hold" on his "bald-headed memory; they slip-up & slide off" so he isn't sure about a Mrs. Brackett - but to the mention of names and things from thirty-five years ago, his memory is alert.
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Mark Twain on the San Francisco Earthquake and a Picture He Cannot Get Out of His Mind

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1708

Though himself a writer, Mark Twain says that the picture of the San Francisco earthquake entitled "The Spirit of Humanity," expresses the tragedy of the earthquake in a way that words cannot.
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Young Mark Twain, in Maui, Sets Out to

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1575

Young Mark Twain, during his four month stint in Hawaii, makes plans to see Haleakala, a volcano on Maui.
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Mark Twain Signed Photo by Abdullah Frères in Constantinople

Carte de Visite

1 page

SMC 1683

Photo signed as Samuel Clemens, taken in 1867 in Constantinople by Abdullah Frères. Clemens was in the midst of his trip on "The Quaker City," which also took him to the Holy Land.
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Mark Twain 1868 Signed Photo

Mark Twain 1868 Signed Photo

c. April, 1868

Signed Photograph

1 page

SMC 132

Signed photo of Mark Twain on the occasion of his speaking tour about his excursion to the Holy Land.
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From

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 1682

Mark Twain's handwritten irreverent soliloquy from the Tomb of Adam in the Holy Land from Innocents Abroad.
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Famous Mark Twain Aphorism About Deserving Honors

Autograph Quotation Signed

2 pages

SMC 284

Mark Twain signs the back of a menu for the The Willard Hotel in January of 1906. The aphorism: "On the whole, it is better to deserve honors & not have them, than to have them & not deserve them."
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1862 Nevada Directory Listing Mark Twain as Assistant Secretary of the Nevada Territory

Ephemera

2 pages

SMC 2077

This rare, early Directory, in which both Clemens and his brother Orion are listed, records for posterity those two months - beginning October 1, 1861 - when "Samuel Clemens" worked as a dollar-a-day clerk for his brother, during the long opening session of the Nevada Territorial Legislature.
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Mark Twain Excoriates Theodore Roosevelt as a Butcher, a Ruffian and a Bully

Autograph Manuscript

4 pages

SMC 1706

In an unpublished article, Mark Twain excoriates Theodore Roosevelt for bullying a fifteen-year-old girl and for promoting a man who, it was well known, was "brutal" to a woman in a waiting room.
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Manuscript from Mark Twain's Missing 1867 Notebook, Announcing His Intention to Travel Abroad

Autograph Manuscript

2 pages

SMC 911

In this leaf from one of Mark Twain's missing notebooks, the young author writes of his upcoming journey to Europe and the Levant. Twain would chronicle the trip in The Innocents Abroad, a book that which would launch his career as a writer.
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What's in a Name: Samuel Clemens Defines Mark Twain

Autograph Note Signed

2 pages

SMC 2117

Samuel Clemens explains his nom de plume as originating as a navigational term along the Mississippi. "Mark Twain" signified a depth sounding of two fathoms, and was called out by the leadsman; it was a term Twain, having served as a riverboat captain, would have heard daily.
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Mark Twain Directs His Publisher to Set Two Lines of Text in Facsimile, Not Typeface

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 1617

A brief note regarding composition from Mark Twain, directing either Elisha or Frank Bliss to set something up in facsimile rather than type.
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A Calling Card Signed as Samuel L. Clemens and Mark Twain

Card Signed

1 page

SMC 503

Samuel Clemens's calling card, signed on the back as Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens.
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Mark Twain's Autograph Notes Regarding People, Places, and Recalling an Incident

Autograph Note

6 pages

SMC 125

Mark Twain's notes from 1907, in two sections. One, in the manner of a questionnaire, matches names to places (Joe Goodman's, for instance, with "San Francisco, and Alameda") and indicates where Clemens had not been (Los Angeles & Palmyra); the other section mostly concerns an incident, and includes dialogue.
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Mark Twain's Mockup of Title Page and Dedication of

Autograph Manuscript Signed

2 pages

SMC 119

Mark Twain's handwritten mockup of the title page and dedication of More Tramps Abroad with a note about Innocents Abroad.
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A Rare 1879 Reprint of

Signed Book

1 page

SMC 2384

A rare inscribed reprint of Innocents Abroad inscribed by Twain to his wife, Livy. In the past thirty years, only one other book transcribed by Twain to his wife has appeared. This double-volume edition is premium; bound in morocco and gilt.
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